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The Body Shop and UN launch initiative to champion young voices in politics

Sophie Smith
11 May 2022

The Body Shop and the United Nations Secretary-General's 'Envoy on Youth' are collaborating on a global campaign to support young people's political participation and amplify young voices.

Campaigning in 2,600 stores and over 75 countries, the Be Seen Be Heard initiative hopes to create long-term structural changes to decision-making to be more inclusive of young people.

Running until mid-2025, the campaign supports the development of young people's leadership skills, hoping to "empower the next generation of change makers" through capacity building and training opportunities.

Key campaign actions include:

  • Lowering the voting age for local, municipal or national elections.
  • Removing systemic barriers for young people to participate in public life.
  • Increasing youth representation through the establishment and recognition of formal youth bodies.
  • Amplifying young people's leadership in policy development.

The partnership has also launched a joint report to highlight the structural barriers preventing young people from participating in public life, along with recommendations to address these challenges for the benefit of societies around the world.

The report reveals that the average age of a world leader is currently 62, with 37% of parliaments without a single MP under the age of 30.

David Boynton, CEO of The Body Shop, said: "The world’s problems cannot be solved by the same people making the same choices. Our research indicates the majority of young people are positive about the future. We need to hear their views and ideas inside the halls of power. We will use our global reach to galvanise awareness and support. Be Seen Be Heard is rooted in creating a fairer world with and for young people, and together with the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, we are on a mission to do exactly that.”

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