Sustainable Brands 2017: Five Micro-Lessons

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Sustainable Brands 2017: Five Micro-Lessons

stok recently attended Sustainable Brands’ annual conference, an exciting agglomeration of over 2,000 brand strategists, business leaders, and sustainability “cool kids” from 30+ countries. Another 1,000 people from 60+ countries joined via livestream.

The conference was held in Detroit, which was a fantastic backdrop for conversations about reinvention and innovation. Detroit has a great vibe and a killer emerging food scene, making us reminisce fondly about the Oakland we knew 10 years ago… but we digress!

This year’s conference theme was Redefining the Good Life, challenging business to view sustainability not as a responsibility, but an opportunity.

People, stories, and ideas we loved

Pashon Murray, the founder of Detroit Dirt, a company that embraces the circular economy by turning food waste into compost. We were psyched to accompany Pashon on site visits for the expansion of her company.

Detroit Ento, the winner of Sustainable Brands’ Innovation contest. The company specializes in the production and processing of insect proteins and byproducts for food, feed, and pharmaceuticals. If you’ve never considered crickets a “gateway bug” you need to check out Detroit Ento!

Nadya Zhexembayeva’s sobering yet inspirational message that today’s brands need to reinvent themselves every 3.5 years, and they need to do it during challenging growth phases (i.e. before it’s too late).

William McDonough’s quest to redefine carbon as a resource and a tool. Yes, you read that right. Consider that water is toxic if you surround yourself with it for six minutes.

Apple and the chutzpah they showed in announcing a goal to produce iPhones in a circular economic model without knowing exactly how to actually pull it off.

We’d be remiss if we neglected our own sessions!

Matt Macko made the case for impact investment by sharing how stok’s gun-free, fossil fuel-free retirement savings plan boosted employee engagement and enhanced our brand.

Warren Neilson shared insight into what makes sustainability programs succeed at major retail brands, using data to help brands identify specific reasons for failure or success.

See y’all next year!