Fortune and Time editors gathered with select Fortune 500 and Time 100 business leaders, scholars, NGOs, non-profits church leaders and philanthropists at the Vatican on December 2 and 3 2016 to discuss ending poverty. They discussed technology and jobs, global health, food and water, commitment to communities, energy and the environment, and financial inclusion. All of these, according to the Vatican, are “critical elements related to poverty alleviation.”
The group included CEOs from Dow Chemical, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Monsanto, McKinsey, Siemens, Virgin Group, Alcoa and WPP as well as leaders from non-profit organizations including the Rockefeller, Ford and Mo Ibrahim Foundations.
Pope Francis met with the group on Saturday, “Our world today is marked by great unrest,” the pope told them. “Inequality between peoples continues to rise, and many communities are impacted directly by war and poverty, or the migration and displacement which flow from them. People want to make their voices heard and express their concerns and fears.”
The pope appealed to these global business leaders to think about ways to organize themselves to benefit their communities and especially the poor. He challenged them to respond to global levels of injustice. “The renewal, purification and strengthening of solid economic models depends on our own personal conversion and generosity to those in need.”
The group spent two days at the Vatican in discussion and working groups to address various challenges and threats to society.
Editors from Time and Fortune presented the pope with a report of their conclusions. The report includes more than twenty solutions that focus on ways the private sector can be a driving force in ending poverty.
In a letter to Pope Francis leading the report, Time Inc. Chief Content Officer and Fortune Editor-in-Chief Alan Murray and Time Inc. News Group Editorial Director Time Editor-in-Chief Nancy Gibbs wrote, “By their policies and practices, by the actions of their employees and their suppliers, and by the example they set as leaders, these CEOs and their companies have the power to do much good in the world. … In addition to stimulating the efforts of the people who are here, we hope that the work of this group will inspire other business leaders and company heads to take similar actions.”
The host committee included the following individuals and organizations.
Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO, Alcoa
Koos Bekker, Chairman, Naspers
Rich Lesser, President and CEO, The Boston Consulting Group
Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group
Andrew Liveris, Chairman, President and CEO, The Dow Chemical Company
John Browne, Executive Chairman, L1 Energy
Federica Marchionni, CEO, Lands’ End
Victor L. L. Chu, Chairman, First Eastern Investment Group
Mike McNamara, CEO, Flex
Hernando de Soto, President, Institute for Liberty and Democracy
Denise Morrison, President, Director and CEO, Campbell Soup Company
Lynn Forester de Rothschild, CEO, E.L. Rothschild
Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo
Claudio Descalzi, CEO, Eni
Stefano Pessina, CEO, Walgreens Boots Alliance
Cathy Engelbert, CEO, Deloitte
Maria Ramos, CEO, Barclays Africa Group
Laurence Fink, Chairman and CEO, BlackRock
Giuseppe Recchi, Executive Chairman, Telecom Italia
Roger Ferguson, President, Director and CEO, TIAA
Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation
Alex Gorsky, Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson
Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO, IBM
Hugh Grant, Chairman and CEO, Monsanto
Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP
Mo Ibrahim, Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation
Andrew Stern, Senior Fellow, Columbia University
Joseph Jimenez, CEO, Novartis AG
John Stumpf, Chairman and CEO, Wells Fargo
Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO, S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation
Joe Kaeser, CEO, Siemens
Tom Wilson, Chairman, President and CEO, Allstate
These CEOs and many others who attended, know that their success is partially dependent on their connection to Rome. Bringing top global business leaders to Rome to help the Papacy by discussing how to solve global problems gets business leaders engaged with Rome and is a good opportunity for the Vatican to influence them and draw them closer to her. One wonders how many of them brought large donations with them.
“For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” Revelation 18:3.