The Private sector toolkit to working with youth is part of a series of technical papers aimed both at strengthening youth participation at all levels through cooperation among various stakeholders, as well as at highlighting the role of youth as agents of development. Building on Youth participation in development, which provides guidance to development agencies and policymakers, and the Activities kit, which provides guidance to young people on celebrating the International Year of Youth, this technical paper is a tool geared towards enhancing partnership between youth and the private sector.
The purpose of this document is to explore cooperation between youth and the private sector, both in principle and in practice, in order to: z highlight the role of youth as social actors, and increase general understanding of young people’s great potential as development partners; z inspire the private sector to partner with youth by showcasing several case studies and demonstrating the economic advantage of investing in youth, in contrast to the cost of underinvestment; and z provide initial guidance on facilitating private sector engagement with young people, and the formation of meaningful partnerships, to better influence development processes worldwide. This technical paper has been produced by the United Nations Programme on Youth in the Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and the NGO Restless Development, in the context of the International Year of Youth.
THE PRIVATE SECTOR AS ECONOMIC STAKEHOLDER AND SOCIAL ACTOR
The concepts of corporate citizenship and corporate social responsibility have gained legitimacy in recent years, and continue to be integrated into business practices around the globe. They reflect a recognition that private sector entities are not only actors in society, but also stakeholders with the capacity and responsibility to contribute to social and economic development. Businesses increasingly realize that earning profits and doing good need not be mutually exclusive, and they appreciate the value of demonstrating their commitment to social responsibility and to building inclusive economies.
The private sector has assumed tremendous power and influence in society. Private businesses are key sources of economic growth, employment and investment, which can benefit their local communities and often extend into the global realm. Decisions made by firms can resonate both through supply chains to affect broader production trends, as well as through recruitment channels to influence hiring levels. The notion of corporate citizenship reflects the social responsibility that accompanies this influence, in particular to future generations over the long-term.