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Sustainability

Gender equality critical to saving our planet

A new platform ‘the Leaders of Sustainable Development’ brings together leaders from across the world to set out what needs to be done right now to give our children a chance for a better life.

Gender equality is everyone’s business — Lakshmi Puri, UN Women Deputy Executive Director

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results — Albert Einstein

Our planet is nearing a critical state – entire countries are disappearing beneath the sea, climate change is increasing the strain on critical ecosystems that in turn is fueling refugee crises; violent intolerance, lack of access to education and justice. Many leaders in the Sustainability area are telling us that we need to do things differently, and we need to start now.

On 25 September 2015, the 193 countries of the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Official Agenda for Sustainable Development, which outlines the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Collectively, these “Global Goals” aim to eradicate poverty in all its forms, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all by 2030.

Many Sustainability leaders agree that there is one critical success factor to achieving every goal to its full potential – gender equality. Specifically, Sustainable Development Goal number 5; empowering all women and girls to find their full potential as leaders and innovators. These new leaders will provide a critical new dimension when looking at different ways to tackle problems that so far, as a species, we have failed to solve.

As demonstrated with the recent release of our Diversity Index, we believe in the power of bringing data and expertise together to solve complex problems in innovative ways.   With this feature, we are adding voices to help tell the story of the Index that so clearly links economic prosperity with diversity and inclusion. Both the data and these voices need to be heard, understood and adopted in order to drive sustainable development. Today we launch this platform – the Leaders of Sustainable Development platform.

The platform features diverse leaders from Mary Robinson, the first female President of Ireland, talking about intergenerational leadership to 30-year old Mimoun Berrissoun, a Young Leader from the Kofi Annan Foundation ‘Extremely Together’, working to stop violent extremism through his work with refugees in Germany. Organisations such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman, Sachs & Co have also contributed their insight, providing a view into how the private sector is driving sustainable development, particularly around the power of ESG data to drive investing decisions and superior portfolio performance.

Each leader explores the solutions and ideas needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and particularly Goal number 5, through specific focus points:

  • Boosting Prosperity: Understanding how financial institutions play a critical role in sustainable development. How are these institutions leading ESG-based investment, providing affordable financial services to 2 billion unbanked adults, and meeting the challenges of the most underserved market: women?
  • Developing Leadership: Leaders of today can inspire each of us to lead change in our own communities. How can we overcome cultural norms and glass ceilings to lead sustainable change on a global scale?
  • Transforming Culture: Women have the sustainable mindset that is key to changing behaviors in their communities. How can we transform attitudes towards women so they can lead this change?
  • Harnessing Data and Technology: Sustainable development goals need to be implemented from the highest levels of government to the smallest rural villages. How can leaders from every sector adopt data-driven technologies to overcome barriers of all kinds and make real change?
  • Creating Opportunities: Sustainability leaders understand the importance of empowering not only yourself, but those around you. How can we empower women through education, career advancement, and financial inclusion to create opportunities for an entire generation?

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