At Deloitte, we’re committed to helping find solutions to some of the greatest challenges that impact our planet and society through our WorldImpact initiatives—including WorldClass and WorldClimate. Deloitte aims to inspire our people to lead in their communities and help keep our planet healthy for generations to come. One of the ways we’re doing this is by supporting and elevating the voices of our young leaders.
Deloitte’s collaboration with One Young World (OYW) develops young professionals into future leaders who can solve the world's toughest challenges. Bringing together over 2,000 young leaders from more than 190+ countries, the annual summit focuses on empowering young leaders to build a sustainable future. The 2022 OYW Summit, held in Manchester, UK, was one of the most exciting yet. We sent 71 young leaders from 40 countries to hear from their peers and take part in panels, networking, and workshops.
We proudly introduce three OYW ambassadors from around the globe: Kei Saito, Julia Ivehammar, and Hope Davidson. These bright minds share their thoughts on what they learnt at OYW, climate change and sustainability, and how we can transform our lifestyles to help create better futures for all.
Hope Davidson, Senior Consultant Monitor, Deloitte UK; Julia Ivehammar, Senior Consultant, Deloitte Sweden; Kei Saito, Senior Consultant Monitor, Deloitte Japan.
1. How is climate change affecting you?
Kei: As a sustainability strategy consultant advising leading Japanese companies in various industries, I have the opportunity to address climate change through my work. With immense pressure for the companies to decarbonize, I’m often present when C-suites and executives have challenging discussions about decarbonizing their businesses. These are difficult conversations and require a huge change to the way companies operate, unlock value, and prioritize decisions, but I’m grateful to have such a valuable opportunity to contribute to this transformation and to help them move towards more sustainable business models.
Julia: The most concrete and visible effects of climate change that affect me are the many extreme and unreliable weather events we’re seeing around the globe on a seemingly weekly basis. Other countries are experiencing this worse than in Sweden where I live, but we are all affected. For example, the intense heat waves and flooding we’ve had across Europe this year. And, sadly, it looks like this will be more common in the future.
With that in mind, climate change impacts my daily choices, actions, and priorities. I always try to keep in mind how I can live a more sustainable life and be kinder to our planet.
While climate change can be a concern about our shared future, I try to keep a positive mindset about it, focusing on what I can control. I truly believe that if we all make small changes and do our part, we can change the narrative and limit the effects of the climate catastrophe.
Hope: From a personal perspective, climate change causes a great deal of anxiety for me as a young person looking towards the future. However, attending One Young World earlier this year filled me with optimism—hearing inspiring young leaders from around the world talk about the actions they are taking to combat climate change at a local and global level. I truly believe that the resilience of young people around the world, combined with the passion for driving positive change will help enable us to find creative solutions to the climate challenges we face.
Professionally, I am part of Deloitte UK’s Net-Zero Transformation team. This team focuses on helping clients develop robust strategies that enable them to thrive in a net-zero future. In this role, I work with clients as they navigate the complexities and uncertainties of climate change while balancing the wider economic and social challenges. It is by no means an easy task, but despite this, I remain optimistic that creativity and innovation will can help us build a better future for all.
“I feel like I’m making an impact that matters when I motivate others and act as a driving force to achieve their goals.”
– Kei Saito
2. What is the role of young leaders in pushing for businesses to address climate change?
Kei: Young leaders need to be at the forefront of challenging norms, behaviours, and strategies. They need to take charge in collaborating with peers inside—and outside—their companies to ensure decarbonization is a key conversation topic. At OYW, we were lucky enough to hear from many social entrepreneurs who took to the stage to pitch their ideas or share the conversations, collaborations, and initiatives that they’ve led.
But something that struck me is that for those of us working in global organizations—it can be hard to turn ideas on climate change into action. It’s easy to feel that individual actions have limited impact, which can quickly be demotivating.
I feel lucky that my team in Deloitte Japan encourages us to spend 10% of working hours on initiatives of our interest, and also hosts internal collaborative sessions to share sustainability trends and cutting-edge initiatives. In addition, Deloitte encourages young leaders, like myself and my OYW peers, to share our initiatives with colleagues in other business areas or other Deloitte offices to enhance collaboration. More organizations should make space for young leaders’ voices to be heard and to facilitate their efforts to drive decarbonisation initiatives. It’s imperative that the young leaders of today help build and grow the future of tomorrow.
“I feel like I’m making an impact that matters when I’m collaborating with my colleagues to find solutions to the most challenging problems our society faces—even if they are just small steps in the right direction.”
- Julia Ivehammar
3. How can people take action, no matter how small or large, to combat climate change?
Julia: One single person can’t do everything, but everyone can do something. Remember that every action has an impact, and every conscious choice can make a difference. To start, stay informed and educate yourself on how your daily life and actions impact the climate. Learn the effects of your different choices around food, travel, investments, and purchases.
Secondly, turn your intentions into tangible actions. This is something that we discussed a lot during the OYW Summit: how important it is to not only “talk the talk” about global issues, but to “walk the walk”. We do not have to change everything overnight, but everyone can change their habits and expectations.
For example, avoid food waste, buy local and in-season food, and eat more of a plant-based diet. Make recycling, reusing, and reducing a daily habit; and review your investments. Could you move your pension to a green-backed one instead?
Finally, think about how you can influence your peers or your company’s policies and actions related to sustainability. In Deloitte Sweden, I’m leading an internal climate champion initiative where we aspire towards a more sustainable life, home, and workplace. If your workplace does not have one already—start one! You can influence your colleagues, your clients, your friends, and family—the impact is bigger than just you.
“I feel like I’m making an impact that matters when I’m collaborating with my colleagues to find solutions to the most challenging problems our society faces – even if they are just small steps in the right direction.”
- Hope Davidson
4. From a sustainability point of view, what is your vision for the world in 10 years’ time?
Hope: Honestly, it might sound a little strange, but I hope that I’m out of a job… or at least the work my team does(which is focused on helping clients navigate the strategic challenges posed by climate change) is no longer required. Ultimately, I hope that sustainability becomes so embedded in everything we do that it doesn’t require separate specialist teams—that it becomes second nature to everyone. Thus, my vision for the future of my work is one where social and environmental impact is discussed hand-in-hand with economic growth. In this world, ‘value’ is considered in broader terms beyond profit, to cover people and the planet too.
Secondly, I hope that young and diverse voices are more consistently at the table making strategic decisions. At the moment, future generations remain on the fringes of key decision making in both corporations and governments. Youth climate activists are starting to change this, but I hope by 2030, young people are always at the table when making decisions that affect our future.
Stay tuned for more insights from our OYW ambassadors on our WorldClass initiatives, as well as the power of businesses to drive impact.