Happy New Year!

By | Opinion Piece

Dear reader,

Happy New Year! The New Year provides an occasion to both reflect on the year gone by and look ahead for the year we have entered. I will take that opportunity as well and make a short status for the Sustainability Influencers. Let’s begin.

The first batch of Sustainability Influencers and their 2019

In 2019, the first batch from the Sustainability Influencers ended the programme. During their one-year involvement in the programme, the influencers amongst other guested the CBS Wire podcast sharing their view on the progress in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), took part in a business panel on youth engagement and sustainability at a Slotskredsmøde at Frederiksberg, and published our report on Students and Sustainability.

For the report on Students and Sustainability, we asked 696 university students across nine universi­ties in Denmark about their knowledge con­cerning the SDGs, their attitude towards sus­tainability in their study program, and their opinion about sustainability in future jobs. The report highlights that Sustainability is on the top agenda among Danish university stu­dents. Students demand more action and with the report, we emphasise the need for uni­versities, organisations, public administration and businesses to actively incorporate and take a stand towards a sustainable future. If you want to read the report, please click here.

2019 was also the year where we participated in the Global Goals World Cup, which is “an alternative football tournament that creates community, inspires and engages women from all over the world”. The tournament took place in front of Danish Architecture Centre and our team of influencers had blast together with the other participants.

Through the year, we hosted and spoke at events, were nominated for an award and meet a lot of eager, inspiring and great people. Thank you to all of you who have followed the journey, invited us, nominated us, or participated in our events through this first batch.

A new batch of Sustainability Influencers

In September 2019, the new batch of Sustainability Influencers were recruited. 17 university students from Copenhagen Business School, University of Copenhagen and University of Southern Denmark.

During the fall, we hosted our first workshop on the UN SDGs at Sankt Annæ Gymnasium, participated in the climate strike and spent time on developing new initiatives for 2020. 2020 marks the year of 10 years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the UN, “the goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, peace and justice, and are all interconnected. To leave no one behind, they must be achieved by 2030.” We could not agree more!!

For the Sustainability Influencers, 2020 will be the year where we launch our SDG Times. The SDG Times will be a biweekly article posting focusing on the youth perspective and a current challenge. With the series of articles, we aim to both inform students and readers about different initiatives and how they can help reach the SDGs as well as inspire you to take action to the extent possible for you. If you do not want to miss it, subscribe to our online channels and sit tight until we publish the first one on 28 January 2020. The first article will be written by James, who is a Graduate student in Climate Change at University of Copenhagen.

In 2020, we will also be hosting and participating in workshop and events and hopefully help raise awareness amongst youth as well as bring forward the youth perspective on the SDGs.

The best wishes for 2020 and a new decade!

We hope to see you around!

Author: Malene Mølgaard Christensen

Advocacy Team

Malene is part of the Advocacy team within the Sustainability Influencers. She is a Graduate student in Applied Economics and Finance at Copenhagen Business School but is currently based in New York where she is studying a semester at Columbia University.

Have you seen us in the media?

By | Communcation & Outreach

Here is a quick overview of our presence in the Danish media for November:

On 19 November, we were featured in the article ‘Iværksættere og unge i gang med Verdensmålene’ on CSR.dk. The article concerned our programme, the Danish entrepreneurial week, the need for young entrepreneurs and youth with an agenda. Read the full article here.

Our first influencer event

By | Activities & Events

Stories from Africa

This Monday, 26 November, we hosted our first event. The event was held to raise awareness about the UN Sustainable Development Goal no. 8: Decent Work. Two young people from Kenya and Tanzania shared their stories and how they work with issues such as proper working conditions. Moreover, they shared their take on opportunities for development and education in their own countries.
From the stories, we learned that half of the young students drop out of school before high school and that those who completed high school and longer educations are forced to work under poor conditions with a low income. Both of our speakers came from organizations that help youth with completing educations through mentorships. Furthermore, they collaborate with FIC to raise awareness about the challenges related to UN SDG no. 8.’
After the two presentations, we discussed SDG no. 8. Where a key question was whether working under poor conditions, is better than no work at all. This, amongst others, shows that businesses must take their responsibility seriously when they have extended supply chains with production or other facilities placed in developing countries.
This event was hosted in collaboration with the Forum for International Cooperation (FIC) and their partners from their East Africa program. FIC is a non-profit corporation that fights for social, economic and democratic rights for those with few resources. FIC is drawing attention to the positive impacts of access to decent work and information on employee rights (Global Goal 8).

The youth perspective

By | Communcation & Outreach

Speaking at the UN's 73rd birthday

On October 24, when Copenhagen Business School hosted the celebration of the UN’s 73rd birthday, the Sustainability Influencers, represented by Luna and Mikkel, gave an inspiring speech on the importance of bringing in youth when trying to solve the global challenges. Here are some of the key points from the speech.

Action for sustainability is strongly needed, and if not now – then when? And if not us, the young generation – then whom?

We aspire to help create a change – a change where we approach the challenges of today and tomorrow differently than we previously could have imagined. A change where students are mobilized and engaged to drive the change themselves, in each our their communities.

BUT, the fact is that our societies and our global economy are confronted with one of the greatest challenges that humanity has ever faced– how sustainable development can be obtained and achieved – and how sustainable development successfully can be implemented in all layers and in all corners of our society.

This challenge we face today is unprecedented – the steps ahead of us to transform our societies into economic, environmental and socially viable have to be taken now, which means that we will have to navigate and create a new path together as we move forward.

Because the ways we have been behaving and gone about our business – both in the literal and metaphorical sense – everything ranging from running businesses to organize our economy – has not been sustainable. This calls for rethinking how we want to structure our economy, run our businesses, public institutions and our society in general.

This is why we believe it is so critical that we dare to challenge the existing and unsustainable paradigm, which has prevailed for far too long, and that we dare to aspire to transform business-as-usual.

Climate change

Around the world, we are already witnessing climate change. This summer was the warmest summer that Europe has experienced in more than 100 years. We have seen how climate change affected farmers’ yield and we continuously witness cities so polluted that is causes health issues and impeding economic growth. Climate change and the over-extracting of our planet’s resources is a reality.

The 1st of August was marked as Earth Overshoot Day, that is the day when all of humanity has used more from nature than our planet can renew in an entire year. This year, 2018, it was the earliest overshoot day ever.

Challenging status quo

So how do we go from here? How do we take action and create a new path towards a more sustainable future? Action can be driven by all of us – political leaders, businesses, universities and us, the younger generation, the students. But if societies are to evolve, develop and foster sustainable growth, a youth movement is crucial. Preferring status quo over change is self-destructive and omitting the voice of the younger generations will result in a reduction of new and transformative ideas. A youth movement must take action and must be given a chance to act unconstrained by the old and narrow paradigm. We have to foster thoughts that will allow us to approach the world from entirely new angles.

The need for a youth movement

A youth movement to drive change is crucial. The positions currently held by the older generations will sooner or later be passed on to us, as a natural process. But the question will then be, how we will build on the existing structure and how will we challenge our linear economy and transform it into a green, circular and sustainable one.

As we begin to see climate change impacting our entire community, and there’s nowhere to escape, we begin to realize we’re part of that larger community and that everything is not a zero-sum game, with only a few winners. And so we’re getting our younger generations beginning to empathize with our fellow human beings and our fellow creatures in one biosphere. This is a hopeful narrative of the human race. This is the reason why we as the youth must stress the very importance of bringing communities to the front, and of ensuring partnerships across networks, sectors, and industries.


Partnerships should not only be built between sectors and industry as a critical mean to achieve the SDGs, it should be built between generations. When building such partnerships, we allow novel thoughts and learnings from the former generation to pass on to us, which we will refine, rebuild and rethink and this will be a crucial step to sustainable development.

We challenge you

We challenge you as students, professors, politicians, and businesses to take responsibility and engage with each other. We all have to really come together. We’ve got one generation —ours— to lay down the plans and execute them. It ours and your responsibility to carry this weight, a weight that no generations had in history. We don’t know of any period in history where one generation was called upon to save the human species. But we don’t have to shy away from the seemingly daunting task. Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done, but we believe that we can learn from each other, and begin to mobilize, engage and empower not only students but everyone to collaborate to find solutions to those shared challenges that we face today.

If you want to know more about the day, you can read all about it here.