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Empowering the Next Generation For a Sustainable Future

The Intergenerational Dialogue on “Sustainability Education,” hosted by JA Europe and EY, brought together key voices, including European Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius and Julie Linn Teigland, EY EMEIA Area Managing Partner and Global Leader – Women and Salvatore Nigro, CEO of JA Europe.

This engaging roundtable, moderated by Diana Filip, Deputy CEO of JA Europe, delved into crucial topics such as the This engaging roundtable, moderated by Diana Filip, Deputy CEO of JA Europe, delved into crucial topics such as the pivotal role of education, the impact of technology on skills, and the need for further public-private collaboration.

Commissioner Sinkevičius emphasized the unpredictability of challenges faced by the EU in recent years, highlighting the importance of the Green Deal, empowering consumers, and addressing pollution. In parallel, Julie Linn Teigland stressed the need to invest in the future of the young generation, focusing on resilience, innovation, and responsibility as essential skills: “One-third of the European population is below 30 years old. This is a powerful indicator that we need to invest in their future by fostering skills about resilience, innovation but also, most importantly, responsibility for a better and more even place to live in.”

The event also unveiled the Generational Sustainability Survey 2023, revealing that young people are dissatisfied with the current state of sustainability education, often turning to social media as their primary source. Encouragingly, both Gen Alphas and Z expressed a strong desire for change, with 82% and 76% respectively believing that education is fundamental for leading a sustainable life.

“The educational system plays a crucial role in facilitating behavioural change. Its responsibility lies in instilling skills through the curriculum,” summarised Salvatore Nigro, CEO of JA Europe.

To provide real-world context, two JA alumni, Victoria Angelova, and Charlotte Piessevaux shared their journeys in building essential skills for today’s workplace and creating sustainable start-ups. Their experiences underscored the importance of customer demand for sustainable choices and the effectiveness of various strategies within their industries.

The dialogue concluded with a unanimous agreement on the importance of collaboration among different stakeholders, with Commissioner Sinkevičius emphasizing the need for dialogues to ignite action.

“We should be aware that dialogues should always lead to action even if there are opposing opinions or contrasting ones. What has been agreed on, should be implemented by all,” concluded Virginijus Sinkevičius.

This event and the subsequent dialogue underscored the critical role of education in shaping sustainable mindsets and the necessity for collaborative efforts to drive meaningful change. As we move forward, it is imperative to heed the insights shared in this dialogue and work collectively to foster a more sustainable future for all.



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