Sustainable Development Goals as Safeguard for a Future

As partner of the United Nations with the highest advisory status for young people, we, as JCI, naturally embrace the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, also referred to as the Global Goals), also in the Netherlands. The SDG are more important than ever, in my opinion, for becoming future-proof. Or more negatively: that there will even be a future. Although for most people the goals may seem too far away, too vague and too numerous (17), and I imagine it will be a difficult road to achieving them by 2030, we must get to work. There is a tremendous necessity!

Certainly, at a time when shareholder value seems more important than the state of our world tomorrow, the short term is more important than the long term and contradictions abound. It is time for another way of collaborating. Because of technological and other developments, systems such as education, healthcare, politics and government have broken down completely. It doesn’t work anymore. I don’t understand, for example, how you can have healthcare ‘run out’ or that you can have no access to education if you have no money. The foundations of a sustainable society are, to my mind, not in order.

Foto Ruud Tuithof

As an association of young, entrepreneurial people, we have the important task of changing that, to secure our future and that of future generations. It is not a choice; it is a necessity. Our generation must pick up the gauntlet.

Luckily, there is hope on the horizon, and increasing numbers of (young) people are seeing that we must change if we want to have a future. All these challenges do bring new opportunities. Technology also allows people to connect on a global scale and share information quickly. These factors create enormous chances for networks, like JCI, to solve the big problems, to contribute sustainable value to society, and to assist the business community in developing sustainable business models. This calls for an open way of thinking and collaborating in order to reorganize ourselves. It begins with model behavior, and Bob Hutten’s The Waste Factory (De Verspillingsfabriek) is a good example of this.

I am proud that we, at JCI, can organize hundreds of projects every year throughout the Netherlands that make an important contribution to that. Topics such as poverty, employment opportunity, loneliness, refugee integration, personal development, social entrepreneurship; this is what we are doing on a grand scale. With, as this year’s ultimate highlight, our World Congress here in the Netherlands where Kofi Annan will be speaking to us about leadership in the 21st century.

Let our network be that example of another – different – way of doing things!
All the fantastic projects from JCI and the organizations around us can be found in this unique magazine.

Happy reading!

Ruud Tuithof
President of JCI Netherlands 2017