Every time we decide to buy something, from vegetables to cars, we are making a choice that affects a long chain of production. We must make sure that these daily choices are sustainable if we want to build a better future.

Photo: UNDP

In Bangladesh, thousands of workers face the same daily struggle: sewing for 12 or more hours a day in clandestine factories, making only enough money to survive, while allowing for fast-fashion brands to sell their clothes for affordable prices. In Brazil, farmers use pesticides, putting profits before their workers and consumers health, and killing bees and birds without whom no healthy and natural environment is possible. Do we really want to continue to support a chain of exploitation and environmental damage?

SDG 12 is about sustainable consumption and production – and it has everything to do with our choices and priorities as individuals. However, it also needs the support of governments and international organizations to define norms and policies to ensure we build better business practices.

UNDP has raised the flag of soil, water and air pollution, and exposure to toxic chemicals challenges. Despite the many international agreements, only about half the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions that regulate disposal of waste, pesticides and organic pollutants have provided the data and information they had agreed to. Consumption and, consequently, waste, have been increasing in the last 15 years, feeding chains like modern slavery and causing health and social problems.

We can do better as a society! Apart from carefully choosing what we buy and where, we should show a preference for regional and seasonal products and brands that are committed to sustainable regulations. We should act like responsible citizens and put pressure on our governments and organizations to implement better policies that are bound to guarantee a fair production.

We can also support organizations that undertake serious work in sustainable agriculture, and subscribe to eco-conscious and fair trade conduct. On our Horyou platform, one of the most active organizations is Food and Agriculture Initiatives for Development (FAID NGO), which is committed to biodiversity and healthy agriculture, and aims to reach Zero Hunger in Benin, Africa. In Europe, Terre et Humanisme, a French NGO, also promotes agro-ecology to provide food autonomy to vulnerable communities and educate the public on safe and natural consumption.

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps promote sustainable consumption and production in your region or anywhere in the world. You can also show your support by participating in #HoryouLightChallenge! Be the change, be Horyou!

Horyou community is pleased to share an account of its major actions and events in 2017 while it is bracing for more in 2018!

Opening ceremony SIGEF 2017

The clock is ticking and it’s only a few hours before New Year’s Eve and our community is full of joy and excitement, both for the things it has fulfilled during the year that has just elapsed than for the ones it has got in store for 2018. We’ve lived so many things together, we’ve grown and learned from each other, we’ve made new friends and became stronger while welcoming new members and organizations! So, now is the time to remember and the time to look ahead!

Our ever-growing community is our first reason to rejoice! We have now broken the glass ceiling of 250,000 users and 1,500 organizations and attained a full global presence. Horyou is growing stronger in Asia, with a more effective presence in Japan, Philippines, Singapore and India. Yonathan Parienti, Horyou founder and CEO, has spent several months travelling through the region to share our community’s message of social good and to officially launch Spotlight, our global digital social currency for economic inclusion. This was achieved during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, in India to highlight the fact that «Horyou values were more than welcome and that Spotlight can make a difference for many projects, organizations and change makers, in Asia and all over the world», as he put it.

Horyou at the GES!

It is in that context of expanding our community and extending our activities in Asia that SIGEF, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, was organized by Horyou in Astana, Kazakhstan, during the EXPO 2017. A landmark really! Through its several panels, SIGEF fostered the debate on some of the most crucial subjects of interest of our time, including smart cities, future energy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Horyou also led an international and diverse delegation through EXPO 2017, focusing on the importance of clean and efficient energy globally.

And on the 18th of December, Horyou has launched the #HoryouLightChallenge, which aims to call everyone to join efforts in view of a swift and effective implementation of the SDGs. The concept of the challenge is to use social media to spread positivity, as well as social good actions and projects, and create a buzz around the many ways we can act to help the SDGs come true. The challenge is still on; click here to know more about it and have a chance to win an all-inclusive trip to SIGEF 2018 in Singapore next September.

Join the #HoryouLightChallenge!

 

Looking ahead, there is a lot more to come, all of which will be shared with you in the next few weeks. But one thing that you should be already saving the date is SIGEF 2018 will be held in Singapore, one of the most innovative and fast-growing cities in the world. Stay tuned.

Happy New Year!

Have you ever heard of ‘smart cities’? It’s a contemporary expression that designates good, effective urban planning which uses technology and creativity to solve perennial urban problems such as air pollution, traffic control and energy consumption. Forget flying cars – although they could play a role in future cities – and think about planning, data analysis and efficient use of resources.

Photo: UNDP

We are now almost 4 billion people living in cities, more than half the global population. And urbanization keeps growing – 1 billion more will move to or be born in cities in the next 12 years. It’s a logical trend. If living in cities would mean more access to jobs, healthcare services and quality education, then it would be a reasonable outcome that millions of people would prefer to live in urban areas. Yet, it’s not always the case. Many cities still provide poor public services and infrastructure and thus have to face such challenges as the proliferation of slums, or air pollution, or again inequality and violence. How to address the challenge? Innovation and sustainability are the key words to make the SDG 11 a reality.

The good news is that in 2017, 149 countries have been developing national-level urban planning programs, many of which are using available and inexpensive technologies. In the last 17 years, some things did change for the better. The proportion of urban population living in developing country slums fell from 39% in 2000 to 30% in 2014. More cities are supporting healthier lifestyles, calling people to use cleaner means of transportation. Others are implementing incentives to reuse and recycling waste, as well as running water saving campaigns. Still, management of waste and air pollution, for instance, are below World Health Organization acceptable levels.

Universities, governments and international organizations are working together to come up with ideas that tackle the many issues urbanization imposes. There is no panacea, as each community faces its own specific challenges and, ideally, the best solutions have to be worked out internally, best in cities that are hubs of innovation and diversity.

Horyou community is passionate about Smart Cities. Both SIGEF 2016 in Marrakesh and SIGEF 2017 in Astana panels covered extensively the topic and helped trigger important discussions about the future of transportation, energy and sustainable construction. SIGEF 2018, due to take place in Singapore, will, in turn, bring together experts, government officials and organizations to propose sustainable solutions and replicable ideas that are liable to make our cities better places to live. It’s Horyou’s commitment to a society that we aspire to build together!

If you want to be part of SIGEF 2018, read more about the #HoryouLightChallenge. You can choose the SDG11 or any other, promote your post on social media and win an all-inclusive trip to SIGEF in Singapore, in September 2018!

There are many faces to inequality, and just as many ways to deal with it

Photo: UNDP

A few days ago, an 11-year old was prohibited entry to a shopping mall, in the metropolitan area of São Paulo, Brazil. The security guards claimed he was too young to walk through the mall unaccompanied. The kid was startled as he pointed to other minors hanging out unbothered in that same mall – with no adults. The unspoken reasons, he and his mother later said, were his color of skin and the unsophisticated clothes he was wearing. For he, indeed, is poor, and does not fit into the mall’s ‘dress code’, that middle-class shopper sanctuary.

Income inequality has many faces. It may be a boy who is not wearing the right clothes, and it may be a woman who is not earning a man’s salary for the same position and job; all situations that reflect one of the biggest challenges of our times which is what the SDG number 10 addresses: how to build a more equal and fairer society among and within countries.

According to the UNDP, the poorest 10 percent earn only between 2 and 7 percent of total global income. And inequality is on the rise: in developing countries, it has increased by 11%, with consideration to population growth. Solutions are multidisciplinary – they require strong institutions, regulation of financial markets, development assistance and support on migration and mobility. There must be stronger policies for vulnerable groups like women, children, refugees and people with disabilities, as well as more funding of and support to NGOs whose work has a positive impact on reducing inequalities.

Many members of the Horyou community are tireless workers towards reaching this SDG. And speaking of people with disabilities, the Horyou platform hosts a very active member organization called Nos, Why Not? It is the first photo agency whose workers are photographers with intellectual disabilities. Based in Spain, it offers them visibility and promotes inclusion through training and providing them with work opportunities.

Another active member of the Horyou community is Serviço de Obras Sociais, a Brazilian NGO which seeks partnerships with the government and private sector to support vulnerable populations such as the homeless and migrants.

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps promote equality in your region or anywhere in the world. Your support can be made easier and more effective with Spotlight, our digital currency for impact. Check it out and start using it to engage in any cause you feel concerned about. Be the change, be Horyou!

Social Entrepreneurship Is Taking Over the Startup Ecosystem

Versión en Español a continuación

Family photo of Google Actívate Barcelona

I got to the University of Barcelona on Monday morning for the first day of my entrepreneurship training. I was already familiar with the model – a few months ago, I travelled to Bilbao to attend a digital marketing course, hosted by the local university and organized by Google Actívate, a training division of the technology giant in Spain which offers free courses to people interested in the startup and digital worlds. I was curious, though, about this one. How to train an entrepreneur in three days?

The 300 people in the auditorium were advised: don’t give up, you won’t regret it! Becoming an entrepreneur is tough, the Google ambassador says, but you have to deal with the turnarounds of the business world. OK, I got the message.

I was part of Group 22 (out of 29) of participants that mostly came from other countries, except for two Spanish girls (one of whom left for lunch and never came back). A mixed and international group with very different backgrounds, including a nurse, a musician, a designer, a DJ, a salesman, a student, a hospitality executive and me.

On the first assignment, we were all invited to tell the rest of us about our passions, what we think the world needs, and what are the trends for the future. And, over and above all this, decide which challenge we want to address over our 3 working days.

Then a surprise came.

Out of all 29 groups, only one decided not to take the social entrepreneurship path. As for the rest of our “colleagues” on that very first morning, they were all convinced that the issues the world faces and the trends for the future are all related to our passions, namely: healthy food, better relationships, smart cities, safe environment, gender equality. Which convinced me that there is a new generation of entrepreneurs, more interested in making the world a better place than on making blind profits.

The next two days took the path every training takes: lots of theory, some practical tasks, presentations, discussions. People trying to work together, pitching, business canvasing, and having beers after all this. Group work and personal growth. Motivational business cases, personal advices. I had to learn to change opinions many times, overcome my rusty Spanish and try to sell our idea to people in the streets. I heard I say ‘no’ too many times and this is not good for me, neither is it for the group. I had meaningful conversations with amazing people during lunch.

On the last day, everybody was excited to pitch their ideas to the other groups. ‘Google may buy it’, some hoped. ‘We’re taking this further’, many others planned. Most of them were deeply in love with their projects, passionate about the positive difference they can bring to their communities or to the planet. I for one, have to confess I was completely excited with ours – an app that can choose the fastest, cheapest or cleanest means of transportation for a given destination, according to your priorities. We might decide to take that one further.

I left an hour before the end of the training (yes, I broke the deal), feeling hopeful about us as a society. I felt that social entrepreneurship is taking over the startup world, which is the seed for a better business world. Young and old, Europeans and Latin Americans, executives and musicians, we’re all working for the social good. There’s hope.

Written by Vívian Soares

xxxxx

El Emprendimiento Social se está apoderando del ecosistema de las startups

En un Lunes frío, llegué a la Universidad de Barcelona para el primer día de mi formación de emprendimiento. Ya estaba familiarizada con el modelo: hace unos meses, viajé a Bilbao para asistir a un curso de marketing digital, organizado por la universidad local con Google Actívate, una división de capacitación del gigante tecnológico en España que ofrece cursos gratuitos a personas interesadas en los mundos digital y de las startups. Tenía curiosidad, sin embargo, sobre este. ¿Cómo entrenar a un emprendedor en tres días?

Se aconsejó a las 300 personas en el auditorio: ¡no desistas, no te arrepentirás! Convertirse en empresario es difícil, dice el embajador de Google, pero debe hacer frente a los cambios en el mundo de los negocios. Vale, recibí el mensaje.

Fui parte del Grupo 22 (de 29) de participantes que en su mayoría provenían de otros países, a excepción de dos españolas (una de las cuales se fue a almorzar y nunca regresó). Un grupo mixto e internacional con orígenes muy diferentes, que incluyen una enfermera, un músico, un diseñador, un DJ, un vendedor, un estudiante, una ejecutiva de hospitalidad y yo.

En la primera tarea, todos fuimos invitados a compartir nuestras pasiones, lo que creemos que el mundo necesita y cuáles son las tendencias para el futuro. Y, por encima de todo esto, teníamos que decidir qué desafío queremos abordar durante nuestros 3 días de trabajo.

Entonces, una sorpresa.

De los 29 grupos, solo uno decidió no tomar el camino del emprendimiento social. En cuanto al resto de nuestros “colegas” en la primera mañana, todos estaban convencidos de que los problemas que enfrenta el mundo y las tendencias para el futuro están relacionados con nuestras pasiones, a saber: alimentos saludables, mejores relaciones, ciudades inteligentes, medio ambiente, igualdad de género. Lo cual me convenció de que hay una nueva generación de empresarios, más interesados ​​en hacer del mundo un lugar mejor que en obtener beneficios a ciegas.

Los siguientes dos días tomaron el camino que toma cada capacitación: mucha teoría, algunas tareas prácticas, presentaciones, discusiones. Trabajamos juntos, lanzamos ideas, hicimos negocios y tomamos cervezas después de todo esto. Mucho trabajo en grupo y crecimiento personal. Escuchamos casos comerciales motivacionales y consejos personales. Tuve que aprender a cambiar de opinión muchas veces, superar mi verguenza de hablar un mal español e intentar vender nuestra idea a la gente en las calles. Escuché que digo ‘no’ muchas veces y esto no es bueno para mí, tampoco lo es para el grupo. Tuve conversaciones significativas con personas increíbles.

El último día, todos estaban emocionados de presentar sus ideas a los otros grupos. “Ojalá Google lo compre”, algunos esperaban. “Vamos llevar esto más allá”, muchos otros planearon. La mayoría de ellos estaban profundamente enamorados de sus proyectos, apasionados por la diferencia positiva que pueden aportar a sus comunidades o al planeta. Por mi parte, tengo que confesar que estaba emocionada con la nuestra, una aplicación que puede elegir el medio de transporte más rápido, más barato o más limpio para un destino determinado, de acuerdo con sus prioridades.

Me fui una hora antes del final de la capacitación (sí, rompí el trato), sintiéndome optimista sobre nosotros como sociedad. Sentí que el emprendimiento social se está apoderando del mundo de las startups, que es la semilla de un mundo empresarial mejor. Jóvenes y viejos, europeos y latinoamericanos, ejecutivas y músicos, todos trabajamos por el bien social. Hay esperanza.

Une organisation active sur notre plate-forme Horyou, l’ONG FAID – Food and Agriculture Initiatives for Development – travaille sur les projets agro-écologiques au Bénin dans l’espoir de promouvoir le dévéloppement durable en stimulant une agriculture équitable et une alimentation saine. Nous avons interviewé Vianio Kougblénou, secrétaire executif de l’ONG, qui nous a inspirés avec ses idées et projets pour l’environnement et l’éducation!

ONG Faid au Benin

Pouvez-vous nous raconter en quelques mots votre histoire et vos projets ?

Tout est parti d’un amour partagé entre personnes venant d’horizons divers pour une agriculture et une alimentation plus «saines et équitables», au regard des conséquences sanitaires graves et grandissantes de la production conventionnelle et des pertes et gaspillages alimentaires notoires, cause majeure de la famine. De Juin 2017 à ce jour, nous avons appuyé la création de trois jardins solaires et communautaires ; sensibilisé les élèves à ce que doit être l’agriculture à l’ère du changement climatique ; fait la production agro-écologique de semences de légumes menacées et en avons fait don aux écoles et aux maraîchers ; fait de la transformation de produits pour éviter leur gaspillage (fruit à pain, curcuma, tomates, farine de maïs sans amidon, jus de fruits bio…).

Quels sont les objectifs les plus importants de votre organisation ?

L’ONG FAID a pour mission principale la valorisation des filières agricoles et animales en passant par leur organisation, production et transformation en vue d’assurer la sécurité alimentaire et de lutter efficacement contre les pertes et gaspillages, source d’extrême pauvreté. Nous voulons encadrer les producteurs et les sensibiliser à la gestion optimale des ressources pour une agriculture et une alimentation «saines et équitables» ; motiver et piloter des initiatives, projets et activités axés sur la réduction des pertes et gaspillages alimentaires ; offrir une assistance nutritionnelle aux orphelins, aux handicapés et aux personnes fragilisées ; assainir l’environnement et valoriser la filière agricole et animale.

L’ONG FAID a le soutien et un partenariat avec Slow Food International

Quels sont vos projets pour 2018 ?

A l’ONG FAID, préserver de façon soutenable la biodiversité est notre passion! Pour relever ce défi majeur, en 2018, nous comptons développer et vulgariser l’agri-technologie «GléSika», une innovation qui permet de résoudre le problème de gestion optimale d’eau du côté de la pépinière. Autre projet, “One School = One agro-ecological Garden”, projet d’Éducation à l’Environnement et au Développement Durable (EEDD) lancé en 2017 avec le soutien financier de Slow Food International, suivi de dons de kits de démarrage ou de renforcement de jardins scolaire ou pédagogiques. Il y a aussi le projet-programme «Jardins des Pêches», visant à faire de Cotonou une ville durable en matière de productions végétales et animales. Démarré en phase pilote en 2017, nous y faisons déjà de la production organique de lapins et de volailles locales et de la production de semences des espèces végétales menacées.

Projet Jardin des Pêches

Voulez-vous laisser un message pour notre communauté Horyou ?

Les obstacles à la préservation de l’environnement sont institutionnels, financiers et politiques, et l’on sait comment les lever : il s’agit de développer et de promouvoir un partenariat mondial (Nord-Sud) pour la gestion de projets climato-compatibles. La transition écologique est avant tout une question d’attitude, une question spirituelle. Le Climat devra être considéré comme un bien commun, et gérer en tant que tel. “Ensemble œuvrons donc pour une production plus juste, plus sobre et plus respectueuse des écosystèmes”.

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