Since 2006, Sustainable Brands has been connecting and inspiring business and brand leaders to share pressing social and environmental challenges and offer solutions to shape a more sustainable future. Through annual conferences, Sustainable Brands attracts some of the world's best known brand innovators and shares positive shifts already taking place in business and society. Sustainable Brands 2013 kicks off June 3 in San Diego, Calif., with more than 2,000 executives and thought leaders from some of the world’s most recognized brands, including Coca-Cola, Ford, Unilever, Target, Google and UPS.
The theme for Sustainable Brands 2013 is "From Revolution to Renaissance." Marie Perriard, Sustainable Brands' director of Global Brand & Corporate Communications, says the goal for this year's gathering is to focus "on the positive shifts in business and society that are currently taking place. It also provides examples of purpose-driven brand innovation that is reinvigorating global and local economies."
The primary goal of the Sustainable Brands conference doesn't change with each new conference theme, though. Perriard explains, "The ultimate goal does not differ year to year — it just advances along the path towards discovery and brand innovation. Last year recognized that a global revolution was in full swing, leading to monumental disruption in traditional models of commerce and consumption. This year, the conference theme unleashes a true 21st century sustainability renaissance. Business leaders are driving creativity and innovation to shift themselves and their consumers toward healthy behaviors and more sustainable consumption patterns."
Conference attendees will learn more about today’s sustainability trends and the drivers behind these trends — including the effect that cultural shifts will have on local economies, how to go beyond product life cycle and extend sustainability into all areas of the brand, how storytelling can help a brand better communicate it’s message, and the evolution of the trust economy and its role in helping businesses build successful partnerships.
Andrew Winston (pictured right), author of "Green Recovery" and founder of Winston Eco-Strategies, is one of dozens of speakers scheduled to appear at Sustainable Brands 2013. “The mega-forces driving sustainability into business are varied — climate change and extreme weather, resource constraints and commodity prices, rising transparency, the greening of the supply chain ... these are both drivers and trends," he recently told MNN. "Technology and openness are enabling more transparency and higher expectations about companies and their products and services. Extreme weather along with relentlessly rising demand (as population grows and gets richer) drive the long-term price increases in nearly every input into our economy.”
Winston cited several companies that are trendsetters in the sustainability arena including Coca-Cola, SABMiller, Kimberly-Clark, Diageo and Ford. Winston is particularly fond of Unilever’s sustainability efforts.
“But overall, of the big, public companies, Unilever is leading the pack right now with its very impressive Sustainable Living Plan. This plan is not separate from their core strategy, but it IS their strategy — that alone puts them ahead of most. The plan at heart is a goal to double sales while halving environmental footprint. It's aggressive and visionary. “
The green business trend goes beyond large, multi-national companies, though. Sustainability strategies are important to organizations of all types and sizes. According to a recent survey of hospital administrators conducted at the CleanMed 2013 Conference:
- 90 percent of hospitals increased sustainability investments in 2012
- 87 percent incorporate sustainability into both the decision-making process and hospital operations
- Top sustainability priorities include energy usage, products and supplies and waste disposal
Other speakers on the Sustainable Brands 2013 roster include:
- Uwe Dreher: Head of Marketing, BMWi
- Bea Perez: Chief sustainability officer, Coca-Cola
- Liz Maw: CEO, Net Impact
- Eric Johnson: Senior sustainability engineer, Sony Electronics
- Mark Tulay: Program director, GISR
- Dara O'Rourke: Co-founder, GoodGuide
Related on MNN:
- For companies, sustainability and innovation often go hand in hand
- Social media empowers consumers, and businesses are stepping up to the challenge