Triple Pundit spent the week at the 2014 Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego, which gathered some of the most influential companies, organizations and thought leaders in the sustainability space.
We gathered five of the top trending topics from the event for a quick weekend read. Stay tuned for more coverage all week!
1. Turning the mega challenges into prosperity
Resilience to climate change and resource constraints was a hot topic at SB’14. Talks often centered around how a company can turn its approach to these pressing mega challenges into brand value and bottom line returns.
PwC and author, speaker and environmental strategy consultant Andrew Winston led a panel on ‘building good growth’ in a brand by using cutting edge techniques to turn challenges into value. Andy Savitz, author of “Talent, Transformation and the Triple Bottom Line,” examined how sustainability programs can help companies attract and retain top talent, while others explored how things like biomimicry and the sharing economy can teach big business a lesson about turning challenge into change.
2. Shared value driving tangible change
Shared value – the approach that business can profit by doing good for society – was also tough to miss this week. Representatives from two carpet manufacturers — Desso from the Netherlands and Shaw Industries from the U.S. — spoke about how creating cradle-to-cradle solutions for their products boosted bottom lines while helping communities around the world reduce landfill waste.
In a slightly different approach, Coca-Cola provides access to clean water, energy and information in off-grid locations around the world through its EKOCENTER program, while Ford uses its vehicles to help remote communities in India provide prenatal care.
3. Brand authenticity: From storytelling to story-doing
Talking the talk is one thing, but SB’14 was all about walking the walk. What author Ty Montague and other speakers called “story-doing,” taking the extra step from reporting on achievements to integrating sustainability into every step, was a subject that earned some well deserved time in the spotlight.
4. Health and wellness in business
As part of the events at SB’14, attendees were invited to boost well-being at daily paddleboard yoga sessions, but that wasn’t the only time health and wellness came up. Eileen Howard Boone, SVP of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy at CVS, led a discussion on the company’s bold decision to stop selling cigarettes, even if it meant giving up $2 billion in annual revenue.
Jo Confino of the Guardian and Pamela Wilhelms of Wilhelms Consulting Group led a chat on spiritual narratives, while Brand Cool CEO Sue Kochan, a Buddhist teacher, explored how mindfulness and ancient training can actually make us better change agents.
5. Reimagining materials
From the value of a closed loop textile recycling system and designing with a product’s whole lifecycle in mind to the city of Phoenix and Arizona State University’s plan to build a sustainable future for the city centered around waste management, re-imagingin commonly used materials was a topic that took center stage.
What were some of your favorite take-aways from SB’14? Tell us about them in the comments section and on social media!
Image courtesy of Sustainable Brands
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a senior editor at TriplePundit. She is also a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Her work has appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News, the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands, Earth911 and the Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.