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Pope praises ‘impact investing’

Catholic World News - June 17, 2014

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Catholic Relief Services, and the University of Notre Dame’s business school are cosponsoring a three-day conference in Rome devoted to impact investing.

The conference’s sponsors describe impact investing as

investments made with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental impact alongside financial return … By unlocking significant amounts of private capital to complement public resources and charitable donations, impact investing presents the opportunity to utilize market-based solutions to foster social justice and to help solve global challenges such as sustainable agriculture, affordable housing, accessible healthcare, clean energy, and financial services for the poor.

“The logic underlying these innovative forms of intervention is one which acknowledges the ultimate connection between profit and solidarity, the virtuous circle existing between profit and gift,” Pope Francis said in a June 16 audience with conference participants.

“It is important that ethics once again play its due part in the world of finance and that markets serve the interests of peoples and the common good of humanity,” he continued. “It is increasingly intolerable that financial markets are shaping the destiny of peoples rather than serving their needs, or that the few derive immense wealth from financial speculation while the many are deeply burdened by the consequences.”

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