Earlier this year, 16 Dominican nun congregations came together in the name of creation care. Through a partnership with Morgan Stanley, the group has unveiled a $130 million “climate solutions fund” which will support environmental stewardship and provide aid to communities severely affected by the changing climate.
This announcement comes five years after Pope Francis unveiled his famous “Laudato Si,” a 225 encyclical calling for environmental and social change to heal a dwindling ecosystem. In the encyclical, the pope writes that it is humanity’s duty to protect God’s Earth by taking responsibility for climate change.
Abiding by the pope’s call to action, the 16 US-based Dominican nun congregations began to search for companies and technologies actively working towards sustainable development goals outlined by the U.N., efforts such as combating poverty and curbing climate change. When the nuns were unable to find a group that covered all the issues they’d set out to address, they decided to create their own.
Called a “first of its kind collaboration” in a Business Wire release, the resulting partnership with Morgan Stanley takes a more “holistic” approach to climate solutions, including investments in energy efficient software and water-saving hydroponic irrigation systems. Top officials in the group’s impact investing team are intent on the fund clearly achieving its primary goals. All investments will have a “concrete climate measurement” that is closely monitored for issues such as CO2 emissions and air pollution.
While many other funds focus simply on screening organizations, this partnership chooses to actually invest in them. Angelo Collins, a leader for the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters in Wisconsin, told reporters that the goal of the fund’s advisors was to support corporations doing positive good for the environment. Collins also elaborated on the relationship between advisor goals and Christianity, saying that Dominican nun congregations in the U.S. believe that social justice is central to their faith practice.
In spirit of this storied Christian value, this partnership will help bring social justice to the forefront of the church’s investing effort by looking to recruit those outside of their church community. Sister Patricia Daly, a Dominican nun residing in Caldwell, New Jersey who helped to create the climate solutions fund, discussed the partnership’s involvement of outside investors in an interview with Grist: “We wanted this not just for ourselves but for other investors, not just faith communities. There are also healthcare systems and other private investors who have joined in this initiative.”As the pope emphasized in “Laudato Si,” climate change is something that all of humanity must address now in order to make a lasting impact. Through strong initiative and real desire to love God and neighbor, the Dominican nuns have taken seriously their Christian calling to steward the Earth, responding with an impactful investment for a hopeful future.