Sustainability Leadership Youth A-List 2023
This Eco-Business Sustainability Leadership Youth A-List 2023 features young activists and innovators who are coming together locally to make a difference globally.  This year, all 10 individuals hail from Southeast Asia – a first since the awards launched in 2020.

From local to global: Meet the most impactful young sustainability leaders in Southeast Asia

The Eco-Business Sustainability Leadership Youth A-List 2023 features young activists and innovators who are coming together locally to make a difference globally. From fighting to keep a province in the Philippines coal-free to paving more sustainable roads using plastic waste, this year’s winners are “staying with the trouble” on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

While Southeast Asia witnessed record-breaking heat waves in the past year, another record was being shattered: the number of fossil fuel representatives at the United Nation’s annual international climate talks. As communities and ecosystems on the frontlines continue to bear the brunt of the climate crisis despite contributing the least to it, young people in the region are turning towards each other to hold space for hope and fight against the powerful forces that stand in the way of much-needed change.

Beyond nurturing connections with their local communities, this year’s Sustainability Leadership Youth A-List sees many sustainability practitioners, activists and ecopreneurs reckoning with their ancestral lineage in current realities.

From disrupting a multi-generational family business in road construction to pave more sustainable roads, to continuing the decades-long women-led struggle against coal, the 10 individuals aged 30 and below on the Sustainability Leadership Youth A-List are finding new connections between their own stories and those who came before them, as a way to inspire future generations to act.

Madhumitha Ardhanari, sustainability strategist from international non-profit Forum for the Future, said that the common thread that ran through their work was how they have found meaningful ways to “stay with the trouble” – in American feminist theorist’s Donna Haraway’s words – and make a difference in difficult circumstances. “I was most inspired by nominees who were rooted in local action while seeing the bigger global picture.”

The Sustainability Leadership Youth A-List champions young individuals across the Asia Pacific region who have agitated for change across business and policy and have delivered measurable impact over the last 12 months. The organisations led by the 2023 cohort of young changemakers are evenly split between non-profits and start-ups cutting across a wide range of causes, from nature conservation, waste management, food and agriculture, to the energy transition. This year, all 10 individuals hail from Southeast Asia – a first since the Sustainability Leadership Youth A-List launched in 2020. They come from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.

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