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The Pope meets with senior managers of international companies

The Pope meets with senior managers of international companies

Pope Francis met with senior managers of some of the world's leading companies and banks on Saturday and encouraged them to do more to protect the environment than the law requires. The Vatican's press office also announced, according to Cathapress, that it had spoken to managing directors of companies that have joined forces in the “Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI).”

SMI includes the CEOs of global companies such as SAP, Siemens Energy, Ernst & Young, IBM, Pepsi, Shell, Unilever, Xerox and L'Oreal. Senior managers of major global banks HSBC, Bank of America and Santander also joined this initiative.

In his speech, the Pope stressed that the actions of large companies today have not only economic impacts, but also social and political ones, as they also play an important role in international relations. “You are making decisions that affect thousands of workers and investors – increasingly on a global scale. Economic and political power are becoming increasingly intertwined,” the Pope said.

Francis called on senior managers to look critically at their role and always think about the direct and indirect impacts of their decisions. The Pope warned that the current serious global environmental crisis is affected not least by economic decisions.

Therefore, it is no longer sufficient for companies to “abide by the laws of countries that are progressing very slowly.” Rather, it is important that “we dare to innovate and anticipate the future by making courageous, far-sighted decisions that can then be imitated.” Innovation today must first and foremost be innovation to protect the common environment.

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Francis also appealed to CEOs not to judge people solely on their merits and abilities, thus excluding the poorest. It is not enough to do a little charity work. The challenge is to include poor people in businesses. You must also turn to Jesus in this regard.

Finally, Francis called for giving young people a chance. There must be a welcoming culture in companies for young people who don't know yet and can do it all. “Give them progress about the future in your companies so that an entire generation does not lose hope,” the Pope warned.

In the end, he thanked the managers at SMI Group and said: “You are pioneers in what you do. Keep it up!”