Visitors could create and hang their wishes for Danish companies on the SDG Tree at DI's tent at the Youth Democracy Festival last week.

12-09-19 DI Business News

Youth at democracy festival: “Companies must take the lead to achieve SDGs”

Companies must take the lead when it comes to achieving the UN’s SDGs, said student Jeppe at the Confederation of Danish Industry’s tent at the Youth Democracy Festival last week.

The sun finally breaks through Thursday’s clouds over Valbyparken. Nonetheless, the Confederation of Danish Industry’s tent at the Youth Democracy Festival 2019 quickly fills up.

Here, 30 upper secondary school students have come together for an hour-long workshop to solve four of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals: quality education, gender equality, climate action and partnerships for the goals.

At the table solving the gender equality SDG, the conversation quickly turns to the representation of women in the media.

“We’ve talked a lot about the media’s sexualisation of women - especially in advertisements, where scantily dressed women are still a common sight,” says Emilie, one of the workshop participants.

See also: Youth at democracy festival: “Companies must take the lead to achieve SDGs”

I believe that the cultural development of companies rubs off on the development of society at large. They must take the lead. Jeppe, high school student

Goal 5: Gender equality

She explains that among the gender equality team’s proposals is global legislation on gender quotas in leadership positions, both in the public sector and in companies.

“In addition, we think it’s important to teach people about gender roles and norms from an early age. This could be in nursery school or kindergarten,” she says.

When asked about the role that companies play, one student, Jeppe, says that he believes it is largely companies that set the agenda.

“I believe that the cultural development of companies rubs off on the development of society at large. They must take the lead,” he says.

See also: Egyptian director: I want to bring Danish employee trust home

Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

Idalina is sitting at the table that has drawn SDG number 17, partnerships for the goals - and here, global solutions are very much in focus.

“We propose a worldwide trade embargo making it more difficult for companies and nations to harm the environment in general,” she says.

While the team solving the world’s climate change problems quickly jots down 15 different ideas, it isn’t only climate that concerns the young people.

Also fake news comes up.

“We want to establish a global fact bank that makes it possible to distinguish between fake news and facts, no matter where you are in the world,” explains Idalina.

At the end of the workshop, the table with the best ideas is selected. The gender equality team comes in first, praised for solutions that are both globally oriented and encompass gender equality issues affecting all genders.

See also: DuPont stops all development that doesn’t serve SDGs

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