Mendoza School of Business

Mendoza dean joins business and humanitarian leaders in Rome for ‘Investing for the Poor’ conference

Published: July 18, 2014 / Author: Christine Cox

With a special blessing from Pope Francis, a coalition of 100 global
leaders concerned with impact investing gathered in Rome on June 16 and 17. The
Investing for the Poor Conference was jointly convened by Mendoza College of
Business, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Catholic Relief
Services. Roger Huang, the Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College of
Business, presented at the conference.

Experts in business, finance, academia, humanitarian causes and
faith-based communities learned core concepts of impact investing, which is
investing with the intention to generate social and environmental impact
alongside financial returns. The consortium also discussed how impact investing
aligns with the Catholic Church’s mission and how the Church might promote such
investing to serve the poor.

The first day included a private audience with the pope, who
blessed and expressed his appreciation for the symposium. Pope Francis also
underscored the significance of impact investing.

“It is important that ethics once again play its due part in the
world of finance and that markets serve the interests of peoples and the common
good of humanity,” the pope said in an address to conference participants. “It is increasingly intolerable that financial markets
are shaping the destiny of peoples rather than serving their needs, or that the
few derive immense wealth from financial speculation while the many are deeply
burdened by the consequences.

“Advances in technology have increased the speed of financial
transactions, but in the long run this is significant only to the extent that it
better serves the common good,” the pope continued. “In this regard,
speculation on food prices is a scandal which seriously compromises access to
food on the part of the poorest members of our human family. It is urgent that
governments throughout the world commit themselves to developing an
international framework capable of promoting a market of high impact
investments, and thus to combating an economy which excludes and discards.”

Huang said the goals and concepts of impact investing align with
Mendoza’s mission to “Ask More of Business.” “Historically, financial
investment and helping the poor have been considered two separate functions:
You make money through financial investing, and help the poor by giving away
money,” he said. “Impact investing merges the two in a very powerful way, so
that an investor’s value system and business knowledge align toward a shared
goal of creating wealth while also achieving social and environmental
objectives. This is a transformational approach to affecting world poverty, and
one that fits perfectly with Mendoza’s mission.”

Former Mendoza dean Carolyn Woo, now the president and CEO of
Catholic Relief Services, was a key participant in the conference. “Pope
Francis has called on the world to find ways to use wealth to help the
poor and each and every one of us,” she said. “Impact investing is an
approach to eradicate poverty by putting investment capital
to work in addressing the growing inequality in the world today. It
is important we all take a lead role to actively evaluate the use of innovative
financing to serve the poor and that is what this conference is all about.”

For more information about the conference and impact investing,


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