Young Professionals Program
A SDG leadership journey that rewires your thinking, transforms your mindset and creates positive impact!
“I am honoured to carry the mission of the UN Global Compact forward in its efforts to mobilize businesses through its Ten Principles and in support of the Sustainable Development Goals”
“It is abundantly clear that a much deeper, faster and more ambitious response is needed to unleash the social and economic transformation needed to achieve our 2030 goals”
140+ young professionals from these organizations already participated
UN Global Compact Network Netherlands proudly presents the Young Professionals Program (YPP). This program is based on action-learning. It is specifically designed for future leaders that are eager to:
✓ Embark on an exciting SDG-journey and step out of their comfort zone
✓ Be part of a mixed team of young professionals that makes a difference
✓ Transform from an individual contributor to a high-performing team player
✓ Discover how to unlock game-changing potential in themselves and others
DISTINCTIVE SDG LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
During a period of 12 months, you are working and learning in a multidisciplinary team of 10 to 12 young talented professionals coming from different organizations to work on three key learning objectives :
- Understanding what the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are about and together with your team deliver an impactful and innovative SDG project.
- Building and sustaining an effective multidisciplinary and cross-company team, getting insights in team building, team roles, team performance and team dynamics, understanding your own role within and contribution to the team.
- Developing leadership skills that will contribute to become an inspiring, sensitive, innovative, effective and responsible business leader.
Have a look at the testimonials of some of the former participants
Have a look at the testimonials of some of the former participants
DEVELOPING ESSENTIAL LEADERSHIP SKILLS
The YPP is a smart and effective concept that stimulates the development of a unique set of core leadership skills. The top 10 soft skills participants are empowered to work on are:
- Strategic, analytical thinking and (social) innovation
- Collaboration, team building and team dynamics
- Creativity, originality and initiative
- Reasoning, problem solving and ideation
- Listening skills, judgement and decision making
- Effective communication and dealing with feedback
- Persuasion and result driven project management
- Adaptability, cognitive flexibility and self reflection
- Emotional intelligence
- Leadership and social influence
The YPP is primarily designed to target high-performing young talent at organizations participating in the UN Global Compact. The program is also open for top talent from non-member public and private organizations. However, there are only limited spaces for organizations that are not a member of UN Global Compact.
Are eager to join? Don’t hesitate and apply now. We are seeking for young professionals who are:
- Aged between 25-35
- Based in the Netherlands
- Have at least 3 years of professional working experience
- Have the commitment and permission to invest at least 1 working day each month (indication is 12 to 15 days)
- Are highly motivated and have a genuine interest in sustainability, the SDGs, innovation and teamwork
Jan van den Herik
Executive Team Coach and Program Director
Senior Program Manager
My ambition is to help create a world where companies are more focused on creating impact than profit.
As Senior Program Manager, I support our UN Global Compact participants in setting and achieving more ambitious targets around human rights and gender equality.
You can reach me via firstname.lastname@example.org or +31 6 23100071.
SDG PROJECTS & DELIVERABLES OF DIFFERENT YPP TEAMS:
Team 1 (2017-2018)
One of the two first YPP-teams that participated in the pilot phase of the YPP focused their project on SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.
The team made a deep dive on the issue of Food Waste. Each year, an estimated one third of all food produced – equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes worth around $1 trillion – ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers, or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices.
Their final deliverable was an impactful Global Waste Dinner to raise awareness around this important issue. The event took place at the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam. With inspiring speakers like Ron Simpson of the Avocado Show and Maurits Groen van Kipster and a dinner made of food waste served on signs of Amsterdam rejected trees. And in collaboration with BrightVibes the YPP-team created online content to further increase awareness!”
Team 2 (2017-2018)
In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for a safer, cleaner and more prosperous world by 2030. The second YPP-team that kicked off in 2017 decided to generate greater awareness about the SDG agenda and get everyone involved. The YPP-team created a board game that has been developed for companies throughout the world, to be played by managers and employees in all positions at all levels. To learn about the SDGs in a light-hearted and competitive way.
The YPP-team was responsible for content development and for the game dynamics in close collaboration with the company ‘Identity Games International BV’. The YPP-team tested the first versions of the SDG Game with stakeholder groups (nationally and internationally) and learned how to improve the SDG Game with the feedback given by these stakeholders. The SDG Game was finally produced by Identity Games International BV and financed by Global Compact Network Netherlands.
Team 3 (2018-2019)
Within the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest sustainability initiative, businesses and their stakeholders join forces with the United Nations to create a world that is more sustainable and socially equitable. In this enormous global network of private and public organizations millions of young professionals are active. But how involved are these highly talented future leaders with UN Global Compact, the Ten Principles and the SDGs? And how could the involvement of the upcoming leaders with the SDG agenda be further stimulated and activated?
The YPP-team that started their leadership journey in 2018 did thorough research and discovered that there is a huge potential to engage and involve the next generation of leaders actively. The YPP-team developed a vison document to set-up a global movement of young professionals under the flag and umbrella of UN Global Compact. At the international Local Networks meetings of UN Global Compact in Dubrovnik and in Copenhagen they presented their plan to create a global SDG Young Leaders Network. The first step forward is that UN Global Compact created and launched the SDG Young Innovators Programme in 2019. And in 2020 a SDG Young Leaders Board was formed and formally installed within the governance structure of Global Compact Network Netherlands.
Team 4 (2019-2020)
The last YPP-team that participated in the pilot phase of the YPP focused their project on the SDG Ambition. SDG Ambition is an accelerator initiative that aims to challenge and support participating companies of the UN Global Compact in setting ambitious corporate targets and accelerating integration of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into core business management. The need for SDG Ambition today is clear. The world is not delivering progress towards the SDGs at the pace and scale needed.
The YPP-team decided in the second phase of their learning journey to organize an inspiring virtual event for young professionals. An event from young professionals for young professionals, with the slogan: ‘Get Involved, Get Inspired, Take Action!’ The aim of the event was to help and inspire young professionals to draw up their personal SDG Ambition. The YPP-team wanted to enable young professionals like themselves to learn more about the SDGs, understand how they can contribute best to the goal of their choice, hence translate their ambition into daily work and projects, involving their colleagues and management.
Team 5 – Listen Up (2020-2021)
The Listen Up team is going to deliver an inspiring Podcast. Listen Up is a short podcast series about making great choices for a better future. How can we as individuals all make a little bit of a difference in our daily lives to contribute to a healthy, fair and sustainable planet? We are all consumers and we can make choices in our household, in the supermarkets and shops, online, in the way we travel to work or are going on holiday, how we use energy, produce waste or try to reduce our individual footprint. Listen Up is trying to find answers.
Although most people want to make fair choices and contribute to a better and sustainable world, it is not easy. Not easy at all. Making great choices for a sustainable future seems to go along with dilemmas. As individuals we are often confronted with the dilemma for example between the citizen and the consumer. As a citizen you are convinced that sustainability is the right way forward. But as a consumer you seem to make total different choices. Choices that are not in line with what the citizen in you is convinced about.
So you often have to make difficult choices as consumer, as professional, as family member. In these defining moments it shows if you really want to change something or that you will stick to your traditional lifestyle and choices. So if you want to make a difference, really go for individual change than be inspired and Listen Up!
Team 6 – Tiny Forest (2020-2021)
This team of young professionals has set out on a mission to address climate change, biodiversity and the heating issue in urban areas in a tangible way. Partnering with Netherlands-based organisation for nature education, IVN, the team has the goal of planting a Tiny Forest this year, and applying learnings from that experience to collaborate with IVN and develop a corporate strategy: Tiny Forest for Business. To inspire Dutch companies to become a partner and join the Tiny Forest for business movement.
The Tiny Forest concept was initially developed by Shubhendu Sharma (TED Talk: Tiny Forest), and was then adopted by IVN, with the first Tiny Forest being planted in the Netherlands in 2015. Tiny Forests are densely packed native forests, about the size of a tennis court, and can deliver significant benefits to the surrounding community and environment. They boost biodiversity, increase CO₂ uptake, improve local water management, and regulate temperatures. And they’re good for people. As well as giving people the chance to be closer to nature, there are also numerous health and educational benefits.
Check back here later this year to see our results!
Team 7 – Green Gurus (2020-2021)
YPP team 7 aims to activate consumers to contribute to SDG #12: Responsible Consumption and to SDG #13: Climate Action. Our problem statement points out the gap between perception and the actual practice of sustainable consumption; people -generally- know about irresponsible consumption patterns and their impact on climate, but lack practice in acting sustainably.
As the team we want to achieve this by implementing a project which incentivizes the participants to act in line with this perception through a 100k Actions Challenge. The purpose of this challenge is to empower consumers to be the most sustainable version of their self and measure all the impact participants of the challenge make. In order to realize this, the AWorld app is used. This app will guide consumers towards living sustainably every day through taking actions. Examples of actions are eating a plant-based meal or taking a 5-minute shower. Through participation, participants get the opportunity to learn about the SDG’s, receive tips and tricks on living a sustainable lifestyle, and join a community of like-minded people. Together, we aim for 100k actions.
Our team consist of young professionals from seven different companies, including Albert Heijn, Shell and Rabobank, which gives us a strong network to collaborate with and implement in our project.
Team 8 – Top Gear (2020-2021)
In 2020, Global Compact facilitated a study on current best practices in stakeholder engagement. The result of this study was a report and model on stakeholder inclusion as an accelerator for the SDGs. Stakeholder engagement can help to accelerate the SDGs and allow better alignment of a company’s long-term strategies with social goals.
The goal of the study was to provide a useful tool and new handholds for companies to increase their role in the world and use stakeholder engagement to achieve the SDGs. The model is divided into 6 aspects of engagement, with four gears per aspect to denote the level of engagement a company has reached. These gears extend from the legal minimum (lowest gear, gear 1) to stewardship, partnerships and impact motivation (highest gear, gear 4).
As team Top Gear, we aim to add to this study and model by studying the model and researching how companies in Global Compact NL view stakeholder engagement through interviews. We want to spread the knowledge of this model and make it usable for companies in Global Compact, so that they can use it to map their own stakeholder engagement and have handholds on how to move up in the gears. By embedding stakeholders’ legitimate interests into their decision-making processes, companies can create long term value and contribute to all the SDGs. Read more about the workshop they created.
Team 9 – Life Below Water (2021-2022)
The ocean covers 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. It contains about 1.35 billion cubic kilometers of water, which is about 97 percent of all the water on Earth. The ocean makes all life on Earth possible. At the same time, our oceans are under immense pressure from human activity. Megatrends such as overfishing, plastic pollution, and ocean warming now threaten all life in our oceans, which could lead to the collapse of the ecosystem as a whole. Despite its significance, only a fraction of philanthropic funding goes towards ocean conservation. And for donors who do provide funding through traditional channels and organizations to projects, there is often a lack of transparency and measurable impact. YPP and underwater photographer Vincent Kneefel have joined forces to increase the volume, speed, efficiency, and transparency of funding flowing to ocean impact projects.
TheOcean.org works to accelerate the transition to a blue economy and to build a future where ocean health regenerates. TheOcean.org provides donors and business partners the opportunity to purchase block-chain-enabled credits to offset their footprint. We do this by building an end-to-end, blockchain-enabled, platform that enables private and company donors to get insight into where their funding is going and what impact it has achieved. TheOcean.org then uses the funds to fund impactful projects with a wide ecosystem of partners around the world. The entire process is verified by third-party auditors. To ensure full accountability, transparency, and traceability, all credits and offsets are registered in TheOcean.org’s public blockchain ledger.
As part of the YPP team’s assignment, they created a strategy/pitch deck to attract funding for the development of the platform. Click here to view the deck
Team 10 – Class B-est (2022-2023)
At the beginning of 2022, YPP team 10 came together and decided to contribute towards SDG 12.3.
More specifically SDG 12.3 which by 2030 seeks to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.
Team Class B-est (referring to the “class B” food that is now wasted) found out through their research that a significant percentage of food is being wasted at production level both in the Netherlands and globally. One of the main reasons was that this “class B” food could not be sold to supermarkets. This food is then wasted or used for purposes other than human consumption. The goal was set to reduce the percentage of this food waste and help foundations or the less fortunate in the process.
During the year, the team realized that the project was too ambitious for a one year program and swiftly changed actions while keeping in mind the original goal of the project. This decision came after engaging with experts, ranging from farmers to policy makers and supermarkets to academia, which uncovered some of the complexities around food loss.
Team B-est therefore decided to host two interactive round table discussions, bringing together key stakeholders to discuss the challenges and (collaborative) opportunities to reduce food loss. The first discussion was for producers of (open land) produce, and the second for the customer of these producers. The findings from the virtual roundtables served as input for a report, which was presented during a physical event to the Food and Agriculture Ministry (NL) and other key stakeholders. The event, which attracted over 100 participants, provided a platform for experts to discuss viable solutions, meeting our goal to end the event with participants committing to making a step forward to reducing overproduction and the loss of class B produce.
The YPP is designed to engage your organization’s brightest and best talent. In this advanced leadership journey young professionals are challenged on sustainability, teamwork and responsible leadership. Continuous guidance will be offered by a professional team coach.
Good for you
- Learn about UN Global Compact, the Ten Principles and the SDGs.
- Get involved in UN Global Compact Network Netherlands. Have access to a large network of experts, businesses, NGOs, governments and other local networks of UN Global Compact on a global scale.
- Dare to challenge yourself to work in a multidisciplinary and cross-company team and gain insights in your own contribution and that of other team members to the team’s success.
- Get guidance from a senior Executive Team Coach with extensive business experience (e.g. Corporate Governance, Sustainability and Strategy & Innovation) that will also help the team to reflect on team dynamics and team performance.
- Add value to society by accelerating the realization of the SDGs by delivering an impactful project.
- Become member of the ‘SDG Young Leaders Network’ UN Global Compact Network Netherlands
Good for your organization
- Development of essential teamwork and leadership skills will strengthen and empower responsible leadership within your organization.
- Participants become agents of change. They will support the acceleration and integration of the SDGs and the commitment to sustainability in your business.
- Strengthen your branding as an employer of choice for top talent.
- Participants will receive after completion of the program an official certificate.
€2.950 ex. VAT
Is the fee for participants from members of UN Global Compact
€4.950 ex. VAT
Is the fee for participants from non-members of UN Global Compact
2 November 2023
Part 1 dates: 6 November 09:30-16:30 at Malietoren
Part 2 dates: 28 November 09:30-16:30 at Malietoren
*The financial investment (participants fee) is non-refundable when you have been selected and officially admitted to the YPP.
If a team consists of only Dutch speaking participants the main language of the program will be Dutch.
“Young leaders have something to say! And the program of UN Global Compact allowed us young professionals to contribute in a concrete way on the SDGs in only one year, which has proven challenging but most rewarding. To be part of a group of like-minded individuals who came together and made a real impact supported my growth as a leader with strong values. I would do it all over again! ”
Remeha / BDR Thermea
As part of the first team after the COVID-19 crisis, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with 10 enthusiastic professionals from different sectors during the Young Professional Program. This group of talented individuals were different on many levels but came together on one important subject; Wanting to leave this world better than we have found it.
The program gave me great insight in the SDG targets not only at my own employer, but also at other employers and Europe in general. Although sometimes a bumpy ride, the program has taught me how to work together as a team better and what needs to be done to reach a desired goal. My personal highlight? Presenting the final report of our YPP journey on stage at Rabobank Headquarters with a fully booked room.
“Being part of the Young Professionals Program has been an inspiring, challenging and at the same time highly rewarding journey. I look back at a successful year during which I learned a lot about the SDGs and the UN agenda for 2030, while meeting many professionals with different backgrounds and personalities but with a unique common passion for making the world a better place to live. I am proud of the impact we achieved thanks to our project on food waste, and even more proud to acknowledge that this journey will continue as we will become stronger ambassadors for a more sustainable future within our personal and professional lives and network.”
“I have been honored to be part of the Young Professional Program of UN Global Compact Netherlands. This program has helped me grow both personally and professionally, as I joined a team of inspiring professionals from different companies and backgrounds with one common goal: to make a difference in the world for a more sustainable future. Starting as 10 ambitious individuals to evolving into a team where everyone is appreciated for who they truly are as well as where their voice and contribution matter has been at the core of this program, making it a valuable experience to be part of, in the journey to becoming a transformational leader who leads change!”
“Being part of the Young Professionals Program was a great experience and something I would do again in a heartbeat. This is the decade of action and being able to contribute to the Sustainability Development Goals was inspiring. Despite the challenges of COVID our group was able to deliver an exciting event to inspire other Young Professionals to take action. Next to that, being part of a very driven group helped me to grow personally and professionally. I would recommend the Young Professional Program to everyone.“
“The Young Professionals Program made me really deep dive into the Sustainable Development Goals. I’ve learnt so much about the SDGs and about myself, while as well expanding my sustainability network. I feel so driven and motivated to seek the achievement of the SDGs, as a result of being part of the Program. I wouldn’t know what I was missing if I wouldn’t have joined the YPP. I feel hopeful that in this decade of action, all the young professionals participating on the YPP are going to feel as inspired as I am to make it happen!”
“The journey we started together as a team within the YPP of Global Compact Network Netherlands was a bumpy and exciting ride. It was an enjoyable experience to work with other young professionals from various Dutch companies and from a large variety of working disciplines. This made the internal discussions much more interesting and fruitful. I was amazed with the end result in which hundreds of youngsters around the globe, from South-America to Asia and from Africa to Europe, spent time together in an online event to inspire and to get inspired on the subject of the SDGs. If you have the opportunity, I would highly advice to participate in any future programs starting.”
“During my YPP-journey I have closely worked together with a diverse group of young professionals from different organizations. The team existed of young talented people with a wide range of professional backgrounds, coming from a variety of cultures and companies. Although we differed, we all had the same passion and ambition: to make the world a little better and to positively contribute to the SDGs. If you share the same ambition and passion it is rather easy to create a bond, to get in touch with each other and to work as a team on a common goal. Not only did I learn about the SDGs and sustainable development, but I also learned a lot of team dynamics and of my fellow team members. I trust that we inspired many young professionals with our SDG Ambition event and that this hopefully will result in dedicated action to make the world a little better!”
“The program gives you an excellent opportunity to learn about the SDGs and work together in a self steering team of like-minded people without any vertical hierarchy. As a group, we managed to organize an inspiring digital event called SDG Ambition For Young Professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our aim was to help and inspire young professionals to draw up their personal SDG Ambition. We wanted to enable young professionals like us to learn more about the SDGs, understand how they can contribute best to the goal of their choice and translate their ambition into daily work and projects, involving their colleagues and management. Over 700 young professionals subscribed for the event. I would like to thank GCNL and our team coach for this valuable experience and will bring lessons learned back to my company as my own SDG ambition.”
Felicitas van Alphen
“Joining the Young Professionals Program of UN Global Compact Netherlands was such a valuable experience. I thoroughly enjoyed taking a deep dive into and taking action on the SDGs, and being inspired by young professionals from other organizations. I would recommend the program to anyone interested in learning more about the SDGs, playing a role in furthering these goals, and developing collaborative and personal leadership skills. Truly a great opportunity!”
“The young professional program was a first and very inspiring introduction to the SDGs for me. The program gives you the opportunity to learn about SDGs, to collaborate with and learn from very enthusiastic peers and to work on great initiatives that contribute to the sustainable development goals. A great way to act! To inspire yourself, your teammates and the people around you. I would like to thank Global Compact Network Netherlands for this wonderful opportunity.”
“Just as the best way to learn the nuances of real leadership is to get out of your comfort zone and learn to collaborate with professionals from other companies, where you exert no vertical authority, real sustainability is about harnessing people’s ambition and drive towards a win-win situation for business and the environment we operate in, human and environmental. These two values are uniquely connected by one thing: your capacity to understand and inspire the people around you to do good for themselves and the world. If you aspire to become a transformational leader and make a positive impact, the YPP will take you one step further in that direction“
“During the Young Professionals Program I closely collaborated with a group of “colleagues” with the same mindset and ambition but with other backgrounds. It was really valuable and fun to work with professionals from various companies and cultures. I have learned a lot from my team members and the team process. And of course it was amazing to see a few hundred of young professionals attending our online event in which we made the SDGs more accessible for them.”
“In 2017 I joined the first Young Professional Program of Global Compact Netherlands. Together with a group of 20 other enthusiastic young professionals from different (multi)national organizations we were asked to create more awareness around the SDGs. It was a very nice experience in which I was able to work closely together with like-minded professionals from other organizations on a sustainability topic close to my heart. It was an insightful project in which I was able to expand my network and share and gain knowledge on the SDGs.”
Nanne van der Leer
“The Young Professional Program of Global Compact Network brought me broad knowledge about the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals, a network of special people and a very nice experience at the Global Waste Diner that we organized in cooperation with HEINEKEN. With inspiring speakers like Ron Simpson of the Avocado Show and Maurits Groen van Kipster and a dinner made of food waste served on signs of Amsterdam rejected trees.”
“For me, the Young Professionals Program has opened an endless international network of fellow professionals with a heart for sustainability. Many of them have become good friends. On this stage I have been able to represent the Dutch business community and my own company, in order to share our unique experience in this field with others. This is exactly what I hope to see in the upcoming Young Leaders Network that we have created, and what now finds fertile ground within the UN Global Compact in 11 countries!”
Remona van der Zon
“I’d recommend all young professionals to be part of this valuable movement to accelerate achievement of the SDGs. Participating in the YPP was an inspiring, educational, challenging and fun experience, and moreover, it was amazing to see our group evolving into a close team of ambitious people striving towards the same ideals of a sustainable society!“
“The YPP is a unique opportunity to work (and learn!) with people from different backgrounds & industries, that share the same passion to work for a more sustainable & fair planet. I look forward seeing the Global YPP take shape and contributing for the SDGs. It was a refreshing external perspective that helped me grow as a professional and as a person.”
“YYP is a great programme for creating action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with other young professionals. As we working for different companies, we can discuss subjects concerning the SDGs from several perspectives. It’s inspiring to see everyone grow and feel more and more excited about the actual results we achieved during the programme.”
“During the Global Compact program, I worked with young professionals from other inspiring companies on the SDGs of the United Nations. SDG 12 Responsible Consumption & Production had our focus, by organizing a Food Waste dinner and in collaboration with BrightVibes to create online content to increase awareness!”
“Big dreams start small. Great action often starts with young and ambitious people. For the sake of a better life and a better world, for our own generation and for the prosperity of future generations, we have to take action now. We, the young professionals, no matter where we are from and no matter who we are, can never stop being the advocates for diversity, respect, equality, and sustainability. We are the SDG activists who believe that empowerment of the community, rather than charity, is the key to sustainability. The YPP empowers young leaders who encourage their peers, engage and motivate them to grow, and become a source of inspiration!”
“As a young professional and creative mind in my company, my team and I always felt our potentials as daring but highly trained minds are not reached when it comes to having an actual positive impact on our world. But now having been fortunate enough to have worked and succeeded in the YPP of the GCNL I realized what I was missing were like-minded individuals who I now can call friends and with whom I became part of something bigger than my personal impact! I actively learned about how I can use my creativity and channel my company’s potential for sustainable and social purposes. With this knowledge, I returned to my UNGC member company Tiny Giants to work for ideas that will bring change!