un foundation

World Government Summit in Dubai
World Government Summit in Dubai

From the 8th to the 10th of February, leaders from Government, industry and social enterprise gathered together in the gulf of Dubai. It was an interesting setting from more than one aspect.

The city was not so long ago a baron desert, it has literally been built from dreams of what could be and is now home to hundreds of industries and some of the most spectacular feats of engineering and architecture on the planet. One couldn’t think of a more suitable backdrop, considering the agenda of what was to be discussed at the World Government Summit.

It began with a very matter-of-fact address from CEO of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab who, referring to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, stated that “the future is here” and that it is time to mobilize and capture the opportunity that it brings.

The Forth Industrial Revolution covers a multitude of different paradigms, but the narrative of this event was one based firmly on Horyou values: sustainable business.

We have been part of a world up to now that has revolved around the principles of a money making market system whereby lives are sustained on the basis of trade, whether you are trading beans as a farmer in remote Africa or multi-millions in a global hedge fund.

Schwab
Klaus Schwab, Director of World Economic Forum addressing the audience

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, principles have changed, from global industry down to citizen level.

We are now slowly adapting a more conscious way of living across the board. We are conscious of our impact on the environment, conscious that our patterns of consumption are keeping laborers working like machines and conscious that the payoffs that we deem important are driving policy decisions that feed inequality.

The need to address this balance of cause and effect regarding capitalism was highlighted. Former Prime Minister of France Dominique De Villepin stated that “We need to remember that business exists to enhance society, not create a division among have and have nots”. Alluded to his time in Government where he created a network in France to connect businesses with students and policy makers, he made his position clear on the importance of people connecting for social good.

This was echoed by World Bank president Jim Yong Kim who affirmed that “we all have a stake and the creativity and innovation of youth are our greatest strength.”

cathy
Cathy Kalvin, President of the UN Foundation

Then came a passionate speech by President and CEO of the UN Foundation Cathy Kalvin. The UN Foundation and Horyou are aligned on development goals and how to get there. They also share a special connection after spending two days contributing to discussions at Earth to Paris in December. Cathy made a plea for us to harness the potential of a purpose driven society serving the citizens of tomorrow. “We must place a special emphasis on youth. Moving from poverty to prosperity depends on us realizing what they have to offer,” she declared.

It was a stage where we realised the negative impact of our past behaviours, but also a place where real opportunities were highlighted.

Overall, the ethos and real need for Horyou as a platform for social good was reinforced. The success of the Sustainable Development Goals is multifaceted but connecting good hearts and minds is the starting point.

Written by Dearbhla Gavin

Steve Sedgwick, Anchor of CNBC moderating the panel at Davos.
Steve Sedgwick, Anchor of CNBC moderating the panel at Davos.

The Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris in December was an unambiguous success, this was the narrative of the “New Climate for Doing Business” panel discussion at the 2016 World Economic Forum of Davos. The panel – made up of representatives from the UN, industry and politics reflected the fact that there is now a global awareness and furthermore a global agreement to radically change our behaviour and reduce our carbon footprint on the earth.

“Success” has been achieved on committing to this mission, however, how this success materialises depends on the action from here on.

One of the main sticking points of COP 21 was the reduction of carbon emissions by every country. Carbon is extremely harmful to the environment but embedded in everything that we do, in all of our processes and so unsurprisingly, it is industries that emit the greatest concentration into our atmosphere.

This is why the support of industry will be so crucial to the success story. Businesses from primary to manufacturing, right up to the services sector are realizing that being more environmentally conscious will attract consumers in the short term and pay dividends in the longer term.

Carl Douglas McMilllon, CEO and President of Walmart
Carl Douglas McMilllon, CEO and President of Walmart.

Walmart Inc, the multi-million dollar department store is leading the charge. During the panel discussion, their CEO Douglas McMillon said that “Walmart want to eventually be powered by renewables and reach its 0% waste target.” This is a huge statement and, whether they reach this target or not, actively pursuing these goals will not only reduce their negative impact on the environment but also send a message to America Inc of what they need to prioritize.

There has been a lot of debate about where fossil fuel companies lie in this. CNBC Anchor Steve Sedgewick, chair of the panel alluded to the fact that they have a major stake because they pay big tax bills to Governments on the earnings that they make from selling oil. However, if a profit driven giant with such a global influence like Walmart realises that the future of returns are green, then there is every chance that other companies will follow suit.

Developing countries were also central to the discussion. Opinion is divided but UN Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres made the point that yes these countries are not as resourced as their developed neighbours but they hold the greatest opportunities on account of their increasing connectivity and labor force. Alluding to notions of winners and losers she said that “this is not a partisan politics debate, it is win-win-win for individuals, industries and entire societies.”

I would have to agree and it’s hard not to be optimistic about the potential of what can be achieved now that we have collective commitment to the cause by every stakeholder.

We have international agreement, national plans of action, support of industry and civil society. It won’t be a clear road and there will be hurdles, but dealing with dilemmas is natural to humankind. The better you are reconciled to deal with them, the more likely you are to overcome and I think we are in a pretty good place to get over any obstacles we meet on the path.

Written by Dearbhla Gavin

screening_Horyou
screening_Horyou

This week in France, Social Good Week took place and was dedicated to the numerous and diverse digital-solution-driven initiatives that positively affect societies – a full week to discover the initiatives revolving social media and solidarity. And of course, Horyou, the Social Network for Social Good, was a part of it!

For this event, we organized, at our Parisian office, a screening of four documentaries featuring member Organizations of our social network from Cameroon, the United-States, Morocco and France to present to the public. Have you ever heard about the Green Bronx Machine and its urban farming project? Did you know about Sans_A and its work with “bringing visibility to homeless people” initiatives? Well, don’t worry! You can discover these great organizations online, on Horyou and Youtube.

We were happy to see that many people were in attendance. We were even happier to know that around 30 events were organized in France and more than 260 worldwide. These events highlighted the growing role of the digital world and promoted the celebration of social good. The next day, our team was invited to the French presidential palace, as a Social Good Week partner, to discuss the role of innovators, organizations and startup companies, interested in bringing social progress and sustainability to societies. Among them, American economist Jeremy Rifkin spoke about his view on the digital technology revolution. He stressed that it is creating a sharing economy where every citizen has the power to do good.

Palais de l'Elysée
]6 Palais de l’Elysée

We also had the pleasure to listen to a speech by Aaron Sherinian, VP of communications and public relations at the U.N. Foundation, one of our media partners for SIGEF 2014. He said: “Technology is a tool that will help people to do good on a daily basis, reshaping philanthropy and creating a new world of engagement.” Well said, Mr. Sherinian! We fully agree with you, and this is why Horyou strives to bring visibility to the citizens of the world who decide to act at the service of their community. Because, as Mr Sherinian said, “challenges are great, but opportunities are greater!” And speaking of opportunities, French President François Hollande officially announced the launch of an international summit dedicated to Social Good 2.0 (“web social et solidaire”). Pretty exciting, isn’t it?


And when we have a look at all the projects Horyou’s users are realizing, we are more convinced than ever that Horyou, as a facilitator, has an important role to play in this positive human evolution.

To know more about our screening event, check the article on the Social Good Week website (in French).

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