Shelton Insights will spend the next four days in San Diego at the Sustainable Brands ’13 conference, which started in 2007 with around 200 attendees. This year, Marie Perriard, Sustainable Brands director of Global Brand & Communications, reports the conference will likely host 2,000.
“This year’s theme is ‘From Revolution to Renaissance’ because last year we were seeing an uprising from consumers,” says Perriard. “They said, ‘We want to understand what’s inside the products we buy.’ They want to see traceability from inside the organizations down to the supply chain.”
“And companies are stepping up to say, ‘We can innovate and leverage sustainability and create new products and services.’ The unleashing of this creativity is the renaissance.”
We’ve been coming to Sustainable Brands for four years and have seen it evolve into a business-focused conference helping brands understand the return on investment inherent in sustainability. We’re particularly interested in talking to companies about how they’re dealing with the corporate profits treadmill.
Companies complain that they can’t invest for the long term because they have to meet quarterly goals. But, in fact, they make long-term investments all the time. Successful firms are making the business case for sustainability being a long-term investment worth making.
We’re seeing, in our new Eco Pulse data, undeniable evidence that sustainability is no longer a bolt-on initiative that only a small niche cares about, but rather a true differentiator that helps companies connect to emerging consumer values and increase brand loyalty.
“Our conversation is aligning sustainability and brands,” says Perriard. “We talk about helping companies embed sustainability into the core of their brands and leveraging sustainability as a driver of business value.”
However, sustainability officers are often the Lone Rangers, pushing the rock uphill in their corporations. At Sustainable Brands, we will be looking for compelling narratives showing that sustainability is not a flash in the pan or a flavor of the month.
We will also be listening for plans companies are making to prepare for a future with more constrained resources. How are companies facilitating the secondary market for their products and developing alternative ownership models? We’ll seek out the latest insights into the collaborative economy, and we’ll report back with our own research, analysis and perspective.
We’ll also learn how they are addressing the sustainable attitudes and emerging buying power of the Millennials, a group that questions everything, demands authenticity and embraces change.
“A new economy is already unfolding around us,” says Sustainable Brands founder KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz, “and we’ll explore how you can both contribute to and capitalize on it.”