Dialogue on future-oriented sustainability: Audi at the One Young World Summit, Belfast

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Innovations for a changing world: The One Young World Summit, held in Belfast from October 2nd to 5th, will bring together more than 2,000 young people to discuss the social tasks of our time. Audi will also be represented at the event again. Bentley, Volkswagen subsidiary Elli (Electric Life), Audi, and the Audi Environmental Foundation are sending a total of 34 employees and scholars from all over the world to Northern Ireland – with future-oriented projects and ideas in tow. Xavier Ros, Member of the Board of Management for Human Resources at AUDI AG, sees curiosity and openness to impulses from outside, along with never stopping learning, as fundamental tasks of our time and part of Audi’s DNA.

“We believe in technology,” says Xaver Ros, Member of the Board of Management for Human Resources at AUDI AG. “However, we are not concerned with mere ‘higher, faster, further’ technology. Instead, we value targeted solutions that make a valuable contribution to society and the future,” said Ros, summarizing Audi’s commitment to One Young World. Ros will use his keynote speech at the beginning of the conference to personally encourage young talents to pursue sustainable innovations and business models. “The mood and fundamental attitude of the One Young World Summit are characteristic of the young generation’s understanding of leadership,” explains Ros. It is important to remain attractive to them as an employer, Ros adds.

High-ranking guests

The conference will address a wide range of different topics. The focus will be on issues related to peace, the climate crisis, food shortages, education, and mental health. More than 2,000 young people from almost every country in the world are expected to attend, including high-ranking guests from politics, business, culture, and humanitarian organizations such as activist and musician Sir Bob Geldof, Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus, actress Kat Graham.

The international delegation consists of eleven selected Audi employees, four Bentley and four Elli employees, as well as 15 external scholars whose participation is supported by the Audi Environmental Foundation.

“The goal our foundation’s scholarships is to contribute to a better and fairer future by enabling young people to get involved. Ideally, this will also result in new project partnerships with us,” explains Rüdiger Recknagel, Director of the Audi Environmental Foundation. With this mix of young, external founders and Audi employees, the brand with the four rings wants to promote the exchange of ideas and the transfer of knowledge within and outside the company. All representatives are between 19 and 35 years old and have launched projects aimed at sustainability, environmental protection, and social justice.

Litro de Luz brings light to Brazil

One of them is Rodrigo Eidy Uemura. He is the CEO of the social organization Litro de LuzBrasil and an Audi Environmental Foundation scholar – just like his predecessor Laís Higashi, who will present the project on stage at the One Young World Summit. Supported by Audi do Brasil and the Audi Environmental Foundation, Litro de Luz aims to improve the quality of life for people in remote regions who don’t have reliable access to electricity. In doing so, the project will also avoid causing any more carbon emissions. “Among other things, we provide families with solar-powered flashlights,” reports Laís Higashi. They are intended to improve access to education, for example by enabling children to read or do schoolwork after dark.

The initiative also provides streetlights for the community areas of settlements to make the paths safer at night. The LED streetlights are supplied by a powerful, low-maintenance lithium battery and are placed in strategic locations along busy village roads. The lighting solutions are equipped with solar panels. The lamps light up all night and recharge automatically during the day. At the end of their life, the batteries are recycled, with Litro de Luz providing replacements.

The cooperation with the Audi Environmental Foundation and Audi do Brasil, which started about a year ago, was initially implemented in three villages in the Brazilian Amazon region. To date, more than 600 residents along the banks of the Amazon River have benefited from the solar-powered lights. In early September, twelve more village communities on the southern coast of the state of São Paulo joined the project, providing reliable access to electricity for an additional 150 families.

First held in 2009, over the years the One Young World Summit has become a permanent annual fixture for decision-makers and future leaders around the world. Audi has attended every year since 2016. The brand with the four rings promotes long-term networking between employees and scholarship holders – both among themselves and within One Young World. This commitment has already resulted in numerous project partnerships, such as one with the German–Indian start-up Nunam.