Initiatives

Student Energy

What is it?

Student Energy empowers the next generation of energy leaders to transition the world to a sustainable energy future.  The organization does this by providing resources and knowledge to young people while simultaneously creating space for them to act in the energy system.

How did it start?

While in university, I secured a part-time job in the energy​ sector and became fascinated by the challenges facing the industry - namely, the quickly growing demand for energy in a world that desperately needs to decarbonize. Together with a group of committed friends and peers, I led the planning of the first-ever international gathering of young people passionate about energy in 2008.  From there the idea took root and began to grow.  In 2012, three co-founders (Janice, Sean, and myself) officially incorporated Student Energy in order to continue holding the biennial gatherings and to build a suite of programs dedicated to tackling energy issues.  Today the organization has over 30 staff, a $2M+ annual budget, and engages tens of thousands of young people every year in building an inclusive, clean energy system.

studentenergy.org 

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SDG Lab & Geneva 2030 Ecosystem

What is it?

An innovation lab located within the UN Geneva and a network of hundreds of professionals committed to accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The SDG Lab promotes and fosters integrated, collaborative, and innovative approaches within the Geneva 2030 Ecosystem.

How did it start?

In 2016, just after the 2030 Agenda came into effect, communities all over the world were grappling with how they would deliver the extremely ambitious 17 SDGs. There was a particular opportunity to make a difference in Geneva, where hundreds of NGOs and international organizations are domiciled. Under the leadership of IISD, I was brought to Geneva to build a stronger ecosystem approach that would fight back against silos and encourage cross-discipline and sector collaboration.  Not long into my pursuit, we partnered with the UN Geneva in our endeavor.  They had identified the need for an innovation lab within their walls and felt that our ecosystem work would be complementary. Myself and the Director of the Lab (Nadia) worked for the next several years to establish a niche, DNA, and strategy for the Lab and Ecosystem. The Geneva 2030 Ecosystem now has 400+ members from over 200 organizations and the SDG Lab is the go-to SDG resource in Geneva, known for incubating creative solutions by leveraging the unique expertise present in the ecosystem.

sdglab.ch 

geneva2030.org

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Building Bridges

What is it?

A multistakeholder collaboration between the finance industry, the United Nations, NGOs, governments and academics with an objective of creating a financial system aligned with the needs of the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

How did it start?

Part of our work at the SDG Lab (see above) was understanding the key barriers to achieving the SDGs, and no barrier was more cited by governments, NGOs, and other implementing entities than finance.  It is clear that aid alone will not be sufficient to achieve the 2030 Agenda, private capital will be required and markets will need to align with sustainability principles.  Switzerland with its world-class financial centre and global multilateral hub felt like a natural place to tackle this issue.  In 2018, we convened a group of leaders from both communities to see how we could bring about solutions and in October 2019 Building Bridges was born.  Practically Building Bridges is a conference and event week but it goes far beyond this, it is an ongoing movement of actors committed to collaborating, innovating, and creating unique solutions that can redirect mainstream capital flows to the SDGs. 

buildingbridges.org

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Hippy in a Suit

What is it?

A YouTube channel that explains and explores sustainability and aims to make to make sustainability accessible and interesting.

How did it start?

Like many individuals during COVID ​lockdowns, I watched a lot of Youtube.  I began to notice a distinct gap in the content that was available - there was very little on sustainability at a global level.  Yes, there were videos about how individuals could live more sustainability but nothing about the system-wide transformations that are required.  This inspired me to create Hippy in a Suit - a Youtube channel and blog and breaks down sustainability topics and educates the masses on their importance.  The channel has been growing steadily since its launch in February 2021 with viewers all over the world.

 

hippyinasuit.org 

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