The Sustainable Brands conference, held in San Diego from June 1-4, brought together nearly 2,000 sustainability, brand and design experts to help brands learn how to effectively scale their sustainability efforts now.
Experts agree that today’s successful companies are building long-term brand value by making sustainability a priority business driver. A recent study also revealed that 50 percent of consumers consider a company’s ethics before making a purchase, and 31 percent are willing to spend more to purchase a product from a company they consider to be ethically superior. Can your brand afford not to address these market segments?
It is imperative that brands build a sense of community with their customers in regard to sustainability. Customers who believe in a company’s commitment to sustainability tend to become loyal to that brand. When you speak to the core values of your customers about your brand’s commitment to sustainability, they become armed with information that reassures them they are making the right decision when choosing your company.
Conscious Connection attended a number of interesting, informative and inspiring sessions and spoke with leading experts during the conference. Recap reports of these sessions and discussions follow:
1. Insights on Consumer Attitudes and Behavior
Many consumers are becoming increasingly aware of sustainability crises the world is facing. In the first segment of the conference, leading researchers shared their insights about customer sentiment regarding sustainability. Topics included a benchmark study examining the impact of values on employment and spending decisions, the impact of Generation Z, marketing to Aspirationals, consumer segmentation in a global economy, and consumer perceptions regarding “corporate goodness.”
2. Sustainable Brand Communication via Social Media
Matthew Yeomans is the founder of Sustainly, a company that helps plan sustainability marketing and communication. Yeomans spoke on the topic of how brands communicate sustainability on social media. In his speech, he discussed how social media shook the foundations of brand marketing, and how brands need to approach consumers via social media in order to successfully pitch their sustainability efforts.
Pam Wilhelms, the owner of Wilhelms consulting group, discussed the steps that must be taken to implement large scale system change. She then called upon the leaders of Sustainable Surf, Volcom, Indosole, and Firewire to discussed their successes in sustainability vis-à-vis undertaking large scale system change.
Ramez Naam is a futurist and teacher at Singularity University. Naam spoke on the topic of conquering the world’s sustainability issues. While he acknowledges that the world is a current state of ecological crises, he believes that innovation in the areas of policy, technology, and business models will enable mankind to overcome.
Sustainable Brands held the conference at the Paradise Point Island Resort in San Diego. The resort is located on a beautiful 44-acre island featuring bungalow-style rooms, lush, tropical gardens, tranquil lagoons, and a mile of sandy beach. If you are looking to lounge, the hotel offers may options including five swimming pools and an award-winning spa. When you’re ready to work off some of the delicious fare from the hotel’s five dining options, the event also offers a diverse variety of activities including paddle boarding and yoga. During the conference, we also enjoyed eco-surf board demos at Mission Beach brought to us by Firewire and Sustainable Surf.
Sustainable Brands and Paradise Point worked together to walk the talk. Sustainable Brands has always been committed to reducing the environmental impact of its own events. For the second year in a row, Sustainable brands and Paradise Point set a goal of zero-waste (90% diversion from land-fill) across the entire island, including all restaurants and hotel rooms. Sustainable brands worked with Offsetters to ensure that 100% of the carbon emissions from the event were countered by projects with positive environmental impact. The water impact of the event, including attendee accommodations, was neutralized by support of Colorado River water restoration projects through Bonneville Environmental Foundation.
The conference worked with the chef in efforts to provide close to 100% of food provisions from local or sustainable sources. Sustainable Brands is proud that Paradise Point has instituted a permanent composting program, established their own sustainability team, implemented conservation efforts across the property, and established partnerships with more local farms for food sourcing.