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“We have a strong partnership with UNICEF Norway that we want to build on. We have decided to continue to support UNICEF’s program Upshift and help establish a youth council for business,” says Bjørn Kjetil Mauritzen, Head of Sustainability in Hydro.

Upshift targets adolescents in in low- to middle-income countries who are in vulnerable situations. The goal is to empower a generation of positive social and economic change-makers. Hydro will support the Upshift programs in India and Italy. 

“This is a generation of more than 200 million adolescents without schooling, unemployed and lacking skills for the future,” says Mauritzen.

Training in social innovation and entrepreneurship

Upshift trains adolescents in social innovation and entrepreneurship and provides them with transferrable skills, interest in civic engagement, confidence and resilience, and an entrepreneurial mindset. This helps them identify challenges in their own communities and find solutions.

“Hydro’s social ambitions for 2050 underscore the need for us to support local communities and society at large through the big transitions that lie ahead of us. Upshift helps prepare the younger generation for the future economy,” adds Mauritzen.

Hydro will also take the partnership further by establishing a dedicated youth advisory board for businesses led by UNICEF Norway. The goal of the board is for businesses to better understand how the green transition affects children and young people by inviting young people into the discussion.

Aligning competencies

Hydro’s 2050 social ambition is to improve the lives and livelihood of people wherever we operate. This ambition is underpinned by several initiatives, including support for education and skills development for the future economy. This is aligned with several areas of UNICEF’s core competencies and in particular through the Upshift program. The youth council will directly contribute to another area: to support a just transition.

“To develop a generation of engaged young people, we need to reach as many as possible. And we cannot fulfill this mission without the support from our partners. With this partnership, we have a unique moment to ensure that young people get the tools and the help they need to transform their communities. UNICEF Norway is proud to be on this journey with Hydro, so that we can continue to empower a generation of change-makers,” says Camilla Viken, Executive Director of UNICEF Norway.

UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

Learn more: Sustainability in Hydro


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