While it is generally the elders who take the decisions about what the future of our planet, our water resources and much more is, this is not necessarily the best way to go about things. It is time that we involve and empower young emerging leaders in the decision-making process, as they are the ones who will own the outcomes.

Young people are far more tuned in to nature and to new technological innovations as well as having far more energy to drive action towards a sustainable future in their sectors, organisations and communities.

It is to this end that UNLEASH, a not for profit organisation in Denmark, gathered together 1000 young people from across the globe to address the current problems and come up with innovative ideas and scalable solutions to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The thinking caps were on and the youngsters came up with some great innovation ideas around solutions to the UNLEASH 2017 Themes; Education and ICT, Energy, Food, Health, Sustainable Consumption & Production, Urban Sustainability, and Water – each theme also had sub-themes and a number of actionable insights to guide the innovation work.

Two of the categories were:

Urban Sustainability

The Gold Winner was Demolition 4 Design; The Demolition 4 Design (D4D) platform disrupts the ecosystem of the built environment by connecting previously disconnected professionals, increasing knowledge of sustainable solutions and enabling value creation by diverting landfill waste into new markets.

Water

The Gold Winner was UNLEAK – Leaks inside homes lose enough water to serve 600 million people each day. UNLEAK will fix this in water stressed cities by offering free leak detection and cheap repairs to all. Using a method to check for leaks from outside homes, UNLEAK will audit entire neighbourhoods at once. UNLEAK will coordinate bulk discounts from plumbers and offer heavily discounted repairs to leaking households. Plumbers will pay a referral fee for driving business to them. UNLEAK expects each 100 houses to cost $13 to audit and generate $30 in revenue. In this way UNLEAK will profitably and scalably reduce water consumption in water stressed cities.

Harnessing the next generation of leaders is critical for a sustainable future, and these young leaders have shown us that they are more than up to the task!

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