The Great Recession a decade ago was generally a pretty turbulent period for American businesses, workers and consumers.
There is one thing I miss dearly, though, and it’s top of mind as I return to the office the day after a long Labor Day holiday to plan my fall travel schedule.
JetBlue knew that sales of airline seats plummet each year between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, with a little upsurge for the three-day Columbus Day weekend and the Jewish High Holidays. Otherwise, the fall is crickets for the U.S. airline industry.
With this in mind, JetBlue in 2009 introduced the All You Can Jet pass for $599, offering a month of unlimited air travel. Alas, the deal is no longer offered, but I remember fondly kissing my wife and kids goodbye and hitting the road that year to visit clients, conferences, partners, and everyone else that budgets had prevented us from meeting except by telephone.
Still, even in 2018, autumn travel is a bargain, especially with a week or two notice. It’s also the time when corporate responsibility (CR) and sustainability professionals gather for some of the most impactful conferences of the year. As I put my schedule together, here are some picks to consider as you decide how and where to meet new partners and update your knowledge base.
The top choice is an event that our team at 3BL Media has proudly developed over the last two years. 3BL Forum, October 23-25, at MGM National Harbor, just outside Washington, D.C., is themed Brands Taking Stands – The Long View to look at corporate activism alongside a new emphasis on sustainability among investors.
Queued up to speak at 3BL Forum next month are 60+ A-list speakers and eight CEOs, including José Andrés (pictured above), celebrity chef, humanitarian and founder of World Central Kitchen, who fed millions in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. (Note: we are donating 10% of your 3BL Forum fee to World Central Kitchen when you use the code JOSE2018VIP at http://3blforum.com/registration.)
A town hall focused on the Brands Taking Stands movement – including athletes and activism – will include NPR anchor Louise Schiavone, White House correspondent Eli Stokols of the Los Angeles Times and MSNBC, National Basketball Players Association Foundation Executive Director Sherrie Deans, and MSL U.S. CEO Ron Guirguis.
Ten “issue tables” allow CR, sustainability and communications professionals to engage in informal roundtable discussions on topics such as connecting procurement to sustainability, risks/rewards of brands taking stands, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and relevance to your reporting, connecting employee activism to corporate strategies, planning ahead before the disaster and more.
Two pre-conference workshops are slated for October 23 to provide focused discussion pertinent to corporate CR and sustainability work. “The New Normal: Unlocking Long-Term Value Through A Long-Term Lens” is presented by CECP and will feature best-in-class solutions and actual experiences of bridging the divide between investor relations and CR. It will feature presentations on how companies changed their approach to quarterly earnings calls and provide an inside perspective on the decision-making to focus on the long-term, challenges and barriers and transformative opportunities. “Strengthen Your Materiality Assessment and Maximize Its Value for Your Company” is presented by GRI and will examine materiality, the importance of stakeholder engagement and the value of boundary setting.
Those attending 3BL Forum will also hear new research on trends in sustainability communications and engage with C-suite executives as they are recognized at the CR Magazine Responsible CEO awards dinner.
Other upcoming 2018 events that also merit your attention are:
Social Good Summit, September 23, 92nd Street Y, New York City – Scheduled to coincide with the United Nations General Assembly, this event has star power. Whoopie Goldberg and the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir spoke last year. This year’s theme is #2030Now to emphasize the due date for the SDGs.
Global Engagement Forum: Live, October 10-11, Silver Spring Civic Center, Silver Springs, MD, includes both presentations and extended workshops on the theme “Solving the Solvable.” Among the subjects in scope at this PYXERA Global event are reducing post-harvest loss, ending energy poverty and eliminating marine debris.
Verge, October 15-18, Oakland Convention Center, Oakland, CA, is an exposition alongside a professional development conference featuring renewables, power grids and other green innovations. “Where technology meets sustainability,” is the tagline given to Verge by its operator, GreenBiz.
EHS&S Management Forum, October 23-26, Louisville Downtown Marriott, Louisville, KY, is NAEM’s annual conference for EHS and sustainability managers, directors and vice presidents.
Net Impact Annual Conference, October 25-28, Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, is the annual gathering of purpose-driven university students and the organizations seeking to harness their talents after graduation. This year’s theme is “outside the lines.
New Metrics, October 29-31, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Philadelphia, is a geek fest for those steeped in the monitoring, measurement and reporting functions surrounding sustainability. The goal of the event, is to “translate social and environmental impact into corporate financial performance indicators,” according to Sustainable Brands.
BSR Conference, November 6-8, Grand Hyatt, New York City, routinely pulls in CEOs and government leaders to address, as the convener’s name implies, the Business of Social Responsibility. The 2018 theme is “a new blueprint for business.”
Corporate Citizens Conference, November 14-15, Four Seasons, Washington, is the annual conference and awards gala run by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Center for Corporate Citizenship. In recent years, speakers have included U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and FUBU CEO and Shark Tank investor Daymond John.
Companies vs Climate Change, November 28-29, Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami, looks at environmental and social aspects of the warming planet while highlighting partnerships and solutions.
Join us at 3BL Forum: Brands Taking Stands – The Long View, just outside Washington, D.C. on October 23-25, 2018. Over three fast-paced and dynamic days, the conference will showcase corporate voices on bridging the divide between investor relations and corporate responsibility, the “why” and “how” behind corporate decision-making on corporate responsibility, sustainability and when to take a stand. Receive a 25% discount using this code PUNDIT2018VIP when you register here.
Image credit: Climate Reality Project/Unsplash