Every Movement That Lasts Has A Moral Foundation

By Meredith Sumpter, CEO, Council for Inclusive Capitalism
September 07, 2022
  • Moral imperative

The Council for Inclusive Capitalism is a community of leaders working to harness the power and ingenuity of the private sector to profitably meet the needs of people and our planet.

Council members understand the purpose of business and its potential for value creation as being much larger and more awesome than narrowly produced profit. They recognize their agency in operating business and investment strategies in ways that meet the great challenges of our time—rising inequality and climate crises.

The Council for Inclusive Capitalism sees capitalism as the greatest force for change and for good when practiced intentionally. And every day, Council members bring forth their best ideas, actions, and tools to profitably meet the needs of employees, customers, suppliers, and the communities in which they operate. Our members’ actions are tied to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and the World Economic Forum’s four sustainable value creation pillars: People, Planet, Prosperity, and Principles
of Governance.

In this work of practicing capitalism for the greater good, Council members are guided—and challenged—by faith-based and ethical leaders including Pope Francis, whose address to Council members pointed to the morality we all have as human beings and our shared responsibility as business leaders to act:

“You have taken up the challenge… by seeking ways to make capitalism become a more inclusive instrument for integral human wellbeing…Your presence here is thus a sign of hope, because you have recognized the issues our world is facing and the imperative to act decisively in order to build a better world. I express to you my heartfelt gratitude for your commitment to the promotion of a more just and humane economy.” – His Holiness Pope Francis, speaking to Council members in November 2019

The Council for Inclusive Capitalism is a secular organization that draws inspiration from faith and ethical leaders who challenge us to do more and be more as leaders. Our community was founded as an answer to Pope Francis’s call to action, though our members come from diverse backgrounds and faith traditions. Some claim no faith tradition at all, though all members recognize the moral and market imperative we have as business leaders to take action for economies to be inclusive and sustainable.

Members of the Council for Inclusive Capitalism agree to take action or share resources in line with our Guiding Principles, which are grounded in the common teachings of all the great faiths. As a community, we put forth our best ideas and actions for capitalism to provide:

• Equality of opportunity for all people to pursue prosperity and quality of life, irrespective of criteria such as socioeconomic background, gender, ethnicity, religion or age;
• Equitable outcomes for those who have the same opportunities and seize them in the same way;
• Fairness across generations so that one generation does not overburden the planet or realize near-term benefits that incur long-term costs, at the cost of future generations; and
• Fairness to those in society whose circumstances prevent them from full participation in the economy.

These Guiding Principles help to inform the actions our members take. They can also give strength and inspiration to Council members who find themselves facing challenge or competing pressures.

Council for Inclusive Capitalism members are provided access to guidance from faith-based and ethical leaders from a variety of backgrounds, including through the Council’s partnership with Religions for Peace, the world’s most representative multi-religious leadership coalition. Whether engaging with
Vatican or Church of England leaders, or moral guides from Sunni and Shiite Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, or indigenous faiths, the Council provides pathways for everyone to moral inspiration that can be so important to reforming established harmful approaches to practicing capitalism.

The work of inclusive capitalism belongs to each of us, regardless of where we come from or what we believe. As human beings, we are endowed with a shared sense of morality and ingenuity to try new ways of building, creating, profiting, and being. As capitalists, Council for Inclusive Capitalism members know that the best value creation is yet to come. We take on the moral and market imperative to practice capitalism differently. And we see the inequality and climate crises as an opportunity for all business leaders to find new ways to profitably meet the needs of people and our planet.

We invite you to join us, to be inspired and challenged by moral guides and your peers, and to be part of the onward value creation that is capitalism at its best.

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