“Half the world’s population is under 30, but if we look at where laws and policies are made in our parliaments, only 2.6% of the world’s parliamentarians are under 30 – the average age of a world leader is currently 62 years old. »
This shows that young people are systematically and flagrantly excluded from decision-making processes around the world, despite their numbers, Wickramanayake said.
The campaign also recommends 12 changes that should be made over the next few years to ensure more young people are included in decision-making processes. These include lowering the voting age in some areas, implementing civic education programs for young people, and possibly introducing age and gender quotas in political parties.
Launching in 75 countries, “Be Seen, Be Heard” will be featured in 2,500 The Body Shop stores globally, according to the brand’s Global Director of Activism and Sustainability, Chris Davis.
“Young people have the potential to change the world, and we really need to listen to them,” Davis said.
“We believe that business can be a force for good, and we believe that our stores, our brand and our ability to market will complement the knowledge of the UN. Together we [are optimistic] that we can change policy and legislation, or hire a mechanic so that young people’s voices can be heard.
Davis was quick to add, however, that the campaign is not about calling on young people to take control of politics: instead, it is trying to bring change and inclusion to the political process.
According to Wickramanayake, as activism has become a buzzword in the industry, the UN wants companies to see the report as a way to change their business model, rather than a corporate social responsibility project.
“It is crucial that if we are to achieve our ambitious goals, [we need to work together]. Government can’t do it alone, young people can’t do it alone, business can’t do it alone,” Wickramanayake said.
“This can only happen through a broad coalition of all of us working together towards the same goal.”
As to why The Body Shop is getting involved in the campaign, Davis said this kind of work is in the company’s blood: it’s changed 24 laws around the world since the 1990s.
“We’ve always been a company that’s believed in our voice really making a difference, and The Body Shop brand is highly respected around the world,” Davis said.
“If the voices of young people are just screaming into the void with nowhere to go, no change will happen.
“If we can, through this campaign partnership, create that change and ensure that their voices have a place to land rather than just go into the void, that’s something we can be really proud of.”