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The U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce is excited to bring you our newest Q&A series, Global Sustainability Leaders.
We’ve traveled the globe searching for the best and brightest sustainability leaders and we’ve found them. In our series, you will meet the
people who are creating a healthier and happier planet for you, your business and your community. Click here to view all of our Global Leaders

Cassia Moraes

Company/NGO Name:

Youth Climate Leaders

Region, Country:

Lisbon, Portugal (but YCL’s main operations are currently in Brazil, with members from 21 countries in total, I’m originally from Brazil)

1.What is the mission of your company/NGO?
Youth Climate Leaders (YCL) catalyzes climate action by providing youth with training, networks and concrete opportunities to start their careers in the field of climate change.

2. What is the most innovative or environmentally/socially impactful project/practice your company/NGO has implemented?

Our main innovation is to equip young climate leaders through a complete solution combining life-long learning, cultural exchanges, mentoring, professional field placements, a global network and climate solutions spaces. Our services include immersive learning journeys, where participants develop an understanding of climate change in theory and in practice through hands-on work with climate solutions. And a Global Network that facilitates connections between climate practitioners, experts, and young leaders to foster professional development opportunities around the world. Through these efforts, we are working to tackle youth unemployment while increasing the number of skilled climate professionals to solve one of this century’s most pressing challenges.

3. How have those projects positively impacted the local community and/ or your country?

We currently have more than 220 members from 21 countries and 4 continents on our network. YCL’s impact will be represented by the impact that each YCL Fellow will have throughout her/his career in the field (SDG 13) after having access to skills-based training and accelerating (SDG 4) through our interconnected network of YCL Partner Organizations that together will mobilize to offer professional opportunities within the new climate economy (SDG 8). Our growing alumni network will occupy leadership positions in several organizations, increasing their systemic impact. A diverse selection of content is produced throughout this process, inspiring millions of young people worldwide, shifting mindsets, educational systems and habits towards low-carbon societies.

4. Please share any new projects you will be implementing in the near future.

  • For the first time, we will be offering two cohorts of the YCL Brazil Course, also increasing the number of participants per course (the first edition of this year has around 100 participants from 13 Brazilian stated and 3 foreign countries.
  • We are fundraising to develop a new platform with online courses, network engagement and professional opportunities, thereby offering new ways to joining the YCL Network through an online membership.
  • By the end of the year, we hope to have at least five YCL Hubs in Brazil and 2 in different countries (potentially Portugal and the USA).
  • In November, we will host a series of events at the Day of the Climate Professional, a commemoration we created to raise awareness about climate careers. We expect to have 10,000 participants worldwide.
  • We are prospecting consultancy opportunities to the members of the YCL Network, as well as new B2B projects such as tailored courses and recruitment services for partner organizations: https://www.youthclimateleaders.org/partner-with-us

5. What are your top 3 career accomplishments?

  • Launching Youth Climate Leaders
  • Being Deputy Executive Coordinator of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change
  • Master of Public Administration Degree at Columbia University

6. What inspired you to choose your career path?   

When I was studying international relations at college, it became clear to me that climate change is the biggest collective challenge that humankind is facing this century. Unlike other challenges, the only way that we can tackle it is through international cooperation. Moreover, failing in addressing the climate crisis will also impact other social movements, as it will be more difficult to end poverty, improve education and secure peace in an unstable world.

7. Personally—Why do you care about sustainability? What is your story?

Before being an environmentalist, I became vegetarian at the age of 14. This profound change, not only of food habits, but also of paradigms, made me look for nature and animals in a different way. During Rio+20, I was co-chair of a coalition of 30+ NGOs that organized 24 activities, both in the official conference and civil society’s events (e.g. People’s Summit, MGCY Youth Blast, etc.), to raise awareness about the impacts of meat consumption in the environment.

8. What is/are the biggest incentive(s) for businesses in your country to adopt sustainable practices?

Currently in Brazil there are not many incentives in place for business to be more sustainable, but I believe consumers are more conscious and demanding change.

9. What is/are the biggest environmental or social challenge(s) facing your country today?

I’d say social inequality, lack of leadership at the national level and the deforestation of the Amazon, all of which were aggravated by the coronavirus crisis.


10. What is the most positive action your country has taken to positively impact its environment or social well-being?

In the national-level, we saw sharply decreases in the deforestation rates from 2003 to 2008, when Marina Silva was Minister of Environment, which proves that is possible to stop deforestation and promote social development and a prosperous economy at the same time.

11. What are your thoughts on climate change? What is your company/organization doing to help bring awareness or to help mitigate climate change?

After young people are aware of the climate crisis and get the right skills to act, young people still lack funding, networks, and legitimacy to have a tangible contribution within current structures. As organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the climate crisis, those at the forefront are struggling to hire the young talent that will bring the fresh perspectives and resources needed to boost their climate projects. Therefore, YCL was created to bridge this gap and support youth to find jobs and opportunities aligned with their purpose, and organizations to hire young talents who are willing to dedicate their lives to finding solutions to the climate crisis.

12. What are the biggest challenges you have faced when pursuing or trying to promote sustainable practices/projects?

I believe that every time in propose big shifts many people react by saying that “change is impossible” and “it has always been that way”. However, I see an increasing number of people becoming aware that our system is not sustainable and it must be changed through a collective effort. During this decade, we now have to join forces to answer the big question: HOW?

To learn more, please visit Youth Climate Leaders on their website and social media:

Website:   https://www.youthclimateleaders.org/

LinkedIn:   https://www.linkedin.com/company/27204276/admin/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/youthclimateleaders/


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YouthClimateLeaders/