Since a few days ago it is available on the web site of Pontifical Academy of Social SciencesThe Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, whose Chancellor is Cardinal Peter Turkson, who has headed the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development for many years, has published a document entitled Mensuram Bonam (Good Measures), which contains some "faith-consistent measures for Catholic investors."
It is a set of principles and criteria, as well as practical and methodological indications addressed to those who work in the world of finance, both as institutions and as individuals, and who strive to live their faith with coherence, contributing to the promotion of an inclusive and integral development of people.
This document is undoubtedly important, as it contains the Vatican's first real guidelines - a "starting point", reads the cover page - on sustainable and responsible investments, to be taken as a point of reference by those working in the sector.
It is the result of several years of work, at least six, involving various experts from the world of science and finance, as well as drawing inspiration from the main experiences already carried out in various bishops' conferences, especially those of Europe and the United States, or inspired by religious confessions. It is clearly in line with the whole tradition of the Social Doctrine of the Church, obviously with a specific focus on the world of finance.
As Cardinal Turkson explains in the preface to the document, Mensuram Bonam's call for good practices "could not come at a better time," following the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that "brought to light other pandemics due to dysfunctional social systems, such as job insecurity, poor access to healthcare, food insecurity and corruption," issues often denounced by Pope Francis.
This is where the opportunity to "look to a future that we can dream together and discover values and priorities in the teaching of our faith and its wisdom to build that future and let faith-consistent criteria inspire our investments" comes in.
The text is intended, therefore, to be an opportunity for discernment, to encourage companies to carry out investment policies in line with Catholic teaching, and to be a stimulus for investment processes where they have yet to be thought through and applied.
A compass, therefore, not only for believers, but also for those who do not explicitly profess any religion; proposals which, if adopted," writes Cardinal Turkson, "will promote in the human family a clearer perception of the fullness of its destiny, and thus lead it to shape a world more in keeping with the eminent dignity of man".
Principles and method
The document is divided into two parts. The first contains the pillars of faith and of the Church's social doctrine, from which the various investment activities are oriented with vision and responsibility, for integral human development (principles). The second part, on the other hand, contains operational answers, presenting a method for investments consistent with the faith (FCI) with indications on how to apply it: steps to follow, tools to use, etc.
The appendix also contains some "exclusion criteria" on sensitive topics requiring careful discernment of faith, which have already been evaluated in the Bishops' Conferences. For example, the areas of armaments, nuclear weapons, pornography, human rights violations, corruption, climate change threats, etc. should be excluded from financial investments.
Good measures, then, which will undoubtedly require further reflection and study, but which represent a first step towards overcoming tensions and improving society, starting with every believer.