Sustainable Brands Conference: 3 Powerful Moments

July 9, 2015

Sustainable Brands is a conference we look forward to every year: the perfect intersection of brands and innovation, defining and communicating sustainability and social responsibility. This year’s topic was How Now? It focused on how we as communicators, sustainability experts, engineers, planners and stakeholders can take what we have learned over the past decade of corporate social responsibility advancements and apply it not only to today’s challenges, but the challenges we are sure to face in the coming years. Here are my top three most powerful moments from the conference and what we can learn from them. It’ll be like you had a front-row seat yourself…

1. Words are POWER.
Prince Ea isn’t exactly a household name – yet. But you’ll be glad you know him when you watch this incredibly powerful video about how sorry we all will be if we don’t change the course of our collective actions now. If you do one thing today for collective awareness around sustainability issues, it should be to share this video far and wide on your social media networks. Words. Are. Power.

2. The choices we make affect more people than you may realize.
When I saw that the Tronie Foundation was a plenary speaker, I did not know who they were or what they were advocating. Why did Sustainable Brands give prime time to an organization that many of us had never heard of? I quickly discovered why: the Tronie Foundation was founded by a woman named Rani Hong, who was a victim of child trafficking, forced to work for no money at a young age. Rani overcame unbelievable odds, turning her horror story into a success story. Consumers are taking note of not only what they are purchasing, but also where the supplies and labor are coming from.

3. Expect the Unexpected.
I was again pleasantly surprised and in awe of the power of unexpected partnerships and campaigns. Heineken stole the show in this sense, previewing their Drink Less, Dance More campaign. As an alcoholic beverage company, you would predict their message would be to push more product. But that was not the case with this clever and uplifting campaign. Heineken makes it cool to dance more, and drink less, by partnering with one of today’s hottest DJs to encourage more dancing, more water… and less beer!

I’m already looking forward to next year’s lineup of speakers. Check their upcoming conference schedule here and be sure to reach out for next year’s San Diego conference – we’ll save you a seat in the front row.

Katie Michel is a Vice President for Ketchum’s Purpose practice. An energetic and detail-oriented project leader, she has deep institutional sustainability and corporate social responsibility knowledge, having spent the last 10+ years managing and executing high-profile sustainability communications strategies. Follow Katie on Twitter, @krmichel.