On a cold Tuesday in January 1944, the 872-day siege of Leningrad by Nazi Germany had finally come to an end. It was one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history.
The city had suffered from extreme starvation. Among the casualties were nine employees from the Pavlovsk agricultural station who succumbed to malnutrition only meters away from the largest food supply in the city – which they had been guarding.
The Pavlovsk station was part of the Vavilov Institute: a historic network of Russian field stations and seed banks that was established to preserve genetic material of a wide variety of plants and crops. The ‘Nine from Vavilov’ traded their lives to preserve the future for many generations in an act of heroism that will not soon be forgotten by the Russian people.
There are many reasons to be optimistic about the state of the world; in many ways we are in better shape than we think. But for all our accomplishments, we need to do more. We must curb climate change. We cannot accept that 2.3 billion people still lack basic sanitation or that more than 800 million people live on less than $1.25 a day.
In other words, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are real and must be addressed.
More than ever, we all have to play a role. No one person can do this alone. Our world is too complex for single solutions, too vast for individual action. In a world where 69 of the planet’s top 100 economies are made up of corporations, businesses must play a part in finding solutions.
So why do so few businesses change their ways?