Sustainability is on everybody’s mind these days. But who is responsible for making it happen? And do we need even more communication and better collaborations to create real change?
One of the world’s most active climate activists Greta Thunberg is not alone to care about the environment in her home country. 95 per cent of Swedes think that sustainability is important and 72 per cent would like a more sustainable lifestyle than they have today, according to a survey made by Insight Intelligence.
But still – 77 per cent of the respondents find the issue complicated. Is this a sign that we need to improve the information about sustainability? And by the way, who is the most responsible for changes in our society these days?
Well, the respondents in the Insight Intelligence survey see the government as responsible for the development of a more sustainable society. But there might be an interesting shift coming up!
More and more people seem to turn to companies and brands for guidance about tackling society’s challenges, instead of setting their trust to the public sector or to politicians.
The rise of social entrepreneurship
According to another recent survey, made by Reach for Change, 23 per cent of the Swedes have more confidence in companies than they have for politicians when it comes to societal development. An interesting figure compared with the 13 percent who still have more confidence in politicians.
Sofia Breitholtz is CEO at Reach for Change, an international non-profit organisation, founded by Kinnevik Group and social activist Sara Damberg.
Since 2010, Reach for Change has been empowering social entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions that can create a better world for children and youth, by building global networks and using cross-sector solutions.
With great power comes great responsibility
Breitholtz finds the change in confidence as a sign that people generally no longer trust only one sector to solve the many challenges faced by society. She points out that companies have important assets that can be key to real change. With business comes muscles, so to speak.
‘The challenges we face today are so urgent and complex, from climate changes to the need of integration, that it’s no longer enough to leave the responsibility to the public sector or to a non-profit organisation. The business sector has resources, insights and innovations, which can be part of the big solution’, says Breitholtz.
But when people start seeing companies and brands as role models, there’s naturally a bigger responsibility coming up for the business sector. So, how can companies live up to the expectations?
Making a real difference
The best way to find solutions, according to Breitholtz, is to network and to set up strategic partnerships. This approach is key to Reach for Change, and the main message in the Global Sustainable Development Goal No. 17.
Besides putting knowledge from different sectors together, Breitholtz also strongly believes communication is a key factor for power and change.
‘Communication always plays a big role when it comes to change. Two examples of major powerful global movements that have grown by spreading messages in social media are Greta Thunberg’s Fridaysforfuture campaign and the Metoo movement. They are both proof that “ordinary people” have important power’, declares Breitholtz.
Over to you
Do you also want to help create change? One way is to start spreading good examples about how your company works with sustainability. Another is to build strategic partnerships. For inspiration and insights, register for the upcoming sustainability seminar in Stockholm. You can learn more and sign up here.