New generations of investors and consumers are driving the change

Horyou is a media partner of Doing Good, Doing Well

We’re in the middle of a transition. While baby boomers are retreating both as business leaders and investors, money is changing hands. And so is power. Millennials are taking over, along with their desire to bring positive impact on society and the planet.

Organized by MBA students from IESE Business School in Barcelona, the Doing Good, Doing Well Conference is in its 17th edition, yet the debate about impact investing and businesses for good had never been so palpable. “All the stakeholders are involved. The pressure for change is coming from everywhere”, said Pedro Goizueta, Investor Relations and Operations Director at Global Social Impact. The real shift here is in the word “investor”. There’s a demand for transparency, reporting and real proof of impact so as to avoid greenwashing. Impact businesses are utilizing performance indicators to speak to investors.

The transformation started as an answer to the demands of a new generation of consumers. “If all of us stop buying plastic bottles, the industry will come up with an alternative solution in less than one month”, said Rocío Alcocer, founder and CEO of TAPP Water. A survey conducted by the ING financial institution is a good indicator of consumer power: 38% would actively stop buying products if they are not environmentally responsible. The rate is even higher among millennials: 48%. The action followed a profound distrust of traditional capitalism: 73% of people express a desire for change, and 56% feel that capitalism does the world more harm than good.

Hence businesses have started to rethink their purposes. “Capital is being reassigned. Large oil companies are investing in renewable energy while car manufacturers are launching electric vehicles. Part of the assets are being shifted to sustainable investments with a long term view”, says Fernando de Roda, co-founder at Greenward Partners. The example is also coming from banks and investment funds – players like BlackRock – the global investment manager which launched a myriad of high risk sustainable funds -, and pension funds, such as the Spanish VidaCaixa and Citi, are publicly defending impact investing as a smart long-term investment option.

Technology has been a good ally when it comes to innovation and impact measurement. “It will democratize investments and lead to impact investing for everyone”, said Enrique Albarado, Head of Technology of Bamboo Capital. “It brings transparency”, claimed Fernando de Roda. Surely, It will help sustainable businesses – one of the biggest challenges to impact investing, according to the panellists – move faster. “Short-term return goals are a major problem”, insisted Financial Times reporter and producer of the digital platform Moral Money Billy Nauman. In his opinion, society should swiftly solve the more important problem: the environmental one. “There’s potential, but we’re not making progress to be anywhere near the 1,5-degree commitment. We’re moving, but not fast enough and we need to get big assets involved”, he said. It’s a matter of sustainability at its roots: to ensure that we still have businesses in the future.

 

Horyou is a media partner of Doing Good, Doing Well

 

It’s time to share good news about one of the most feared diseases

New technologies and discoveries are making cancer a treatable disease

I remember when I was little, my parents and grandparents would never say the word “cancer”. It sounded like a death threat, a condition so serious that, if only mentioned out loud, could contaminate others. Time has passed and even they started to fear it less: my grandmother had breast and skin cancer and a long, healthy life after treating it; my father-in-law is in remission from a prostate cancer and is planning to go on his third transatlantic trip, confident about what the future might bring. Although cancer remains a serious disease that should be swiftly treated and carefully monitored, the latest discoveries and technologies regarding detection and treatments had made it less terrifying. And on this World Cancer Day, we would like to share some good news:

  • Cervical cancer detection and prevention: more than 100 countries have successfully introduced the vaccine against HPV. It gives a very positive prospect to future cases of cervical cancer, knowing that teenagers are the vaccines’ target audience.

  • Liquid Biopsies: widely used to detect prostate and ovarian cancer cases through a blood test, the liquid biopsy is less invasive and painful than current detection techniques as colonoscopy, needle biopsy and mammography. The FDA has just approved liquid biopsies for lung cancer – and a wider use is to come.

  • Medical cannabis: in 2002, the Netherlands have pioneered the implementation of medical cannabis access programmes to cancer patients. More recently, other European countries have given the green light for this complementary treatment, as well as many US states and countries like Australia, Brazil, Canada, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

  • More drugs available: Cambridge scientists have discovered that more than 50 approved drugs that were not traditionally used to treat cancer have capabilities to kill cancerous cells without harming healthy ones. The researchers found that drugs developed for treating diabetes, reducing inflammation and controlling alcohol addiction were among those with good potential for treating cancer.

  • Recovering capacity: a recent discovery by UK researchers shows that our body has an impressive capacity of recoverage from damage. They found that the lungs of ex-smokers can quickly regenerate and hence reduce the risks of developing cancer.

 

Do you have any good news to share on this World Cancer Day? If so, let the Horyou Community know about it and spread a positive light!

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.

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