The Horyou Community has much to celebrate – from our global reach to our successful activities, we are proposing effective solutions for better times to come

SIGEF 2019 by Horyou

2020 is starting on a positive note: Horyou is growing bigger, more global, and it is spreading a positive message to the planet and its people. We have much to celebrate, and we would like to share with you the main highlights of the year that has passed:

  • HoryouToken, the digital currency for Inclusion and sustainability, was successfully launched worldwide and presented to the main global Blockchain audiences, in events including WSIS Forum 2019, Matinée Fintech, Blockchain Economic Forum and Chain Plus.

  • The 6th Edition of SIGEF took place last September in Tokyo, one of the worlds’ most innovative metropolis, covering critical global topics like Artificial Intelligence for Positive Change, Fintech and Blockchain, MedTech, SDGs, Sustainable Lifestyles, Sports for Good, Future Energy and Smart Mobility. Extensive converage and info on our SIGEF website.

  • Horyou community has expanded and strengthened its presence in Asia Pacific and Africa. Yonathan Parienti, Horyou’s Founder and CEO, and the Horyou team presented initiatives and shared inspiration in global events including the Future Here Summit, Oxygen 2050, Doing Good, Doing Well and many others.

  • Horyou media presence was stronger and much more diverse – from Asia to the Americas, in Japanese, English, French, Arabic and many more languages, we made our voice heard.

  • Horyou TV launched new documentaries and raised awareness about urgent causes such as Plastic Pollution and Refugees.

  • Our community has grown bigger, with more members, partners and personalities.

2020 full of surprises

The Horyou Team is now preparing its very first projects of 2020. We are proud of what we’ve achieved so far and we will bring even more visibility to our community and our projects this year through:

  • The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum – SIGEF – will have a special edition in Davos on January 22nd, during the World Economic Forum. Book your tickets and be part of one of the most important international gatherings fostering the UN SDGs, Sustainable Innovation and Blockchain for Good.

  • The next full edition of SIGEF will still take place in Dubai! Follow SIGEF 2020 Twitter account to know more.

  • Expect more partnerships, events and networking projects supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, economic inclusion and social entrepreneurship all around the world.

Follow our blog, our social media channels (TwitterLinkedIn and Youtube) and Horyou, the social network for social good. The Horyou Team wishes a Happy New Year to all of our members and partners around the world!

While world leaders are gathered in the climate change conference, there’s a general concern about discussions not going fast enough

UN Climate Change Conference, December 2019

Four years ago, the world celebrated one of the most important environmental treaties: the Paris Agreement. Besides all the differences, global leaders were able to sit together and decide that it was time for a bold action concerning climate change. By then, 195 countries signed the agreement that aims to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures.

In the following years, the global audience has seen the momentum created in Paris fade as the time passed: implementation, voluntary commitments and rules were hard challenges that didn’t find consensus. So, what’s the expectation for the COP 25? Held in Madrid, Spain, after Brazil and Chile having abandoned their candidacies, the 25th annual Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is expected to be “The COP of Implementation”.

Representatives of the parties will discuss rules about the international carbon markets, climate finance. Their main objective is to finalize the details of the Paris Agreement, filling in legal and technical details. One of the main topics to be discussed is the set of rules for voluntary carbon emission markets, which would let nations meet their pledged emissions cuts by trading with other countries.

Climate finance for developing countries is also another issue on the table. Parties will negotiate details about how to support these countries as they adapt to climate change and reduce their carbon emissions.

What is happening now?

The first days of COP25 climate talks were marked by demonstrations and social discontent with the slowness of global leaders about climate change. Young activist Greta Thunberg is leading marchs in Madrid, saying the world hasn’t achieved anything, as carbon emissions continue to rise while debates are ongoing. A recently published report published by the Universal Ecological Fund shows that greenhouse gas emissions rose by 0.6% last year, even though the rate of increase has declined. It is not enough to represent a shift in climate action, as we must change it from increasing carbon to falling emissions.

 

How an EU directive – together with the will of consumers – is leading companies to change sourcing and manufacturing strategies

Plastic pollution in the ocean

How to live without plastic? The material has been increasingly present in our daily lives for many decades: according to the European Commission, its global production has increased twentyfold since the 1960’s. At the same time, it has become a vital material in our economy as it causes serious impacts in the environment, from its origin to its end of life.

Launched in 2018, the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy is an ambitious document that aims to transform the way businesses and consumers use this resource. The lifecycle of the products that use plastic in their manufacturing is a big concern – from design to disposal, companies should be aware of the impact they cause on the environment. It means that more businesses and consumers are looking for more sustainable options, like recyclable plastic, refillable or reusable options and post-consumption traceability.

The document sets bold targets for Europe by 2030. The 10-single use plastic products that today constitute 70% of marine litter are in the spotlight and should be banned by then. Also, all plastic packaging placed on the EU markets should be either reusable or recyclable in a cost-effective manner.
Following the directive, manufacturers of plastic have joined in a big movement lead by PlasticsEurope, a Pan-European association that aims to change the face of this not very well reputed industry. In this spirit, they designed the ‘Plastics 2030 – Voluntary Commitment’, focusing on increasing the reuse and recycling of plastic, and preventing plastic leakage into the environment, as well as accelerating resource efficiency. It will lead to a 60% rate of reusing and recycling plastic packaging by 2030, and a 100% rate in 2040.

In this scenario, new materials are gaining popularity among consumers – ocean waste plastic, post-consumer recycling and bio-based plastic made from coffee beans, sugar cane and other non-carbon sources, are rising as alternatives to traditional plastic.

Global players like Unilever – that will cut by half their use of virgin plastic by 2025 – and sustainable trendsetters like Lush – that started launching free-packaging stores earlier this year – are committing to the strategy to offer more eco-conscious alternatives to consumers.

Lead by consumers’ demand, governments’ commitments and businesses’ efforts, sustainable innovation is rising as an alternative to the “plastic problem”.

Gender equality is not only a matter of fair pay or of more representation in power roles: it’s a matter of development, peace and a positive future for all. The role of cities and regions when it comes to building a better future for both women and men is a hot topic in 2019: while new studies and reports are being launched, more initiatives are becoming visible and gaining strength, raising the debate about how to include the Sustainable Development Goal 5 into municipal policies.

The city of Barcelona, in Spain, launched a program which supports the creation and growth of women-led businesses

Launched earlier this year, the EU’s Gender Equality Monitor (GEM) is one of the tools that measure women’s disadvantage relative to men in many regions. The early conclusions already point to a clear direction: countries, regions and cities that invest in gender equality are richer and less corrupt than the ones that don’t. The Monitor shows that GDP is higher in regions where women are less disadvantaged and that a government is of a higher quality when more women are involved. A research conducted by the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, presents evidence that female representation is strongly negatively associated with both grand and petty corruption.

Creating space for women’s voices and needs is then an essential step towards building better cities and regions – governments with more women involved can perform better by investing wisely in minimizing inequality. Be it deconstructing damaging stereotypes, changing budget allocation or supporting female entrepreneurs, there are many ways cities can support gender equality. The new report Gender Equal Cities, published by the EU, highlights innovative initiatives that are simple to replicate and have already been implemented in several European cities.

For example, in Cascais, Portugal, the city council provided training for all public staff in its communications department on how to avoid reproducing traditional, outdated gender stereotypes in their digital and print materials.

Yet, these projects are not only about direct gender discrimination – they plan to include more women in community projects and help them occupy more urban spaces. In Bologna, Italy, the city recruited, trained and empowered young women to act as ambassadors against minorities discrimination, namely Roma, Sinti and Camminanti communities, while in Romania, the city of Râmnicu Sărat took inexpensive measures to include more women into their municipal sports facilities, which were disproportionally used by men: After consulting female citizens, they changed the way they advertise the services and provided women-only sessions to make them feel more welcome.

By its very nature, gender equality is a long-term goal. Rather than offering ready-made solutions, it’s a starting point: a trigger for the right questions to be posed to support all urban policymakers in improving gender equality in Europe.’ says report co-author Sally Kneeshaw.

City leaders

While making up for more than half of the population, women are underrepresented in regional assemblies (28,6%) and municipal councils (36%) in Europe, which only has 15% female mayors. The traditional gender equality issues continue to raise attention: women are paid 16% less than men, perform more unpaid work and experience more gender-related violence. By working with city leaders, the EU has been transforming existing knowledge into clear recommendations that drive the gender-equality agenda with 5 pillars: Representation & Participation, Governance, Economic Equality, Public Services, Planning & Public Space and Migrant Integration.

Regarding Economic Equality, for instance, the city of Barcelona, in Spain, launched Lidera31, a program which supports the creation and growth of women-led businesses, as well as empowers women to reach more senior roles in their professional careers. The initiative has trained over 1000 women in skills development, business support and networking, aiming to close both the entrepreneurship gap and the pay gap.

What can your city do?

The report ends on a provocative note to all policymakers: what can cities do to move forward with the gender equality agenda? The answer lies in exchanging experiences; promoting open dialogues that respect different perspectives; raising awareness, bringing marginalised women’s experiences to the fore and continuing to identify, capture and share why gender equality is important and what actions can drive change.

Gender Equal Cities must continue to be addressed and communicated as a fundamental right, and then makes cities good places for all.

A global claim has been echoing for many years: since 2000, when the UN launched the Millennium Development Goals, the world hasn’t seen such public debate about the need to commit to social and environmental targets. As the years have passed and global leaders have complied with the reviewed and renamed Sustainable Development Goals, society started to be bolder about expanding the commitment to a better future.

In the last few years, more companies have been vocal about their own actions thanks to an increased responsiveness of their stakeholders: investors, clients and civil society who demand more engaged action for the SDGs.

Clients and consumers are the first group to put pressure on the private sector, carefully choosing ecofriendly products and brands. Last September, 87 companies, including Danone, Amazon and IKEA, committed to set climate targets across their operations and value chains, setting zero net emissions by 2050. A recent Accenture survey shows that 80% of consumers believe it’s important or extremely important for companies to design environmentally conscious products. It affects the whole supply chain: from lighter and smaller packaging that will require less material to components that are recyclable and reusable.

Jobseekers are another important group that influences companies’ commitment to sustainable actions. MBA graduates are now able to see if corporate social responsibility strategies are legitimate or pure PR – and choose companies they want to work for accordingly. A 2015 survey covering more than 3,700 MBA graduates shows that 64% of them don’t think businesses are making enough efforts to address environmental challenges. Recruiters are getting used to questions about these CSR policies and are feeling the need to develop their employer’s branding, the capacity to attract talented people, investing in real sustainable actions.

Finally, there is the deciding factor for many businesses: money. Asset managers are increasingly taking sustainability into consideration when shaping their investment strategies, according to a recently published article in the Financial Times. Some of them, like Hermes, are launching SDG Equity Funds focused on small and medium-sized companies engaged with the UN Goals. Others, like the Scandinavian investment group Summa, are focusing on some sustainable development areas like infrastructure and innovation (goal 9). These initiatives follow the launch of UN Impact, a program that aims to channel funds to SDG-related projects and companies.

Other funding opportunities like HoryouToken, the utility token 100% dedicated to inclusion and sustainability, are also spotting projects and actions that resonate with the UN SDGs. Built on the concept of Blockchain with a purpose, HoryouToken supports and promotes social and economic inclusion while enhancing a positive circle of interactions benefiting civil society, social entrepreneurs and social good doers.

To know more about HoryouToken, click here.

16-year-old Swedish Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri – HP1EF9N1AIFX9

I must confess that I was disturbed by Greta Thunberg’s speech at the UN Climate Action Summit, which took place last September at the UN Headquarters in New York. I’ve seen many teenagers angry for whatever reason, but never for such a genuine and clear purpose as the future of their own kind. It’s not about the planet anymore, it’s about the hundreds of thousands of climate refugees, it’s about the species that are under threat and whose disappearance could unbalance the environment só strongly that it would cause famine and chaos. It’s about us, the ones who have a few more decades ahead to live.

Although I’ve seen many angry teenagers before, I’ve never seen a 16-year-old be so disruptive with her words and receive so much criticism for being too «bold and pessimistic». But I know I’ve never seen such mobilization of so many young people. It was beautiful to see millions of children going on strike for the climate just a few days later, inspired by a clear message that said we must create other rules because the current ones are no longer working. I saw it as a call to re-create capitalism and rethink our consumption and production system, as well as our way to reassess national growth and wealth. Isn’t there a better way to be rich than to always seek to produce more and more?

It was the first time than I saw such anger coming from someone so young and, yet, so right that she strokes hearts all over the world. She disturbed some, angered others, inspired and caused strong emotion on many – I haven’t heard of nobody say they were not touched by her words.

A few days later, surrounded by business people from an industry that is marked by their not-too-sustainable methods, all I’ve heard was: we need to change the way we work, the raw materials we use, our waste management. Greta was right, they say, and Greta is the future: she is the angry face of new consumers who are not happy about how the current system goes and demand change now. Greta’s generation might not have the smooth personality we expect from our children, but they know what they will face if we don’t act now. And we don’t dare not to.

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