As we get closer to my personal favorite among the growing list of Sustainable Brands events — New Metrics, this year in collaboration with the MIT Sloan School of Management — I am finding it hard not to engage complete strangers on the street in excited attempts to share bits and pieces of the powerful program we have put together. Without trying to be too self-congratulatory about it, allow me to let some of that energy out by sharing 10 highlights — more specifically, 10 *firsts* — that will take place in the New Metrics plenary program in just over two weeks. All of these highlights will deliver either exclusive launches or results presented for the first time to a live audience. Here go the teasers:
This is the first 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.When we first heard that Kara Hurst, former CEO of the Sustainability Consortium, had become Amazon’s first sustainability executive, we wondered — what would the Sustainable Brands community think about this?So we asked them: What would you do in your first 90 days in her position?Here are some of the responses ...
If you are a regular or even semi-regular reader of Sustainable Brands’ digital content, you are likely familiar with our New Metrics (#NewMetrics) events and publications. In case you are new to this topic, the frame around it is fairly straightforward: New Metrics is an umbrella term for the most successful ways businesses are creating and capturing entirely new forms of value, or quantifying previously ignored economic, social and environmental impacts and opportunities. The number of examples is growing — and trust me, having studied them for a few years now, I can spend all day listing their benefits to you.
Growing up in the socially aware and culturally diverse Bay Area, I have always been conscious of climate challenges and environmental mandates. My family composts, we own hybrid cars, and our shared calendar is from the Sierra Club. At college, too, I encourage recycling and find comfort in my monthly visits to Whole Foods. Yet I was unaware of the potential power of sustainability until this summer’s adventure with Sustainable Brands.
Over the course of three days at SB’14, sustainability leaders from HP, Edelman, Globescan, Kiva, Timberland, Conservation International, PWC and UPS met in a series of small, roundtable discussions on Human, Economic and Environmental Progress, as part of HP’s “Living Progress Exchange."
Kicking off Wednesday, the third day of the SB’14 San Diego conference, business leaders, social entrepreneurs, business disruptors and innovators presented a full morning of business challenges and opportunities to attendees gathered in the Paradise Ballroom and online across the globe. With the overarching theme of “Redesign” dominating the conversations, the morning plenaries focused on ways that brands can answer the question, “What if?” in ways that just might change the world.SustainAbility’s Mark Lee kicked off the Wednesday morning plenaries by posing the challenge of moving forward from yesterday’s “Reimagine” theme of brands being net positive, taking big pivots and inspiring new visions of our cities and communities.
After a rousing morning of plenary presentations, the spirit of authenticity, transparency and “reimagining partnership” continued into the afternoon Tuesday as dozens of brands and NGOs discussed strategies, limitations and creative solutions to a range of large-scale issues.
It’s become nearly impossible to keep up with the multitude of promising partnerships being launched daily around sustainability — and that is great news, of course. This list presents an overview of 14 hot relationships that we believe represent crucial developments in this space. As we continue to watch them, along with many other movers and shakers, here is to the power of multiplying one another’s efforts in our shared pursuit of a sustainable economy.Without further ado, here is the list, in no particular order:
On Monday, I attended the inaugural Business Sustainability Summit hosted by Stanford University's Wood's Institute for the Environment. The Summit kicked off with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, who shared wide-ranging thoughts on her journey from Petroleum Engineer at Mobil (as far as she knows, "the only Secretary of State to have actually fracked a well") to COO and later CEO of REI, one of the most progressive outdoor industry brands and a leader in the Sustainable Brands community, to her current role overseeing millions of acres of public lands and more.
Eight Sustainability Platform, in partnership with Futerra Sustainability Communications, the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS), the Instituto Akatu and Sustainable Brands, announced the launch of the Framework for Action: Consumer Behavior Change — the first publication to explore the cutting-edge issues of sustainable consumer behavior change exclusively for the Brazilian market — on Thursday at Sustainable Brands 2014 Rio in Brazil.
Can your artistic vision inspire someone to take action to create a more sustainable future?This year the Sustainable Brands community is asking designers, painters, sculptors, illustrators, animators, architects and engineers to interpret our theme – Reimagine, Redesign, Regenerate – through art. We want you, our community of creative people, to show us your vision of what a sustainable future for all would look like, be like and feel like in your preferred medium.
As 2014 gets underway, I have been privileged to participate in a wide range of forward-looking discussions taking place within the global Sustainable Brands community, and especially within our membership group. My takeaway going into the year is that there is a good deal of reimagining and redesign for a regenerative future going on in the world today, much of which may yet be unseen by those not fully focused on keeping a whole systems’ eye on things as we are at SB, and we are quite excited to be sharing with you what we’re seeing as the year unfolds.
The glory of abundance is not necessarily lost and visions of a flourishing future are not naïve. There are strong signals pointing to the possibility of a thriving global economy — with health, dignity and happiness for all involved. The leading brands of tomorrow are seeing a wealth of opportunities in pursuing that possibility. They are reimagining their role in society, redesigning the ways they deliver value, and regenerating economic, environmental and social benefits as a result.
As the global Sustainable Brands community keeps on growing, the conversations we host and catalyze on our digital platform are evolving, as well. To reflect this evolution, we are announcing a refreshed list of topics that matter the most to our community — a new set of 20 channels around which we will frame our editorial content in 2014, and beyond. These updated channels reflect the growing sophistication of corporate sustainability efforts in our global network, while also allowing readers to sort and navigate key conversations easily. For future reference, this list also lives full-time on our Editorial Channels page. Happy browsing and here is to another step in advancing our shared mission!
We like these gift ideas because they’re thoughtfully and responsibly produced, they each have a story and many embody the true spirit of giving by benefiting people in need through buy-one-give-one models or increasing the financial stability of artisans around the world … and all are under $100. So in no particular order, here are our socially and environmentally conscious favorites this season:
After another morning of inspiring plenary sessions, the afternoon breakout sessions on SB London day two began with BBMG’s Raphael Bemporad, Lonesome George‘s Eduardo Balarezo, and Telefonica‘s Mark McGinn continued the thread by discussing corporate initiatives aimed at “Delivering Trust Through Shared Value.”
The morning of day two at SB London was brimming with brands both large (Starbucks, MARS, BASF, Kering) and small (Fairphone, Honest By) sharing their perspectives on and strategies for creating value for all stakeholders, all of which are naturally enhanced by everyone’s favorite facet of corporate responsibility: transparency.
Emcee Rob Cameron, executive director at SustainAbility, set the tone for the day’s plenary presentations by stressing the importance of absorbing learnings from global travels as we get ready to change. He asserted this is no longer an era of change — more a change of era — and despite the challenges we face, it’s never been a better time to be on this planet.
On Monday afternoon at SB London ‘13, breakout sessions featuring a variety of brand and thought leaders explored everything from purposeful brands and European consumer research to engaging in innovation and reprogramming culture.