Think-and-Do Approach to Advancing Religious Freedom

With the strapline Business: A powerful force for interfaith understanding & peace, the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation educates the global business community about how religious freedom is good for business, and engages the business community in joining forces with government and non-government organisations in promoting respect for freedom of religion or belief (FoRB).

Their March newsletter highlights their Thinking, Campaigning and Doing approach to FoRB.


Religion annually contributes nearly $1.2 trillion of socio-economic value to the U.S. economy, according to a September 2016 study by Brian Grim and Melissa Grim in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion.

As part of its ongoing research, RFBF has completed twelve case studies of business leaders who were finalists for the inaugural Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards. The case studies are made possible through a generous grant by the Templeton Religion Trust.

The first case study on Don Larson and Sunshine Nuts explores how Don Larson, a former Vice President at The Hershey Company and founder and CEO of the Sunshine Nut Company, is working to revive Mozambique’s economy and reverse the trend in broken families. While it used to be a worldwide leader in cashew production, Mozambique is now one of the world’s poorest nations. Banking policies and civil war led to extreme poverty across religious and cultural lines, leaving many widowed mothers and over 1.6 million orphans throughout the country.

Inspired by his faith and the belief that companies can have a profound impact, Don is working with people of all faiths to transform lives by helping provide jobs for over 50,000 people and by donating 90% of his profits to support orphans, empower farmers, and strengthen the local infrastructure, helping to bring interfaith understanding and peace.


The Corporate Pledge in Support of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) — which supports religious diversity and freedom in the workplace — sends two clear messages to current and prospective employees: (1) You can work here without changing who you are; and (2) the company respects all employees and will not favour certain employees over others … and that’s good for the business of all.

The FoRB Pledge is one component of a company’s overall strategy to value its employees and increase their loyalty for the benefit of customers and shareholders. The FoRB Pledge is a company’s public commitment to take reasonable steps to ensure that working at the company does not put employees at odds with their deeply held religious convictions.


Empowerment+ interfaith action groups are communities of people helping each other gain practical life and career skills that focus on more than just finding a job, but on a vocation that is meaningful and fulfilling.

Empowerment+ is not just about receiving love and help but also about the transformative opportunity to become part of a faith-inspired community that loves and helps others, including immigrants and refugees.

The inspiration for Empowerment+ comes from the famous story about loving our neighbours – The Good Samaritan. Although the Good Samaritan was a foreigner with a foreign religion, his care for the man left to die by the side of the road is the example of love we are called to show to others regardless of their faith or background.

Empowerment+ is being piloted for global rollout at Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy (UK) in collaboration with the al-Furqan Islamic Centre, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and other faith partners.

Former Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson presented awards to the upcoming bright lights of religion and business on January 18, 2017. The worlds of football, religion and enterprise merged in a unique way for the graduation ceremony of the global interfaith pilot of the Launching Leaders course.