The Next Generation of Corporate Sustainability: How Can Business Engage and Collaborate with Youth?

The Next Generation of Corporate Sustainability

We know that our future depends on resilient and thriving societies, and this starts with young people. A growing number of global companies recognize the importance of engaging youth as customers, employees, and innovators in support of these companies’ sustainability goals.

On Wednesday, June 5th on the sidelines of the Sustainable Brands conference in downtown Detroit, Hilton and Making Cents International co-hosted a roundtable with fellow business leaders and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Businesses in attendance gained a first look at emerging insights from research by Making Cents International on how global companies can engage youth in support of their sustainability goals. Representatives from USAID shared information about how companies can partner with the Agency’s new Global Youth Wellbeing Partnership (GYWP).

Emerging Research on Youth Engagement across Global Company Supply Chains

Making Cents International is committed to promoting economic opportunities for people around the world. In recognition of the critical role the private sector plays in global development and in creating opportunities for youth, we are developing research on current trends in youth engagement across global company supply chains. The goal of the research is to offer insights into how private industry engages young people as employees and vendors, including key challenges and opportunities for engagement. The research will also identify comparative models and strategies currently implemented by businesses across their supply chains.

The initial insights from the research tell us that global companies do recognize youth as a critical demographic priority for investment, but they are still searching for new tools and strategies to effectively engage young people as part of their sustainability efforts. We share here some of the feedback we’ve been getting from these companies so far:

“We are going beyond targeting youth as employees only, and asking ourselves: how can we engage youth as part of our overall sustainability strategy?”

“Age diversity in the workplace is becoming increasingly important”.

“Spray-and-pray philanthropy does not work. We are thinking beyond cash, and how to leverage our assets when engaging with youth.”

“How can we partner with other companies to create meaningful career pathways for youth?”

“We have proof that our programs with youth build morale among all our employees.”

Through our research, we hope to offer the private sector and the youth development community a stronger understanding of how youth economic opportunity and business sustainability go hand-in-hand.

About USAID’s Global Youth Wellbeing Partnership (GYWP)

USAID’s new Global Youth Wellbeing Partnership (GYWP) seeks to increase support by global businesses for young people’s wellbeing by offering companies a new framework for engagement. The partnership recognizes the important role that business and youth both play in building healthy, prosperous, stable communities and countries. GYWP aligns with young people’s role as new workers, entrepreneurs in the supply chain, and consumers, and it follows the eight areas of wellbeing identified in the Global Youth Wellbeing Index – Education, Economic Opportunity, Citizen Participation and Leadership, Health and Wellbeing, Natural Resource Conservation, Gender Equality, Safety and Security, and Information & Communication Technology. Corporate partners are asked to make an increased commitment to improving global youth wellbeing in their operations by 2030 through one or more of these areas of youth wellbeing. At the recent Hilton and Making Cents International Detroit roundtable, Michael McCabe, USAID’s Agency Youth Coordinator, shared with businesses in attendance what makes the initiative unique and offered specific insights for how companies can engage with USAID to support their corporate sustainability goals.

Learn More

To learn more about our ongoing research with global companies and how you can participate, please contact Sarah Sladen, Director,Youth Economic Opportunities Network at Making Cents International at: