Extract of the award speech, Lucie Bourgeois.
“It’s an honor to be here– culmination of several years of engagement and hard work to bring together our vision to fruition. Nine years ago, when I founded Umalia, it was with the core belief that societal change was possible…. I dreamed then of the kind of partnerships that we shared with you.
For those of you who don’t know us, we’re a consulting firm focusing on societal engagement (CSR, ESG, sustainability) but we are also active initiators of our own projects, all lead with a multisector collaboration lense. We have therefore initiated and implemented multiple multi-sector partnerships with private sector, civil society, governments and academia in different countries – on poverty reduction, climate change, water and economic empowerment.
As such, we’re glad to see increased interest and movement towards a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable world.But there are also, still, tremendous steps to be taken to get there. The best example of this is climate change, where UN Special Envoy for Climate ActionMark Carney, mentioned recently that the world is heading for mortality rates equivalent to the covid crisis every year by mid-century unless action is taken.
In this context, we want to thank the UN for creating, in collaboration with all sectors, the SDG framework which enables all to align around the role and place that private sector, civil society, academia, government and others can play in solving some of these most difficult societal challenges we have ever faced.
The framework is also a key contributor to raising that awareness, enabling stakeholders to speak the same language around joint issues and the ability to contribute, no matter what sector we come from, what size of organization we are and where we live.
We are, ourselves, at Umalia a reflection of that. As a small enterprise, we have often been questioned and we have also questioned ourselves about our level of engagement. Being committed to societal impact, forces you to make choices: choices in the kind of projects you embark on, choices on the clients you chose, on the suppliers you work with. It’s not always easy but when you believe in it, the outcomes can be quite amazing.
And most importantly, the key ingredient is quite simple: collaboration.
I often describe it as a puzzle where each one of us plays a part, in unison, to accomplish something so much greater than the sum of our parts. The challenges we face today are such that no one stakeholder, no one government, no one Civil society organization can solve this tremendous challenge we are facing. But together, we might be able to. We certainly have to try.
You probably know the well-known proverb that states that:
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Is there a proverb that better representsSDG #17 ?
I stand here today because of all the people, all of our clients and partners, all of our great members of our team at Umalia, here in Canada, and abroad, who have joined forces with us to build and manage cross sector partnerships.
· Because they understood the challenges facing our world today
· Because they realized that no matter their contribution, they could participate in something greater than themselves
· Because they believed in the power of collaboration
· Because they saw that together, we could do so much more than alone
I share this award with them and hope this movement will inspire many other organizations, from all sectors, to think about how they can positively impact society through collaboration and in alignment with the UN SDGs. "