SAN FRANCISCO – Sustainable Brands® (SB) today launches SB Voyager, a new program supporting businesses that face significant challenges related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and reputation.
This latest offering, a precursor to the SB Corporate Member Network, is designed to help companies that do not yet meet the full qualifications for membership overcome those challenges and fuel their transformation.
“SB has a vibrant, growing network of Corporate Members. It’s comprised of professionals from nearly 80 global and emerging brands who regularly learn from, collaborate with, and support one another on the journey to becoming better brands,” said Darren Beck, Vice President of the SB Corporate Member Network. “Some companies have much greater distance to cover on that journey. They’d like to join the network, but have yet to meet the minimum requirements. If they’re ready to fundamentally transform their business to help create a more sustainable future, we’re ready to make room for them at the table. That’s where the Voyager program comes in.”
The new program enables companies that have a publicly stated commitment to transform controversial business models for the better to actively engage with SB Corporate Members in regular meetings and online. The expectation is that access to a leadership network of this caliber will provide them with support and guidance to help accelerate ambitious change as they pursue qualifications for full membership. Philip Morris International (PMI) is the first company to be accepted into the new program.
“Three years ago, at PMI, we made a commitment to a future without cigarettes, a smoke-free future that will improve the health trajectories of more than one billion adult smokers. We are actively transforming our business from the inside out and are doing everything we can to get to a smoke-free future as quickly as possible — becoming a SB Voyager is an important step in this journey” said André Calantzopoulos, CEO of PMI. “For us, our smoke-free vision and purpose is about creating a business that brings a very positive societal change and therefore, is much more sustainable. We are dedicated to using our resources and ingenuity to develop and commercialize better alternatives for the people who smoke as fast as possible. We need strong community partners to help us in this enormous undertaking. That is why becoming an SB Voyager is so significant for all of us.”
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KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz, founder and CEO of Sustainable Brands, agrees. “Change is tough, and even more so when pursued without critical feedback, guidance and accountability from a peer network of like-minded sojourners. We welcome PMI’s participation in this rigorous transformation process. We encourage companies to embrace their past, recalibrate and boldly pursue new, industry-changing paths to reduce impact and move toward a net-positive future. SB and its community are prepared to meet and support them on this journey.”
PMI and future SB Voyagers will receive access to the SB Brand Transformation Roadmap℠. This proprietary assessment tool is designed to help companies identify where they sit along a continuum of sustainable business practices. The highest level of attainment is emerging as a truly ‘sustainable brand’ — a company operating a profitable, net-positive business model that seeks system-wide solutions through deep external collaboration, actively tries to shift unsustainable societal norms and intentionally cultivates breakthrough leaders.
SB Voyagers annually assess their coordinates on this journey using the roadmap and receive peer assessments from SB Corporate Members, as well. According to criteria defined by the SB Membership Advisory Council, SB Voyagers must progress to the next level of maturity in one or more areas of the roadmap within two years in order to satisfy a main condition for becoming an SB Corporate Member.
“Transformative change takes time, but SB has helped us realize change faster through engagement with others in the SB network, and collaborating in ways none of us thought possible. We need open, frank dialogue with different minds that can help us navigate this change quickly and efficiently.” said Huub Savelkouls, Chief Sustainability Officer for Philip Morris International. “For PMI, or indeed any tobacco company, to credibly speak about sustainability and contribute to today’s Sustainable Development Agenda, the purpose can be none other than to replace cigarettes with better alternatives for smokers, society, and the environment. This is an essential step to becoming a more sustainable business, the first of many steps ahead in our ambition to become a ‘sustainable brand.’”