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Every action counts

Contributing to sustainability by partnering with the UN SDG Action Campaign

Capgemini colleagues Catherin Tiefenbach, Marie Steffens, and Sargon Korkis supported the UN SDG Action Campaign team with their mission to mobilize, inspire, and connect people to take action on sustainability.

Whether it’s using AI to protect whales and the Mojave Desert, or bringing digital skills to the vulnerable in Brazil, Morocco, and India, Capgemini colleagues around the world are working on projects that help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

“To create a sustainable future for our planet, we all need to work together,” says Catherin Tiefenbach, Manager in Enterprise Transformation at Capgemini Invent in Hamburg, Germany. “Everyone can do something to help, no matter how small.”

Working together is exactly what Capgemini colleagues Catherin Tiefenbach and Marie Steffens, and Sargon Korkis did when they set out to support the UN SDG Action Campaign. The project, the team says, reflects Capgemini’s purpose of unleashing human energy through technology to get the future we all want.

“The campaign is a special initiative from the UN Secretary General,” says Catherin. “The mission is to create awareness of the UN’s SDGs and get people involved around the world.”

Sustainable Development Goals

There are 17 UN SDGs, which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

The team came together offering strategic and technical support to the Action Campaign to increase its impact.

For example, the original registration process on the UN website was deterring people from logging their actions on the Global Map, leaving many voices unheard and stories untold. The redesigned registration process made it simpler for users, whether individuals, organizations, or official partners, to register and log their actions. The redesign of the profile pages also facilitated connecting and networking among users.

Flipping the script

“The slogan for the campaign is #FlipTheScript,” says Catherin. “It’s about changing the narrative to show that change is possible, and a more inclusive, peaceful, just, and sustainable world is achievable – that every action counts, no matter how small, as long as it makes a positive difference.”

Examples of actions logged on the map include a school in Bali that took part in a beach cleanup to remove plastic waste; introducing community plastic recycling bins in Algeria; and learning about the benefits of bamboo as a sustainable material in Zimbabwe. A positive action could say the team, be as simple as learning about climate change by watching a documentary.

“When we discussed how to improve the Global Map, we wanted it to be a really useful tool for the UN SDG Action Campaign, not just a fancy addition to the website,” says Marie, Senior Consultant at Capgemini Invent in Hamburg. “By showing a detailed picture of all the small sustainability actions being taken around the world, it can really raise awareness of how others can take action too. By doing this, it becomes a tool that allows the campaign team to get an overview of what is happening, thereby allowing it to report on the campaign’s success. In turn, hopefully, that will help the UN SDG Action Campaign to continue to receive funding to support the SDGs.”

Bringing technical expertise

Sargon, Vice President, Digital Experience Services at Capgemini in Berlin, says such a global grassroots campaign often requires a helping hand to achieve success.

“The ambition for the UN SDG Action Campaign was to get as many people involved as possible,” he says. “But really big organizations such as the UN can sometimes need a little extra help to make things happen quickly. That’s where, with our experience and technological expertise at Capgemini, we knew we could help to make a difference.”

Catherin and Marie have also been encouraging their own colleagues to get involved: “Our work with the UN SDG Action Campaign is continuing, and we are asking colleagues to commit to take action and to help raise awareness of the SDGs.”

Creating a positive future

For all the team, the project has been a good example of how Capgemini colleagues can bring different skills to a project.

“Catherin and Marie built the connection with the client to really understand what the project was about,” says Sargon. “My role was to bring my knowledge of creating immersive experiences, before handing it back to the UN SDG Action Campaign’s own tech team. It’s been a real collaboration. We reviewed their approach and strategy and shared ideas for what they needed to change for the campaign to have the greatest impact. The collaboration with the UN SDG Action Campaign team allowed us to do what we do best across Capgemini, which is to use technology for a positive future.” And if that future is to be a sustainable one, Catherin says: “The campaign message that every action counts is one we all need to remember.”


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