This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Daniela Runchi, President of JADE
Climate change is today one of the the hot topics not only for the institutions but also for the civil society and the youth: according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal”, and must be taken into consideration by the world’s leaders.
In Europe, the focus on the fight to climate change has been put on reducing the emissions of CO2, considered to be responsible of 64% of the man-generated global warming. Also at global level the attention is high: in December 2015 the COP21, or 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will take place, with the aim of reaching a global agreement on climate change. Such agreement is deemed to be binding, marking a step forward the objective to keep global warming below 2°C, the threshold indicated by climate scientists above which the consequences of climate change on the planet would become even more severe.
On its side, the European Commission has inserted climate change among its priorities, with a GD dedicated to working on climate change and on how to address it at European level: the target is set at reducing greenhouse emissions of 20% by 2020 (compared with 1990 levels), and of 40% by 2030; positively, according to the last report published in October by the European Environment Agency – “Trend and Projections” – the European countries are in the direction of being able to fulfil the established targets.
At the same time, the youth is more and more involved in the issue: the Commission has dedicated a section on its page on Climate Change to initiatives open to the youth to gather their opinions and to engage young people in acting to fight climate change, with publications and games for the younger members of society. Also, the Master of Science programs in Europe focusing on Climate Change are growing in number every year and are now almost 150, signalling a raising interest form both the academia and the students.
The Junior Enterprise movement is also engaged in the issue: as young university students who work every day to put in practice what they learn in class to get more skills and experience to face the labour market, the Junior Entrepreneurs become each day more aware of the issues that are relevant in the society, training not only to become better professionals but also better citizens.
In this regards, some initiatives can be mentioned: in 2015 JADE – the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises – decided to put a focus on social responsibility by introducing a new Excellence Awards among the recognitions granted every year to the best Junior Enterprises in the movement. The “Most Social Responsible Project” was in fact launched in spring, to award the project, among those carried out in the network of 300 Junior Enterprises in Europe, that shpwed the most the social commitment of its members, including a specific attention put in the protection of the environment. The award is planned to be replicated in 2016, to keep promoting socially responsible activities among the Junior Enterprises and to showcase in fro not the entire network the value of such projects.
In addition, the Junior Enterprises themselves carry out projects focusing on the environment, to help companies to reduce their environmental impact, including CO2 emissions: for instance, the Junior Enterprise JE hepia, belonging to the Swiss confederation of Junior Enterprises JADE Switzerland, has an entire business area dedicated to environmental projects, to support companies, among the rest, in assessing their energetic needs and moving towards renewable energy sources.
Other JEs also work on environmentally responsible projects: JEME form Milan, a member of JADE Italia, worked in 2014 on a project with a company which produces board games aimed at making children understand important issues such as, for instance, energy saving and climate change.
As the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises, we are positive that our Junior Enterprises will continue to play their part in fostering a responsible approach to climate change, with the ultimate goal to create a better environment for tomorrow.
About the writer
Ms. Daniela Runchi is JADE President– European Confederation of Junior Enterprises – for 2016, and Head of Department in Strategy Management, Private Cooperation, International Relations and Internal Management, taking care of the relationship with corporate partners and with the affiliated Confederations of JEs around the world. Daniela Runchi is graduating at Bocconi University (Milan, Italy) from a Master of Science in Economic and Social Sciences. In the Junior Enterprises since 2012, she has been working in her JE as Network Manager, Secretary General and eventually as President in 2013. At national level, she was Secretary General and President in 2014-2015. In the corporate field, she has been a Project Manager for a Startup dealing with accessible tourism and for a design company in Italy; afterwards, she moved in China, where she worked for a multinational in the fashion field, and for an international corporation in the cosmetics industry.