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8th Sustainable Brands Conference Set to Go - Why Should You Be There?
May 6, 2014
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.
Secretary Jewell's comments were followed by presentations from the CEO of AT&T Business Solutions; the Executive Chairman at Cargill; the VP, Chief Scientist of Disney Imagineering; the CSO of SAP; Steve Westly, former CA State Controller turned VC; a contributor to the International Panel on Climate Change and others.
Each of today's speakers uniformly proclaimed what we in the Sustainable Brands community have been working toward for years: Sustainability has hit the big time and has now indeed come of age as a core innovation strategy, driving the rethinking of all aspects of business — from brand positioning to product, service and even business model design, to supply chain shared value, to lobbying priorities to organizational capacity building to communications and more. The bottom-line take away of the day: Expect the pace of sustainability-driven disruptive innovation to continue to pick up speed across all market sectors and geographies from here forward — and if you don't keep up, you will be left behind.
At Sustainable Brands we've been establishing the front end of profitable environmental and social innovation for nearly a decade and the place where that agenda is set each year is at our flagship Sustainable Brands Conference held each June, now in San Diego, Calif. This year is no different: All of the topics teed up at today's Stanford event will be delved into in much more depth in San Diego in just a few short weeks.
This year, more than 170 of the top leaders in this global movement toward a sustainable economy will help spark our largest collective learning conversation yet. They'll engage hundreds of innovators from brands such as Caesars Entertainment, Disney, Levi's, Nike, Nissan, GM and Ford, Nordstrom, Kohl's, Target, Walmart, William Sonoma, McDonald’s, Microsoft, eBay and Dell, and an unprecedented list of others (our largest gathering yet!), and continue to stretch us all forward — beyond our historic focus on efficiency and reduced impact, toward whole new ways of thinking about the way forward toward the net positive business and economy of the future.
If you have joined us before, don't rest on thinking that you've 'been there, done that.’ The bar is quickly being raised every day around the world, and we are fortunate to have a front-row seat thanks to our presence on four continents and counting. If you have not joined us before, you'd better not wait. Either way, the pace of change is going to pick up steadily from here — and now is when we will begin to seriously separate the winners from the losers of the next economy.
Since SB'13 San Diego, I have been privileged to have visited, spoken about or hosted conversations on the intersection of sustainability and innovation in 7 countries, and in twice as many cities. This year will take me to many others, because our movement is exploding around the world. Don't make the mistake of sitting this one out. Join us to help us set the agenda for 2015 and beyond, to find the insights you need to prioritize your efforts in the coming year, to learn from peers what they have been learning from both successes and failings, to hear where the conversation is headed around the world, and most importantly, to find the partners, tools and solutions that can help you keep pace with the increasing rate of change at the intersection of innovation and sustainability.
The challenges we face as a global society are increasingly evident and daunting, but I remain incredibly optimistic about our ability to respond and excited by our opportunity to help you succeed in your business by becoming part of the solution to a flourishing future. Register today for Sustainable Brands '14 San Diego and come be part of one of the most stimulating, uplifting and productive experiences of your year. I look forward to seeing you at Paradise Point, and to designing a future together that we can be proud to hand over to our kids.
Founder, Sustainable Brands