Advancing Equity, Inclusion and Youth Participation in the Green Economy.

Giving By Emily Larson October 25, 2021

On September 22nd, Western Union Foundation’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Roscoe, was invited to speak at a private roundtable hosted by our long time partners, Save the Children, as part of Concordia’s 11th Annual Summit. The goal of the conversation was to explore key considerations different stakeholders- including youth, different corporate sectors, and intergovernmental organizations and more- have on sustainably investing in green growth and providing inclusive opportunities for young people around the world.

It is expected that by 2030, over 60 million jobs in the green economy will be created, but firms are currently facing the dilemma of finding employees with the appropriate skills and technical expertise; at the same time, disadvantaged young people who are interested in engaging in this sector are unable to see a pathway to employment. Additionally, COVID-19 has decreased access to learning and career development for youth, with two-thirds of those being young women.

The Western Union Foundation has long been supporting young people with access to skills and career development. To date, we have granted $135M across 150 countries, enhancing immigration integration- through job skilling (technology in particular)- and responding to over 200 disasters caused by conflict and climate. Furthermore, Elizabeth Roscoe described that the Foundation has contributed to a more inclusive and welcoming infrastructure with a holistic approach, including connecting families, education and career readiness (approximately 10,000 people trained and skilled to succeed in the global 21st century economy, and 15 scholarships awarded to promising BIPOC students in need), and access to jobs.

“One of the big trends, we are seeing across all companies is a doubling down on purpose in the organization, on having a very clear environment, social, and government policy”, said Elizabeth.

Also present at the roundtable was the Aspen Institute, an institution focused on global youth employment. The Foundation is currently working with the Institute’s Global Opportunity Youth Network (GOYN), a new initiative catalyzing systems shifts for youth opportunity in communities around the world through the creation of sustainable training, employment and income-earning pathways. This partnership aims to improve quality of life for migrants and local female youth who are out of school, unemployed, or working in informal jobs.

With this and future conversations, we intend to uncover ways in which we can address the barriers that prevent youth from participating in the green economy.