THE ECONOMY OF FRANCESCO: AN EVENT CONCERNED WITH THE CUSTODY OF CREATION

The organization of a multi-level event necessarily involves choices, often motivated by purely economic factors. Events always have an impact on the surrounding environment and we felt it was our responsibility to do all we can to reduce it, even before asking participants to behave in a correct manner.

To highlight this commitment, the Organizing Committee of The Economy of Francesco has chosen to enhance an existing experience in Assisi: the project Fra’ Sole, which was tasked to carry out some initiatives intended to realize a more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable event.

Inspired by that gift to humanity, which is the encyclical Laudato si’, and strengthened by Fratelli Tutti signed by Pope Francis right in Assisi, we want The Economy of Francesco to become a sign of the Pilgrimage of Integral Ecology that contributes, by means of good conduct, to reverse the ongoing climate crisis.

Prior to the pandemic emergency, while waiting in Assisi for the thousands of young people from all over the world, who were invited by Pope Francis to dialogue on the current role of economy and finance, we met together and reflected on three aspects – environmental, social and economic – that characterize sustainability:

Both ECONOMICS and ECOLOGY are derived etymologically from the Greek oikos, home. It is such a strong bond that obliges us to be responsible for our common home, not as masters, but as stewards.

If it is true, as it really is, that there is no such thing as a zero-impact event, it is also true that, with certain corporate choices, it is possible to reduce substantially the impact of the event, with a critical management of resources, also to counteract the predominant culture of waste.

Corporate choices – in their different, complementary meanings: environmental, social and economic – are important, but each participant is expected to play his or her part with some decisive behavior.

The ongoing pandemic obliges us to rethink the whole event and to consider its environmental impact in a different way: the same path to Assisi will become the place of our action for the Custody of Creation.

THE CHOICES MADE BY THE ECONOMY OF FRANCESCO IN THE LIGHT OF COVID19

Unfortunately, the face-to-face event was not possible, but the choices were and will remain important steps for an Integral Ecology. All the previously prepared materials will be utilized in several local initiatives. Similarly, the feasibility studies done to make the face-to-face event sustainable, will be used in the future.

Thanks to our partner Novamont we designed a cotton backpack with some useful tools like the personalized thermal water bottle. In this way, we intend to drastically reduce the consumption of disposable materials, the excessive use of plastic, and to maximize the use of water. We also decided not to use disposable tableware, by providing reusable and folding cutlery. A pen made of biodegradable Mater-Bi completes the ecofriendly pilgrim kit.

THE INVISIBLE CHOICES

Not all of the work to reduce environmental impact is so visible. There are some choices that must be demonstrated, and some activities will go beyond the event. The ongoing health crisis has changed the paradigm, thus some choices needed revision, and some will be modified in the process.

Much work has already been done, but there is still more work to be done that will require a precise and personal commitment from all those who, in any form, will take part in this truly authentic Pilgrimage of Sustainability, which will not end with the meeting with the Holy Father.

The Economy of Francesco, and its commitment to Integral Ecology, is not a one-time commitment. On these pages, we will keep you posted on the practices of integral ecology as they are gradually completed.

Through these best practices, we wish to be a sign and to transmit the urgent message that there can be no future without the care for our common home.

Such care begins with small daily actions, from informed choices that lead to a responsible and wise use of resources, to the promotion of a circulating economic system that values materials and encourages their recycling.

Equally important is the adoption of an ethical economic model, which is free from abusive and profiteering practices, and committed to supporting the weakest and most disadvantaged members of society, according to the spirit of Saint Francis.

All these activities were made possible, first of all, by the choices made by the Committee, by the existing good practices concerning the sustainability of the City of Assisi and the territory, particularly by the involvement of Project Fra’ Sole and the practical commitment of its partners.