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How to Create Value Through Purpose, Conscious Influencing, 'Karma Marketing' and Safe Sex

If Tuesday’s SB’15 San Diego plenaries are any indication of the breadth and depth of sustainability work occurring across industries around the world, we can safely say that there’s a whole lot going on.

Attendees of Tuesday’s plenaries heard from a diverse group of presenters who explored topics as varied as brand-building, closed loops, technology, sustainable condoms (that’s right), ecosystem services, sufficiency economies and celebrity influencers.

The talks began with Denise Yohn, author of What Great Brands Do, setting the stage by affirming that attendees have “the power to change the world by building a purposeful brand.” Sheryl Connelly, Manager of Global Consumer Trends and Futuring at Ford, then shared her predictions on how critical global issues — such as rising population, malnutrition, and urbanization — will shape the business landscape of tomorrow, and how Ford is imagining the future of mobility (from the sounds of it, car seats made from tomato skins and tires derived from dandelions might be a part of that future).

Michael Dickstein, Director of Global Sustainable Development at Heineken, then spoke of what could happen when sustainability and marketing intersect: beyond sharing Heineken’s goal of sourcing 50 percent of its barley and hops from sustainable sources by 2020, he shared a sneak preview of another clever, new campaign that promises to make it much cooler to drink responsibly.

Len Sauers, VP of Global Sustainability at Procter & Gamble, then discussed how to close materials loops and how to turn waste into worth. “No matter what your business, your material issues are materials, renewable energy and waste,” he said. P&G has proven the business case for creating technologies that substitute petroleum-derived raw materials with renewable materials and partnering with innovative loops.

Moving from purpose to food, Craig Shiesley, President of Silk Plant-Based Food & Beverages, asked the audience to question our current food system: “Will we have food for 9 billion people by 2050?” Considering that if we continue to eat like we do in the United States, we’ll need 3.5 earths to feed people, Shiesley suggests that only with a plant-based diet will it be possible to do so.

Gerard Bos, Director of the Global Business and Biodiversity Program at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), then shared another alarming fact: “Habitat degradation is happening — 60 percent of the world’s natural habitats have been degraded over the past 50 years.” To counteract this, businesses must find innovative ways to protect global ecosystem services and biodiversity — services upon which business rely.

“Behind motivation is a mindset,” said Sirikul Laukaikul,

Actress, model and Master & Muse founder Amber Vallettaclosed the day’s plenaries with a discussion of how

Here’s hoping we see a whole lot of all of this — closed loops, protection of ecosystem services, mindfulness, conscious influencing, and more — in our future.

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