Thanks so much for the invitation to come speak with you today. I have the good fortune of knowing many of your faculty, past and present, and have also had the great good fortune to have several Presidio alum on our team through the years. It’s always a delight to be able to be work with people who we know are coming from a similar place of intellectual alignment. What an honor to be here in this beautiful place with such a great group of passionate leaders — and even more so, to offer you some thoughts as you begin important next steps in your lives — steps that I know will be particularly important to our collective future. With the little time I have today, I hope to offer you three things to take with you on your journey from this place:
A new year. A much-needed chance to start fresh. Resolutions are fun, and I created my usual list of things such as writing more (day one, check!), putting my phone down when I’m with family, exercising and eating well, and better managing email. But I know deeper changes are needed. Sadly, this past year exposed profound divides in the world and in America, in particular — high levels of distrust in each other, in our leaders, in our institutions, and, most disturbingly, in facts. This comes at a bad time. As the world’s biggest challenges get thornier and bigger, it gets clearer that we must work together to solve them.
As one of the focal points of the global Sustainable Brands conference network, Sustainable Brands ’16 Copenhagen will explore how brands can succeed by Activating Purpose with next-level sustainability-led innovation and stakeholder engagement. More than 100 influential thought leaders, brand strategists and cutting-edge practitioners of environmental and social innovation will contribute to the program by leading interactive discussions, deep-dive workshops, plenary presentations and networking activities designed to cultivate forward-looking win-win conversations. Here are 16 categories of program highlights organized under 4 event tracks:
Sustainable products geeks rejoice, for 'tis once again the season of giving! And what better way to celebrate and participate than with gifts whose giving creates exponentially more cheer, health, beauty and financial stability while eliminating waste, pollution and carbon emissions around the world? Here are just a few of our favorite discoveries this year of products we'd be proud to give.
The global Sustainable Brands community continues to impress and inspire with the growing levels of creativity companies are applying in their sustainability efforts, especially when it comes to elevating the level of priority of environmental and social criteria in product innovation processes. Products with a purpose are popping up in many shapes and forms, and many of them are proving they can perform really well financially.
For the second year in a row, Sustainable Brands Buenos Aires, which took place on September 1-2 at La Rural, convened corporations, communication agencies, NGOs, investors, governments, and other stakeholders, creating an explosion of conversations in social networks, with over 25 million impressions, and providing participants a unique and unforgettable experience.
In a world dominated by the pursuit of higher short-term credit, it is not common to hear an appeal to the moderation of companies. That is why the intervention of brand and sustainability consultant Sirikul Laukaikul brought fresh air to the second edition of Sustainable Brands Buenos Aires, the conference about sustainability and brands that was held September 1-2 at La Rural with more than 70 speakers and 1,200 attendees (see her presentation from SB ’15 San Diego).
Climate Week NYC, now in its 7th year, kicked off this week with high hopes of energizing companies, governments, academia and civil society to lead us to a low-carbon future. With more than 150 events of various sorts all over New York City — from public demonstrations and discussions outdoors, to the launch of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals, to more niche working groups and panel sessions hosted by universities, businesses and NGOs — the agenda surely looks rich and promising.
Sustainability marketing is a strange and special animal. To be effective, it needs to popularize the work of sustainability teams, which tends to be based on rigorous systems thinking, carefully and scientifically considering the whole picture before suggesting ways to improve it. And of course, sustainability marketing also needs to be as sexy and appealing as successful mainstream marketing. Striking that kind of balance is not easy, and there certainly has been significant progress over the last few years. At the same time, there still are some important sustainability marketing tactics that are not understood and adopted well enough.
Sustainable Brands Rio 2015, which took place August 25-27, saw the participation of over 500 attendees from business, civil society organizations, NGOs, universities, governments and the third sector. This year, the theme "How now: how innovation in sustainability is transforming business now" reinforced an open and critical view on trends which, on a larger scale, may lead to positive change in companies´ business models.
If the global business community is to thrive in the long term — and carry us to that flourishing future we are trying to imagine and help build — it needs to continue to scale up the ambition and influence of its efforts. That’s much easier said than done, of course, though we are seeing a number of encouraging trends within the Sustainable Brands community that, while still nascent, are promising to deliver a lot of value for years to come. Here is a list of 10 such trends that are top of mind for our team at the moment:
Boy, do they know how to get excited about innovation in Barcelona.Many of our corporate members, international partners, and sustainability thought leaders are still recovering from what was an amazing Sustainable Brands global conference launch last week in Spain.In partnership with Quiero Salvar El Mundo Haciendo Marketing, Sustainable Brands ’15 Barcelona — now our third European conference — launched with over 300 attendees and an overwhelming energy, enthusiasm and effort.
It’s time once again for the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) — our annual competition for startups poised to make scalable, sustainable impacts. Each year, we receive submissions from hundreds of purpose-driven ventures innovating to shape the future of business, and we’ve selected 11 finalists for this year’s SBIO, presented by Target and co-sponsored by SicaSoft and Sprint — winners to be announced June 3 at SB ’15 San Diego.
This is the latest in a series of posts in which we will poll our global community of business leaders and practitioners — the “SB Vanguard” — on a variety of issues pertinent to the evolving sustainable business landscape.For SB, the theme for 2015 is How Now. With that in mind, which leading-edge, practical tactics and tools do you expect to shine in 2015? What do you think are the hottest types of know-how to watch this year?Here are a few of the responses ...
Gifts for our loved ones that also help repurpose waste, benefit people in need, get back to basics, and even possibly help to save the planet ... How is that not a win-win? Here are just a few of our favorite innovative, socially and environmentally beneficial gift ideas that will help you truly celebrate this season of giving, by ...
And the third morning of SB London picked up where the second one ended.
The first morning of SB London featured some excellent speakers and stories, from Lyf Shoes’ Aly Khalifa to Michael Dickstein from Heineken to B&Q’s Chris Moss. Between them, this brilliant lineup delivered some great insights, accompanied by several common themes. Happily, they spell the first two objectives of the entire conference. Here they are:
This is the latest in a series of posts in which we will poll our global community of business leaders and practitioners — what we call the “SB Vanguard” — on a variety of issues pertinent to the evolving sustainable business landscape.IKEA and GAP have both raised their minimum wage; Starbucks is now subsidizing employee education; and H&M is fighting for higher worker wages in both Cambodia and Bangladesh ... Despite the expected added brand value, it must be a challenge to justify such a dramatic and costly shift.So we asked the SB Vanguard: How can more companies make the business case internally for prioritizing such investments in employee and worker well-being? And how could companies go about measuring the ROI?
Corporate sustainability professionals are an interesting breed, aren’t they? Not always the most relatable or immediately exciting crowd, one might say. And not exactly the easiest to listen to, or understand — for most people, anyway.