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The younger generations – from Millennials to Generation Z and Alpha – have grown up in a world that is more digital, more diverse, more international, and more connected than ever before. Our views and values have not only been shaped by our local surroundings and culture, but strongly influenced by the global landscape too. Being brought up in today’s globalized world has made us discover and understand the interlinkages between local actions and global concerns, perhaps even better than the older generations. We see global sustainability issues as common to everyone and find no ambiguity in understanding the need for action, from everyone and everywhere.

As young professionals begin to populate the workforce, employers face a group that calls for shared values in corporate sustainability. Being alarmed by global sustainability challenges, we are motivated to make a change and be on the right side of history. We have a strong urge to do things differently and make sure our actions contribute to sustainable development. As we look for meaningful opportunities where we can utilize our motivation, we are looking into organizations that share the same views on sustainability and diversity with us and are actually taking steps to deliver on them.

To be on the forefront of the sustainability transition that young talents call for, organizations need to make sure that they are answering to our call loud and clear. It is time to start showing true commitment: to communicate about sustainability goals and targets, to take meaningful action to deliver on the goals and to track progress. This will ultimately distinguish inspiring, regenerative organizations from passive ones that fail to attract young talent. It is great to see that there already is clear momentum for change – that more and more companies are starting to act on sustainability issues.

Committing to a global, principles-based corporate sustainability initiative like The UN Global Compact is a great place to start your sustainability journey from. It sends a clear message that your organization sees global sustainability challenges as common to everyone and acknowledges the urgency for coordinated action both on the global and local level. Commitment assures that organizations are not fighting for a sustainable and equitable future in isolation. Each participating organization has the support of a global network of more than 11 000 companies that are taking action for the same cause.

The UN Global Compact challenges and helps organizations to start taking meaningful steps towards corporate sustainability right away. For instance, it urges companies to set climate targets based in science and helps them integrate the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to corporate strategies with greater ambition. These initiatives are contextualized to companies’ local arenas by the Compact’s Local Networks. Every action step is always aligned with the framework of ten universal principles that each company upholds no matter where they are.

Like megatrends and sustainable business expert Andrew Winston said in a recent Global Compact webinar, expectations on companies are changing rapidly. “If you want to attract and retain Millennials and Gen Z – if you want a license to operate in the future too – it is no longer optional to have a statement on where your company stands on these large social and environmental issues”, argues Winston. It is time to start accelerating positive change and hop on the right side of history.



Pettiina Niiranen
Intern
Global Compact Network Finland

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