The Malta Independent 11 August 2022, Thursday

Lawrence Gonzi closes international conference at the Vatican

Malta Independent Saturday, 10 May 2014, 12:13 Last update: about 9 years ago

Former Prime Minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi was invited by the Fondazione Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice to deliver the closing speech during its annual international conference with the theme, ‘The Good Society and the Future of Jobs: Can solidarity and fraternity be part of business decisions?’

Focusing on the effect of the global financial crisis, especially on employment, Dr Gonzi spoke about the need for a new business and development paradigm which is anchored around values, ethics and morality.  Lawrence Gonzi emphasised that political and business models based on solidarity and fraternity are not only needed to recover from the crisis we lived through, but are the best guarantee to building a good, fair and sustainable society.

Dr Gonzi said “during all the turmoil of the economic and financial crisis, the greatest and most important challenge which we faced was the one relating to job creation and job retention. Both are enormous challenges in a society that continues to change – a change which is mostly driven by technological advancement, by our own decision to invest heavily in education, by the global nature of today’s business environment; by the reality of a society that is increasingly shifting from one based on manufacturing, to one based also on services.”


Dr Lawrence Gonzi stated that the future jobs will depend on the ability of entrepreneurs to understand that their business will grow if:

·         it is sensitive to the environment,

it works hand in hand with the reduction of the energy footprint,

it understands that there is a responsibility to contribute towards climate change targets,

it delivers products that are manufactured in a safe and responsible way,

it has a manufacturing policy that respects the health and safety of its employees,

it has an image that is not blemished by the way employees are treated,

it has active family friendly measures,

it implements a work ethic that adequately caters for a healthy work-life balance,

it invests in lifelong learning, training and re-training.

This is what makes a Good Society. You can call this Fraternity and Solidarity with each other and with the environment we live in. But the truth of the matter is that this is what good business sense is made of.

The future will continue to place even more emphasis on these aspects and that businesses will only succeed if they can prove to their customers that not only is their product of good quality, not only is it offered at a competitive price, but it is also produced in a manner which respects the employees, the environment and society.

The success of any business decision today and even more so in the future, will depend heavily on the business leaders’ ability to re-discover the value of solidarity as a vital ingredient for a successful business model in the 21st century.

Dr Gonzi proposed five action points for the Conference to reflect upon and for the Fondazione Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice to integrate in its work.  Referring to the vocation of politicians, Dr Gonzi spoke about the need of politics to rediscover that it is in intrinsically a service towards the common good and that the crisis has highlighted the shortcomings of myopic and populist policies.  Turning to the business class, Dr Gonzi spoke about the need to reposition the human being at the centre of its work.  The enabling power of technology and its ability to facilitate this transition towards bridging the gap between the human person and society was the third action point Dr Gonzi proposed.  The fourth point reflected on the growing sensitivity of businesses towards the environment around them and the different forms of organisations that are evolving.  Echoing the concept put forward at the 64th Session of the United Nations in September 2009, Dr Gonzi highlighted the need for society to focus on the human duties of the present generation and responsibilities towards future generations as much as its focuses on human rights -  just as it was necessary in 1948 to recognize the need for a universal declaration of human rights, as a fundamental condition for the enjoyment of freedom, justice and peace for all men and women around the world, so it has become vital now to have a concomitant declaration on human duties of the present generation as well as our responsibilities towards future generations.

The Vatican Foundation is a non-profit organisation aimed at promoting the study and diffusion of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church as set out in particular by Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical “Centesimus Annus”.


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