One of the main novelties of this edition of SB Rio is the opportunity to allow the active participation of young people aged 18 to 24 years old – who were born in the millennium turn and participate, as consumers, customers and future professionals and researchers, transforming the companies´ business models. Through the Millennials Lab, 30 young people followed the conference discussions, studied in depth the issues and presented their perceptions at the closing plenary, whose theme is "How to Connect to the Needs of Society."
The initiative, included in the event´s official program, is the result of a partnership between Report Sustentabilidade – the Brazilian event´s organizer –, The Mob and Coca-Cola. The text read by the young group in the closing plenary proposed some practical moves to bring daily business practices closer to the new generations - like the ongoing consultation during business decisions and the establishment of a "Millennials' Day" - and established a critical analysis of the way discourse and practice are related in the corporate environment.
"Here, we can believe in you as people. But we still can not believe in the company you are representing. We are a generation that believes only by seeing. Beautiful stories do not convince us, because we know that the reality is not always like that. We ARE the reality. "- excerpt of the Millennials' Manifesto
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"While you were here, we were also.
The Millennials Lab, which happened during the last two days, was an experience that put young people from 18-24 years into a fully dynamic and interactive environment. We have been in workshops, listening to lectures, we have received people and we exchanged many ideas.
We learned a lot here and learned a lot from you.
We discovered that behind the companies you represent there are people. People aware of their responsibilities and roles, and also motivated to change the course of history and build a better, fairer and healthier world for you, for us and for generations to come.
By connecting with businesses, represented here by you, we felt closer. And from this interaction, we understand the purposes that each organization intends to take in the society in which we live.
And the main result of this connection is that we can feel that you are aware and seeking to mobilize in building better companies and with a clearer and fair view of SUSTAINABILITY.
Here, we can believe in you as people. But we still can not believe in the company you are representing. We are a generation that believes only by seeing. Beautiful stories do not convince us, because we know that the reality is not always like that. We ARE the reality.
The big question is when we think of sustainability is: why do we continue building a world we do not want and which we do not believe? The intention is very beautiful, but it´s not enough.
You came here to show your ideas on sustainability. This space could have been more than a great time of exposure of beautiful speeches, but also a place of rich exchanges and higher learning. Where are the mistakes? Where are the things that did not work? How can we grow together in an event like this?
We want less marketing, more truth and transparency.
In fact, it does not matter much who is the leader; what matters is leadership action.
We realize that you have recognized the importance of new - and better - values for the future of the organizations you represent. But we also realize that most of the time they are exposed only on paper and its is extremely difficult to put them into practice. A phrase we hear here at the event: it is necessary to make feel, more than to make sense.
Currently, you are responsible of making decisions and creating change within these organizations. More than that, you are responsible for the consequences of these decisions in society.
And we, as young people, are suffering the impacts and damage of all decisions already made. This arouses our commitment, our will to think of solutions and contribute to that run. These damages are already happening ... they won´t happen in five or ten years.
We understand the problem, and we want to be PART of the solution.
These values are you seeking to build, we already are born with them. They are part of us. So why not connect the points?
When we connect with you as human beings, we are equal. Here at Sustainable Brands, we felt heard and this exchange between equals happened. Our beliefs and our ideas were valued.
However, on our daily lives, we are not truly connected with organizations where you work. And I believe that you do not feel connected with youth, at least not as you would like, and, especially, need. That's what we felt here.
Why this simple channel does not exist?
Thinking about how we can approach, we had some ideas during this two-day meeting. Embryonic ideas, for sure, but they serve as a first step for this great change we are all seeking.
So we want to tell you one of them:
We propose the creation of policy of Millennials´ participation in companies.
Ok, but how would that be?
We thought of the "Millennials Treaty": a kind of pact, a commitment that companies would take to dialogue with the youth. It´d be like a stamp, based on the responsibility that the company gives room for the participation of Millennials, accepting their ideas, opinions, proposals. It means that this company values the youth as part of building solutions for the future.
Within this "participation policy", another idea we had was the institution of "Millennials Day".
We have heard about the "Meatless Monday". We think of something like "Thursday with Millennials" that undoubtedly will be the happier of the working day of the organizations.
Still within the policy, a third format would empower young people who are already working in the organization. The interns and trainees would be a bridge within the company with the young people who are outside the company.
These were some ideas we had for us as Millennials generation, to approach and connect with you and diminish the invisible barrier that seems to exist today. We would like to reinforce that these are embryonic ideas, developed from the feedback that you have provided us, and we are willing to collaborate in building new and practical ways to generate and develop business within the logic of a more sustainable world, a world we want.
As we said earlier, we learned a lot here with you and we hope that our contributions have repercussions out of here.
To facilitate this early connection, we created a Facebook group called "Millennials Lab - SB 2015", to be used initially as a platform for interaction and dialogue between us and you, as people that are responsible for your organizations.
We appreciate the opportunity to be here sharing these thoughts and ideas.
We hope this is just a start.”