- Hyundai Motor Company and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) this week launched the 'for Tomorrow' platform, an online initiative to crowdsource grassroot innovations and solutions that advance the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Through the platform, individuals are invited to share developed solutions — those at least in a prototype stage — that tackle local challenges around air quality, waste management, public health and other sustainability-related concerns. Submissions will be accepted through April 2021, after which the partners will select an undisclosed number of solutions to scale up through the UNDP Accelerator Labs.
- For Tomorrow is the result of an inaugural agreement between Hyundai and UNDP to commit to continual messaging and advocacy of local sustainability work. The initiative will focus on cities because they have become "critical drivers of global socio-economic, behavioral and environmental changes far beyond urbanized borders," and as their populations grow, so do their risk of "profound repercussions" from inaction on sustainability, according to Hyundai.
In September 2019, UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a global call for a "Decade of Action" to reach the 2030 SDGs by accelerating the development of sustainable solutions across all societal sectors. The 'for Tomorrow' initiative will grow beyond 2020 as an ongoing commitment to advance these goals, Hyundai said. "A global movement is not something that can be achieved in a couple of years."
There are 17 SDGs in all, so the partners dedicated the focus of the inaugural 'for Tomorrow' platform to Goal 11: safe, resilient and sustainable cities.
The partners confirmed they will explore other goals in the coming years to ensure cohesive progress on the SDGs.
"We subscribe to the philosophy that innovative responses very often come from those closest to the problem, those who live it day in and day out," Hyundai said, noting that the platform is open to any types of innovators, no matter their backgrounds. The proposals can be very local or highly targeted, but the partners urge solutions that can be scaled or can benefit from collaboration with a wider network of solutions.
"We are not looking for one big solution but rather a myriad of incremental solutions that are tangibly helping make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable while contributing to shape and prime a global network of innovators to be the actors of tomorrow," the company said.
The platform has been endorsed by actress and entrepreneur Jessica Alba, in part due to her work in developing sustainable household products. "It is a great pleasure ... to count her as an ally in the fight for sustainability," a representative of Hyundai Motor Group said in an email.
Hyundai Motor Group ramped up its commitment to sustainability with its Strategy 2025 roadmap, released in late 2019. That roadmap detailed Hyundai's mission to become a top global manufacturer of battery and fuel cell electric vehicles (EVs) by 2025, which it is advancing through the upcoming launch of its IONIQ EV series. The company said it also reaches outside of its automotive bubble to support textile upcycling through annual partnerships with global fashion designers.
The 'for Tomorrow' sharing window will close around Earth Day on April 22, at which time the partners hope to host a "Spin-Off Assembly" to enable networking and celebration among the members of the UNDP Accelerator Labs network. More details on that event are expected in the coming months as the partners navigate the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic.