Partnerships in the Private Sector: The Key to a Sustainable Future

Marco Sanchez - Youth Engagement Intern - United Nations Association

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At this year’s Global Engagement Summit, thousands of Americans from across the United States gathered inside the United Nations General Assembly Hall to learn about how they can take action on some of the world’s most pressing issues. Students from over 120 colleges and universities traveled to UN Headquarters in order to be a part of this historic moment. In fact, 40% of the Summit’s attendees were under the age of 25! As executive director of UNA-USA, Chris Whately said during the opening plenary, “there is a rising movement of Americans across the country who are increasingly supporting the United Nations…..And young people are at the forefront of this”.

While each of the attendees from this year’s summit came from different backgrounds, creeds and ideologies, there is one thing that binds us together, and that is global engagement. Americans realize the important issues that our country and planet is currently facing, but they oftentimes lack the essential resources and partnerships needed to help solve them.

One way that we can help advance our interests for global engagement is through partnerships in the private sector. All throughout America, businesses are looking for ways to be more innovative and sustainable for their next generation of consumers. There are many opportunities for them to do so, however through potential corporate partnerships, young people can help influence businesses to help the world advance ideas, such as achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. But how can young people effectively engage businesses to help us create a better, safer and more prosperous world?

  1. Help businesses realize the purchasing power of young people.
    • Whether it may be in your own personal workplace, or through a business that you may partner with, do not underestimate your influence. Supporting young people is not only core to the Sustainable Development Goals, but is also core to achieving business goals in this fast-changing world.
  2. Choose to work for a socially-minded company.
    • Young people are the future of our societies and our economies. Choosing to work for socially-minded companies can help influence other companies to shift their business agenda towards your interests.
  3. Engage with businesses on social media.
    • If a business is promoting sustainability in your community, recognize them! Social media is the primary platform for business marketing. By helping to market a business, they will continue promote sustainability and influence other businesses to do the same.
  4. Form strategic business partnerships.
    • Invite local businesses to your next campus event/meeting, and give them the opportunity to speak on behalf of their organization. Have the business explain how they are helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and how they can potentially work with young people on future community projects.
  5. Invite businesses to be your organization’s sponsor.
    • Not only will this opportunity help facilitate a stronger partnership with your organization, but it will give the respective business a chance to promote their sustainable agenda with the public. In addition, these businesses can help provide your organization with essential resources.

As young people, we have the responsibility to engage businesses and promote sustainability in our own communities. Through private sector partnerships, businesses can be the leaders in global engagement and ultimately help our world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It is no doubt that our interests and values as Americans can only be advanced through global engagement, therefore young people must be the ones leading this conversation across the country.

Young people are the future global business leaders, therefore we have the biggest influence on potential corporate partners. As Don Lewis, President of Professional Hygiene for Essity, said in his opening remarks, “young people are the voices of today, and the leaders of tomorrow.” Companies, such as Essity, have realized the importance of engaging America’s future world leaders by setting their corporate agenda around sustainable advancements such as good health and well being, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, responsible consumption and production, and climate action. Young people support these efforts, and if we aspire to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, we need to continue building these partnerships and show our current leaders that Americans across the spectrum want to transform our world through global engagement.

Our optimism for a sustainable future is needed for our future success. There are thousands of businesses, both small and large, across the United States, many of which are still awaiting an invitation to collaborate and work towards a sustainable future. As a young leader, I challenge you to seize this moment, take this opportunity to outreach, and form these potential corporate partnerships in your own community. These efforts are needed now more than ever to help achieve the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Take action today!

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