Sustainable Brands Conference 2012 – Highlights

SBLondon, the 6th annual conference from global business community Sustainable Brands, is taking place in London’s West End over the next two days and organisers have generously set up a free video-feed from the £1200-a-ticket conference. I tuned into the plenary sessions earlier today, to learn more about sustainable strategy, teamwork, customer engagement and behaviour change. If you missed the first day of the conference, here are some of the highlights from the feed:

Charlie Attenborough, MD for International Advertising at National Geographic, introduced Greendex, the National Geographic’s global study of sustainable consumption. The survey highlighted the behaviours and attitudes of consumers in 17 different countries and aggregated data on housing practices, transport, food and consumer goods into a sustainability score for each nation. Some interesting points from the survey include:

  • India, China & Brazil have the highest sustainability scores for 2012.
  • Overall, in 2012 there were more decreases in nations’ sustainability scores than increases, when compared with 2010.
  • Consumers in developing countries are more likely to feel guilty about their environmental impact, despite having the smallest environmental footprint.
  • Consumers in developing nations are more likely to view sustainability in light of pollution, species loss and access to fresh water.
  • Consumers in developed nations are more likely to view impacts in terms of the economy and the cost of fuel

Raphael Bemporad, Chief Strategy Officer at BBMG, drew attention to a new report from The Regeneration Roadmap project. The Regeneration Consumer Study highlighted the divide between sustainable intentions and real-world purchase priorities, along with a desire, among global consumers, to contribute to sustainable business solutions.
Snippits from the report include

  • 66% of global consumers feel that “as a society, we need to consume a lot less to improve the environment for future generations”.
  • 75% of consumers would “purchase more products that are environmentally and socially responsible” if they “performed as well as, or better than, products they usually buy”.
  • 67% of consumers are “interested in sharing their ideas, opinions and experiences with companies to help them develop better products or create new solutions”.

Benita Matofska, ‘Chief Sharer’ at The People Who Share, reminded us of the importance of sharing finite resources within a growing global population, and of the benefits of sharing resources and talent within business, with help from this nifty video:

Jo Daniels, from Business in the Community, Mark Walker of Zipcar UK, Amanda Long, from the East Anglia Co-operative Society and Matt Sexton, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at B&Q, introduced the concept of Choice Editing. The panel discussed ways to ‘edit out’ damaging consumer behaviour by limiting product choice and the benefits and challenges this can create.

Author, John Grant, presented inspiring tales of lesser-known successful sustainability initiatives from around the globe and finally, Gail Klintworth, Chief Sustainability Officer at Unilever, discussed the leadership skills required to reshape organisations for a sustainable future.

The live video feed resumes tomorrow (Wednesday 28th November 2012) at 9am. Tune in, or watch the entire feed again on demand, here.

Adam ‘Tass’ Gerschel-Clarke