Skip to Content
Author's profile photo Christine Susanne Mueller

Sustainable Economic Growth Secures Social Stability Everywhere

17 weeks to Davos. 17 global goals to achieve a sustainable future. 17 blog posts exploring the UN’s vision for humankind. Here is number 8.

Global Goal #8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Addressing youth unemployment

In Europe, more than seven million youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years old are considered NEETs – not in education, employment, or training. In addition, there are another 4.4 million young adults that leave education and training early.

These young people are missing out on the opportunity to learn and acquire skills, knowledge, and competencies that they could use throughout their lives to participate more fully in a prosperous and inclusive society.

In an attempt to counteract these numbers, representatives from business, education, and youth organizations came together to launch “The Pact for Youth” at the recent 2020 Enterprise Summit in Brussels. The goal of this pact is to create a fair and equitable culture of partnership between business, education, and youth in Europe that will help prepare young people for quality jobs and responsible citizenship. The pact hopes to create an open job marketplace that will offer job opportunities for interested and flexible young Europeans. The pact also supports ubiquitous Internet access across Europe to enable mass open online courses (MOOCs). With free access to education, young professionals can prepare for job opportunities in both a classical economy as well as the digital one.

Creating advanced job opportunities everywhere

There is more IT technology can do. The digital economy is creating a greater demand for digital skills. The enabling technology is already available: 3.2 billion people – or 43% of world population – have Internet access. And 95% of the population has cell phone signal coverage. What is keeping Amira, who lives with her family in Indonesia, from working remotely as a Website designer or graphical presentation expert? The only thing she is missing is access to international buyers.

Upwork, an open global exchange platform for digital services and goods, closes this gap. Independent of their physical location, people can bid for smaller work projects such as a last-minute Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Or, based on their skills, people could bid on even larger Upwork projects, such as developing a Web site.

This approach is helping to level the enormous inequality in wages between emerging and developed countries. At the same time, it connects people anywhere – including many of today’s youth – to the global marketplace and offers enhanced opportunities for them to grow and prosper.

Combatting forced labor

Slavery was abolished centuries ago, yet it continues around the world. There are an estimated 30 million forced laborers in global supply chains today – from conflict minerals in the Congo and fishing in Thailand to migrant workers in the United States and North America. And many of these laborers are children.

These laborers are forced to work for little or no pay, and in some cases, under the threat of violence. The majority are exploited for manual economic labor in the private sector, under conditions they did not agree to, for someone else’s profit. Despite the widespread illegality of slavery, profit estimates from slavery are as high as $150 billion.

Fighting the criminal methods of slavery directly is very difficult. However, creating transparency of products produced through slavery enables consumers to make a conscious decision with everything they buy. For instance, Made in a Free World (MIAFW) is a non-profit organization founded in 2012 to combat human trafficking by enabling companies to eradicate forced labor in their connected and integrated supply chains.

MIAFW’s database maps the bill of materials of countless numbers of products and services right down to their raw materials and labor sources. Imagine connecting MIAFW’s data with the insights of historical and real-time intelligence from hundreds of global government, business, and other data sources in a global sourcing and procurement network. Based on such combined information, companies could make conscious decisions about their suppliers, eliminating products made with slave labor throughout their entire supply chain.

SAP is doing its part…

At SAP, our vision and purpose is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. Our technology is helping organizations like MIAFW to tackle the challenges of modern day slavery in supply chains. For instance, Ariba, an SAP company, is teaming up with MIAFW to leverage its powerful community of more than 2 million companies. These organizations, which drive nearly $1 trillion in commerce on an annual basis, will in future be able to identify businesses that use slave labor in their supply chains.

We also promote the education of youth as part of our social initiatives. For instance,, the Cape Town Science Centre, the Galway Education Centre, and SAP joined together to launch Africa Code Week. The objective of this initiative is to empower future generations with the coding tools and skills they need to thrive in the 21st century digital workforce and further Africa’s economic development. Initially the program, offered in English and French, hoped to enable an estimated 20,000 children from 11 countries across the continent to participate in software coding workshops. However, more than 88,000 children were trained through more than 3,000 on-site workshops and MOOCs.

This blog was originally published by Will Ritzrau and myself here. To learn more about the Global Goals, and to view previous blogs in this series, visit:

Assigned Tags

      Be the first to leave a comment
      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.