Encyclical to Action

Encyclical to Action


The science is undisputed. The business case is proven. Religious institutions agree. Climate disruption is delivering unpleasant consequences of acidifying oceans, droughts, fires, extreme weather, famine and social unrest. The loss of species that scientists are calling the sixth great extinction is the first driven by humans, one more sign that we are living beyond the planetary boundaries. At the same time, we are failing to deliver the minimum needed for quality of life and dignity for more than half the world’s population. These are all called out in “Encyclical Letter of the Holy Father On Care of our Common Home” as symptoms of our collective failure to care for all of humanity and fulfill our responsibility as stewards of God’s creation. Numerous statements by other religious leaders echo the Pope’s call.
At the same time, there is a proven business case for taking early and aggressive action to cut emissions and implement climate protection. The September 2014 CDP “Climate Action and Profitability” study showed that companies that integrate sustainability into business strategies outperform those who fail to show such leadership. Companies that are managing their carbon emissions and are planning for climate change enjoy 18% higher returns on their investment than companies that aren’t, and 67% higher than companies that refuse to disclose their emissions.
It’s time to blend the moral arguments advanced by religious groups with the business case for climate protection, to achieve the political will to solve the crisis profitably.
In 2015, Natural Capitalism Solutions convened an interfaith conversation on moving from Encyclical to Action. A large event was held in Denver on November 23, 2015 at Regis University. Over 125 people attended and participated. Speakers included leaders from the business, government, and faith communities. The diversity of professions, views, and opinions was refreshing. Individuals from seemingly different backgrounds shared their overlapping feeling towards the recent Encyclical and our need to act on it. The group agreed that we need to:

  • Depoliticize the debate about protecting creation;
  • Develop a roadmap the business community can follow to fulfill the Pope’s call to action.
  • Learning exchange leading to a global call to conversation between faith and environment;
  • Create a forum to address faith-based concerns about our current economic model’s shortcoming including externalities and growing inequity.
  • Political pivot to enable a stronger US position for impact in Paris and beyond (e.g. agreement on market-based mechanisms like a global carbon price);
  • Integrate faith-based benefits with climate benefits (more adherents and more action)

In case you missed our 2015 events, you can read all about them and watch videos here.

For more information contact Meghan Altman, [email protected]