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SB'12 Recap - Day 1

The day is overcast, but nobody seems to mind; not even the overbearing clouds can damper the sense of optimism pervading the air. A slight, welcome breeze gently rocks the towering clusters of palms that dominate the island. The sea birds soar over Mission Bay’s tranquil waters. Although the setting is peaceful, Paradise Point is bustling; a global revolution, years in the making is set to explode.

Today, the Sustainable Brands 2012 Conference kicked off, drawing nearly 1,500 sustainability, brand and innovation leaders from 19 countries. Although the discussions taking place were variegated and many, today and throughout the week they will focus on three primary initiatives; shaping sustainable consumer demand, driving radical innovation and reinforcing the business case for Sustainable Brands.

Attendees arrived bright and early eager to collaborate and learn from research roundtables, plenary and co-create sessions. Annie Longsworth, CEO of SaatchiS, moderated a research roundtable that looked into the latest consumer insights from Sustainable Life Media’s top research selections, which included presentations by Henk Campher (Edelman), Hernan Sanchez Neira (Havas Media Intelligence), Jonathon Yohannan (Cone Communications), Karen Barnes (Shelton Group), Kevin Williams (Pure Branding) and Freya Williams (Ogilvy Earth).

Couldn't make it to SB? Check out our additional recaps below!

Tuesday - Day 2
Wednesday - Day 3
Thursday - Day 4

Throughout the day, some adventurous attendees left the island to see the sustainable brand revolution in action, venturing to study biomimicry at the San Diego Zoo, going on a walkabout through San Diego’s Balboa Park and participating in a workshop with Taylor Guitars and ArtFlor on how to re-localize manufacturing.

After breaking to network and lunch, attendees reconvened for afternoon sessions, engaging in another research roundtable about B2B insights, plenary sessions about effective leadership traits and skills for managing global sustainable brands.

BASF’s Charlene Wall-Warren led a co-create session on materiality metrics and decision making for adding value to brands’ sustainability journeys, which included insights from Cristian Barcan (BASF), James Reagan (Cattlemen’s Beef Association), Jeff Rice (Walmart) and Mike Faupel (Sustainability Consortium). Those attending this session learned about population growth and subsequent strain on the planet’s natural resources is making sustainability a necessity not only to secure a brighter future, but to ensure brands’ survival.

Christian Barcan noted, “There will never be a truly sustainable product; only a more sustainable product; sustainability is not a destination, but a never-ending journey.”

In the evening, expo and conference attendees gathered in the Paradise Ballroom for the Opening Night Ceremony. Sustainable Brands Founder & Chief Catalyst, KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz, gave the keynote address, discussing the sustainable brand revolution that is afoot.

“This last year has been marked by what we’ve seen to be an eruption of the Sustainability Revolution,” said Skrzyniarz, “People are suddenly realizing that things are broken and need to be fixed.”

The audience went on to hear inspiring anecdotes from Simon Mainwaring, Author of We First, Volker Schaedler, VP, Innovation & Technology, BASF, Ben Goldhirsch, CEO, GOOD and Sally Uren, Deputy Chief Executive, Forum for the Future.

Afterward, SB Alumni, Member and Co-Creative participants enjoyed food and beverages during the Opening Night Reception, energized and ready to propel the sustainable brand revolution forward in the days to follow.

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