One Young World is a UK-based non-profit organisation that brings together young leaders from around the world to develop solutions to the world’s most pressing problems at annual summits held in different cities, where delegates from charities, non-governmental organisations, corporations, and universities are accompanied by world leaders acting as advisors. This tenth edition, held in London, was attended by 2,000 young leaders from more than 190 countries around the world.
Three Luker Chocolate collaborators represented the company to build alliances and identify opportunities for visibility for The Chocolate Dream, our sustainability movement. What we learned was far greater than we could ever have imagined. Only at the inauguration ceremony and on the first day did we have an indication of the power we were about to witness throughout the week of the event:
The delegates from South Korea and North Korea held hands and joined their flags, a gesture, although small, made them stronger and blurred in the eyes of many people, the nationalities that divide them. In a forum called, “An interfaith discussion, oneness of humanity”, we saw the leaders of different world religions shouting in unison, “Yes, we are one”.
But why did we go? At Luker Chocolate, all our collaborators are moved by the same purpose: to make the world a better place through chocolate. So, is there a more wonderful way to make an impact than being able to connect with people who believe in what we do? Connecting with people who have our same vision, with companies that share our same values and philosophy was, without a doubt, the best retribution of this experience, because it is by uniting that we can build a better world for everyone, what the planet needs right now is for us to generate collective strength and replicate it.
During the week of the event many topics were discussed, all of which point to the Sustainable Development Goals: slavery in our era, freedom of the press, the future of education, poverty alleviation, and how to build peace in such a polarised world, among others. These themes were addressed through moving, powerful and inspiring stories told by young people who, despite having gone through incredibly difficult situations, had the courage to build from their ashes and to share their experience with the world. Panellists included GeumHyok Kim, a North Korean press freedom activist, Muhammad Yunus, the father of social entrepreneurship, and Paul Polman, the founder of Imagine, a collective that uses business to achieve our global goals.
Two issues were considered the most urgent and critical: climate change and inequality. Even during the closing ceremony, more than two thousand attendees declared a climate emergency. But what to do in the face of humanity’s greatest intergenerational crime? Talking now and not waiting for someone else to motivate and impel us to reach a higher level of awareness; connecting more with nature, because if we don’t know what nature is, we are not going to look after it; understanding that plants, animals and humans are interconnected and that if one fails, we all fall; taking care of what we inherited from past generations, providing for the future generations, and being aware that we are not above the environment, that we are part of it.
And that’s where we young people come in, with so many tools at our disposal, are the ones who have the most power to solve such urgent problems. We young people are more innovative, we are more connected, we have hope and solutions to create the future we want but it is not enough. As Bob Geldof said in his speech, “There is power in this room, there is genius, what we need is action”. We need to act, talk more, share the numbers and facts of science, make people aware of the urgency of today’s problems and join movements because we can be brave alone, but there is more power in collective courage. We must change our way of life, the way we eat, the way we consume, eliminate single-use plastics, participate in politics, change the way we transport ourselves and, most importantly, make smart consumer decisions: let’s buy from the companies that do good, because businesses, sometimes as powerful as states, have an enormous responsibility to drive transformative change.
“No one is too small to make a difference”, Greta Thunberg.