Young locals highlight the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Companies, school children and residents in Esbjerg are encouraged to learn more about the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Port Esbjerg and the companies on the harbour, among others, will contribute to raising awareness when the local Fisheries and Maritime Museum invite locals of all ages to participate in a ten-kilometre ‘Shorewalk’ along the harbourfront.  

On Friday 24 April, thousands of school children, local residents and companies will be going for a long walk. At the same time, they will be learning about the UN’s SDGs and the sustainable society of the future. The ‘Shorewalk’ project is launched by the Fisheries and Maritime Museum in Esbjerg and organised in collaboration with Esbjerg’s schools, Port Esbjerg, Esbjerg Local Authority and a whole host of companies, including Blue Water Shipping, Total and the Danish Energy Agency.

‟Five years ago, we got the UN’s 17 SDGs, but many of us find it difficult to relate to them. They seem somehow remote. However, many companies at the harbour have embraced the SDGs, though we would welcome many more to come onboard from Esbjerg and the surrounding area,” explains Axel Boisen, project manager and consultant for collaboration and sustainability at the Fisheries and Maritime Museum, on the background of the project.

The main object of the harbourfront walk is to inform particularly companies in Esbjerg on how to engage with the SDGs. They will certainly become better informed if they see how Port Esbjerg and the companies on the harbour are already well underway securing a sustainable development at the harbour and in Esbjerg.

‟The ‘Shorewalk’ project is entirely in line with our sustainability strategy which is also about inspiring our customers and the wider community. It would please us tremendously if the work we do would rub off on the companies that are unsure how to engage with the SDGs. Therefore, we would like to show them very simple and concrete measures that will hopefully inspire them,” says Jesper Bank, CCO at Port Esbjerg.

Mayor of Esbjerg Jesper Frost Rasmussen, and Axel Boisen project manager and consultant for collaboration and sustainability at the shorewalk kick-off event.

Focus on children and young people

The Fisheries and Maritime Museum is not launching this project on its own. ‘Shorewalk’ is a collaboration project with the school children of Esbjerg. A 17-week programme in the run-up to the harbourfront walk will provide the pupils with detailed knowledge of the UN’s SDGs. Boisen believes that it is entirely appropriate that the school children participate, because it is after all the young generation who will be living and working in a world affected by climate change. Port Esbjerg shares this view:

‟It feels natural and very important that the children participate. They are the ones we’ll be employing in a few years here at the harbour and the project will hopefully generate interest, motivation and insight. But it may also work the other way around: the children may well inspire us too. Many of them actually know more about sustainability than we do,” says Bank.

Boisen explains that getting the young to participate in the project also links to another ambition with the project, that is getting back to feeling proud of Esbjerg.

‟It’s all about the residents rediscovering the harbour and Esbjerg rediscovering its position in Denmark. For the Port of Esbjerg is very much a place we can be proud of. It is the world’s largest wind turbine port and this is where the changes in our society will be the most visible. From transport port to fishing port to offshore port and from fossil fuels to wind turbine industry,” says Boisen.

School children from Esbjerg learn about the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a 17-week programme in the run-up to the harbourfront walk. 

The SDGs must be physical to be visible

In collaboration with the companies on Port Esbjerg, Esbjerg’s school children will make small exhibitions showing the work that the individual companies do in order to support the SDGs. On Friday 24 April, about 4,000 pupils together with residents, employees from the companies on the harbour and other companies in Esbjerg will embark on the ten-kilometre harbourfront walk. They will be studying the exhibitions and listening to talks on the individual companies’ efforts to contribute to the SDGs.

‟It’s about making the SDGs as concrete as possible and showing how simple it is to contribute towards the SDGs day-to-day, especially as a company. In addition, it’s about getting the companies and Port Esbjerg to brag about their sustainable goals. It’s also about getting them to improve, what we might call, their ‘brag-ability’,” concludes Boisen.  


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