Supporting the “Laudato Si’ Challenge” for Sustainable Startups

Embassy Officers and Chargé d’Affairs Lou Bono attended the Laudato Si’ Challenge “demo day” with Cardinal Turkson on Thursday, September 7th. The challenge is driven by the message of Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical on care for the environment that regardless of religion, ethnicity, or social status, the world is our “common home” and as such we all share a responsibility to preserve and protect it. The mission of the Challenge is to create a healthier environment and transform capitalism from share-holder- to customer-oriented by encouraging for-profit companies to use natural, innovative resources for products that directly aid developing, underprivileged societies.

Whether by harnessing the light of the sun, transforming harmful materials into clean water, or generating financial incentives to recycle, each product demonstrates ways to improve the environment and subsequently human life. Each company also empowers individuals to see value in all things, thus promoting care for the environment and the dignity of the human person through reusing natural resources and striving to serve the community first. The challenge began in May 2017 with over 300 applicants and after months of rigorous evaluation and transformation, 9 companies now remain. In December, they will present their finished products in Vatican City to impact investors looking for promising products to combat climate change. The companies represent seven different countries world-wide and are run by both men and women, including one company that is entirely female-run.

Pope Francis writes in Laudato Si’ that “We require a new and universal solidarity… All of us can cooperate… for the care of creation.” This spirit of cooperation is an integral part of creating a healthier future for our environment and is an integral aspect of the Laudato Si’ Challenge.