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Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI, Tours Biscuit Factory in Lagos, Nigeria May 19th, 2017

Fr. Seamus represents the Oblate International Pastoral Investment Trust  (OIP) on the advisory board of 8 Miles Private Equity Fund 8miles.com,  which met in Lagos, Nigeria for two days in May. The OIP has a small position in this fund that has a presence in six African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia. The fund has a strong commitment to development and responsible investing and aligns well with the missionary thrust of the OIP and the Oblates.

While in Lagos, Fr. Seamus visited 8 Miles’ most recent investment, a cream biscuit factory. According to an 8 Miles company profile page on the project, Nigeria’s biscuit sector has seen strong growth of 10 to 15 per cent per annum, and they are projecting this to continue, driven by population growth, rising disposable incomes and increasing urbanization coupled with the growing popularity of biscuits as a convenience snack. According to 8 Miles, the growth in this sector is also the result of a relatively young population, with 63% of the country’s 115 million people, below the age of 25 years. 

Beloxxi is a market leader in Nigeria with significant market share and has one of the most popular and highest selling cream cracker brands in the market, with a reputation for high quality. It operates several production lines from its plant in Agbara, Ogun State and multiple warehouses across the country. The Company employs about 2,300 people and operates  through a network of about 400 distributors. The Company has experienced growth rates in excess of 30% per annum in the last few years.

8 Miles has identified select locations and sectors where its investment approach can be best implemented, with a focus on strong macroeconomic fundamentals, good governance, a favorable regime for foreign investors, and a track record of private sector reforms which make doing business easier.

More on Beloxxi Industries:

  • Beloxxi Industries Ltd. is a biscuit producer, with the largest share of the cream crackers segment in Nigeria
  • The company was established over 20 years ago as a biscuit importer and, in 2006, evolved into a local producer of cream crackers after building an ultra-modern factory in Nigeria
  • Beloxxi biscuits are sold via a network of >400 distributors and supermarket chains in Nigeria, with exports to Ghana. The product is also served on international flights from Nigeria
  • Market Potential: Growth in the Nigerian biscuits sector driven by increasing urbanization and rising popularity of biscuits as a convenience snack, in-between meals or on-the-go
  • With a well-known brand and reputation for high quality, Beloxxi is the leading product by sales volumes in Nigeria’s cream crackers market
  • Beloxxi enjoys cost and quality advantages due to a fully-automated and efficient production process. Exit potential also enhanced by world-class facilities

Fr. Seamus Finn among Presenters at the Rome Roundtable 2017 January 18th, 2017

The Global Foundation  gathered for its Rome Roundtable 2017 on January 14th and 15throme20172 and convened participants from the business and investment community, religious leaders, civic institutions, academia and civil society to evaluate responses and measure progress on United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The fifty invited participants were asked to report on progress since the last roundtable and to discuss additional commitments and actions that they would undertake during the coming year.

Visit this website to read the Vatican Radio report on the event and Pope Francis’s address to participants.

My comments were focused on the numerous challenges and debates that have taken place over the last century about development. The UN sponsored decades of development that focused on different dimensions of the topic and how they might be appropriately addressed and then the encyclical letter, “Populorum Progressio” (On the Development of Peoples), of Pope Paul VI, in 1967 built on the teaching of the Catholics tradition and the Second Vatican Council on the issues. This encyclical remains as a foundational point of reference for the Church’s understanding of development especially with the introduction and definition of the concept of “integral human development”. More recently through a United Nations process in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals were adopted as a benchmark and guide for action in countries and communities across the world.

The adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the General Assembly in 2015 has set a clear agenda for the work of development until 2030. In our panel presentation my colleagues, Mark Cutefani, CEO, Anglo American and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape town reported on the collaborative multistakeholder project that has been organized by the Mining and Faiths Reflection Initiative to address development issues in mine site communities at local and regional levels.


Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI Speaks on Faith & Sustainable Development at 2016 World Mining Congress October 25th, 2016

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The World Mining Congress is an international event that takes place every three years. It is led by a secretariat and affiliated with the United Nations. This year’s event took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from October 18 – 21. The event aims to promote and support, both technically and scientifically, the cooperation for the national and international development of mineral areas and resources; implement a global information network concerning mineral science, technology, economy, occupational health and safety and environmental protection.

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI, spoke on the Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN) panel, Why Partnering For Development is the Future of Mining.

The panel explored the social, economic and environmental dimensions that are so vital for a vibrant mining industry and a future that provides for an equitable distribution of benefits to all stakeholders.

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI: Comments at World Mining Congress Rio, October 20th 2016

The church’s engagement with the mining sector and specifically with the Development Partner Initiative was initiated and motivated by three different factors.

  1. We have been blessed with a charismatic and disruptive pope who is responsible for the preparation of the encyclical Laudato Sí where we are presented with an inspiring vision of the interdependence and inter-relatedness that exists between all living beings and our common home, planet earth that builds on the teaching of his predecessors and of Catholic Social Teaching (CST). We are also called to task by Pope Francis for the ways in which we have failed to care for, cultivate and appreciate the gift of the natural world and instead mistreated the planet and failed as a consequence in our inter-generational responsibility to our children’s children.
  2. There are chapels and churches and houses of worship scattered across the world and especially in the remote regions where many of the mines and other desirable natural resources like oil, gas and timber are located. Faith leaders at different levels have for years been hearing from many of the people that live in these regions and many of the stories that they tell about their experiences of mining are not very positive. Many of the contributions that the industry has made to progress and development have been lost.
  3. The churches own and manage assets to support their various initiatives and they are shareholders in many companies that are active in the mining sector. They want to make those investments in industries and companies that are responsible and make a constructive contribution to the communities and societies where they operate. They also want to avoid investing in corporations that have a poor record on protecting the environment, in respecting and promoting human rights and in fulfilling their social license to operate. 

Three themes that are central to the mission of the church and of most faith traditions where the mission of the faith traditions and the mining industry intersect are promoting sustainable development, caring for our common home and protecting human rights.

  1. Promoting development has been on the agenda of the church for centuries and has been specifically highlighted by global institutions like the United Nations from the beginning. In recent decades the much debated adjective “sustainable” has been added to the conversation as the accomplishments and the failures of various development projects and programs have been critiqued and evaluated. A significant intervention into the development debate was made by Pope Paul VI in 1967 the encyclical Populorum Progressio when he called for the promotion of “integral human development” and sought to include much more than having more or simply measuring development in purely economic terms. The mining industry has often been a part of many development initiatives through their contributions to local communities especially in regions surrounding their operating sites and in communities that are impacted by the operations of their supply chain.
  1. In his encyclical Laudato Sí, Pope Francis has called all of us to care for our common home, Mother Earth that he points out has been critically damaged by much of human activity especially in the industrial age. He is quick to point out that there is no quick solution to the ecological crisis that we face but that each of us individuals and communities, institutions and organizations, the public and the private sector have a responsibility and a role to play in reversing these trends.
  1. The protection and promotion of human rights and human dignity are at the center of the church’s mission and enshrined in international law. They are more and more being encoded in legislation and being voluntarily embraced by different actors in the business community and particularly by stakeholders and shareholders in publicly traded corporations. Faith institutions and socially responsible institutions and individual investors that are working diligently to align the ways in which they manage these assets with their faith traditions and with their values are using this same lens to choose the companies and the industry sectors that they want to invest in.

In the Days of Reflection that were convened at the Vatican and at Lambeth palace, in the Days of Courageous conversation that were convened in Cape town and in the other convenings that have brought together faith and industry leaders, civil society and representatives of local communities, we have a model that can help to address some of the challenges that are faced by local communities, industry and those who want to support sustainable development. The commitment to care for and cultivate and protect our common home must be our number one priority. We cannot rest until we have found the avenues and the technology to do this and at the same time use the multiple and rich resources that are before us to support human habitation on the planet.


Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI Speaks at Vatican-Catholic Relief Services Conference on Impact Investing July 15th, 2016

FrSeamus2The Second Vatican Conference on Impact Investing took place from June 26-28, 2016. The three-day conference, themed “Making the Year of Mercy a Year of Impact for the Poor, was co-hosted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Catholic Relief Services.

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI, presented at the conference and gave an interview to Devin Watkins of Vatican Radio.

Visit Vatican Radio to read the full news article and listen to the interview.

 

 

 

 

 


Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI, Quoted in Wall Street Journal Article on Ethical Investing June 7th, 2016

Fr. Séamus Finn, Chief of Faith Consistent Investment at the OIP Investment Trust and Chairman of Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, says companies that obey the law, are transparent, treat their employees well and respect the environment and their communities are likely to be more sustainable in the long run.

 

Read the full Wall Street Journal article.

 

 

 


Where You Bank Matters April 20th, 2016

Where You Bank Matters, by Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI

In collaboration with the Socially Responsible Investment Coalition (SRIC), ICCR sponsored an informative and engaging roundtable on sustainable banking at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio on April 6th. The idea for the roundtable was part of the vision and mission of the ICCR financial services caucus and was realized when the group found an accomplished and energetic partner in the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.

Read the full article here.

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