World Economic Forum’s CEO says Pope and King Charles share same ecological vision

At the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos in 2020, King Charles III, then Prince of Wales, launched the Sustainable Markets Initiative, aiming to promote sustainability within the private sector.

Recently, the organisation’s CEO, Jennifer Jordan-Saifi, paid a visit to Rome for meetings with Vatican officials.

She spoke to Vatican News about King Charles’ ecological vision, and how it overlaps with that of Pope Francis.

A shared vision

“We’re here in the Vatican”, explained Ms Jordan-Saifi, “because the Pope has a very similar vision to His Majesty the King in terms of the climate and biodiversity.”

She stressed that the documents each leader has produced on the subject of the environment – especially Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ and King Charles’ Terra Carta – are “very similarly aligned”.

They aim, she said, to provide guidance “on the urgency of action” on climate issues, stressing in particular how nature, health, and the economy are “fundamentally intertwined.”

Another similarity between the Pope and King, Ms Jordan-Saifi noted, is their commitment to interfaith work.

“It’s just wonderful to be here in the Vatican”, she said, “and explore how we look at ‘higher purpose’ in our various missions.”

The urgency of action 

King Charles, Jordan-Saifi noted, has been working on environmental questions for “over 50 years.”

In that time, she said, “he has seen just how much the world has changed, and how increasingly urgent change has become.”

This sense of urgency, Jordan-Saifi stressed, has been intensified by the King’s work as head of the Commonwealth, “where countries are genuinely on the front lines against climate change”.

Asked what one thing everybody should know about sustainability, Jordan-Saifi suggested the need to adopt a “default sustainable position” in “every aspect of our lives.”

“Whether you’re a child making decisions about putting away rubbish, or the CEO of a company making sure that your supply chains are sustainable,” she said, it is crucial to make decisions that are “as green as possible.”

The Terra Carta

King Charles released the Terra Carta in 2021, aiming to “put sustainability at the heart of the private sector.”

“Humanity has made incredible progress over the past century,” he wrote in the preface to the document, “yet the cost of this progress has caused immense destruction to the planet that sustains us. We simply cannot maintain this course indefinitely.”

Words that recall the opening lines of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’:

“Sister Earth now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her … We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.”