‘Future leaders’ call for stronger voice in net zero transition
Global survey reveals only 28 percent of young people feel ‘heard at leadership level’ on sustainability
Global survey reveals only 28 percent of young people feel ‘heard at leadership level’...
A global survey of young business professionals has revealed a growing appetite among the next generation of leaders to take a more active involvement in the journey to net zero.
With COP28 just one week away, KPMG’s ‘Leaders 2050’ team interviewed 363 young people from 38 countries to take a snapshot of their interest in the climate summit and their appetite for positive action and change on issues including the climate crisis.
An overwhelming 95 percent of the respondents – aged between 18 and 24 – revealed they wanted to be more involved in organizations’ sustainability-related decision-making processes, while more than half (58 percent) said they had a high awareness of global sustainability challenges.
Despite 81 percent of respondents believing the private sector ‘plays a critical role’ or ‘should play a larger role’ in the COP28 process, strikingly fewer than a third of those questioned (28 percent) felt they were being heard at leadership level on net zero and sustainability.
The research was conducted by Leaders 2050 – KPMG’s professional network for future leaders in all sectors who have an interest in net zero, clean growth and sustainability, with a focus on diversity and inclusion. The network’s mission is to equip the next generation with the skills, networks and purpose needed to drive towards a more sustainable future.
It should come as no surprise that the next generation of leaders have told us they’re passionate about sustainability and climate change and want to take a more active role. Where the survey does offer some striking insight is on the active role young people are taking in current dialogue. The decisions that are taken today at summits like COP28 will need to be implemented over the next few decades. That means the young professionals starting their corporate journey today will almost certainly be the people who actually need to implement those changes agreed on right now. They’ll also be the generation most impacted by the changes to our planet.
I’m proud of initiatives like Leaders 2050, which gives young people like me and those from often under-represented regions of the world a seat at the table. It’s a positive step in the right direction. What we now need to see is even bolder actions to ensure that the voice of young people is not only heard, but actively integrated into sustainability strategy, before it’s too late.
Global Decarbonization Associate at KPMG International, and Global Chair of Leaders 2050
With leaders and delegates arriving in the United Arab Emirates in a matter of days for COP28, the Leaders 2050 network has developed four key action points for decision makers, based on the survey findings:
1.Define ‘just transition’ and clarify how this concept intersects with all other COP 28 themes, including finance, accountability, and energy. Integrate ‘just transition’ and social impact considerations into decarbonization commitments and pathways.
2.Prioritize collaboration, to work with competitors, communities, multilateral organizations, governments, and NGOs to accelerate climate action.
3.Engage young leaders in your climate and ESG work (including at COP 28), creating an environment where they can contribute to solutions.
4.Prioritize ESG skills development for future leaders in areas like renewable energy and storage, energy-efficiency, measurement and reporting, and circular, low-waste manufacturing and operations.
It’s absolutely crucial that we acknowledge and embrace the voice of the next generation on sustainability issues and the broader journey to net zero. The stark reality is that what we do today will directly impact the leaders of tomorrow. Young people are more engaged and have more insight than ever before on the big ESG themes. If we choose to shut them out of the decision-making progress, we’re simply adding to the challenges facing the planet in the future. I’m delighted that KPMG’s Leaders 2050 network is sending delegates to the UAE and these young leaders will be playing an important role representing our global organization. Let’s see more of that across the whole corporate and political world and make space for all voices for positive change.
Climate Change and Decarbonization Leader and Global Head of Renewable Energy at KPMG International
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