Sustainability-Led Innovation: Imperative in a Volatile Economy

An Update from KoAnn Skrzyniarz, Founder of Sustainable Brands
Aug 10, 2016 1:00 PM ET

Update: SB'16 Copenhagen

We live in an increasingly complex and volatile world. Changes sparked by the steady march of globalization, the reshaping of consumer and job markets, the impact of climate change, and the expansion of the Internet, among other influences, are reshaping customer priorities at local, national and global levels. Around the world, consumer trust in brands is low, brand relevance is increasingly in question, and the expectation that businesses deliver on VALUES as well as VALUE is becoming a consistent demand to a world in transition.

Managing in times like this is difficult. Often, our instinct is to go into a protective mode by cutting costs and investment. But for awake and creative brands, challenges and change present the biggest moments of opportunity for reinvention and rebooting relevance in response to a changing world.

This is Such a Moment

We can already see examples of long standing brands making successful pivots in response. Particularly, smart challenger brands with their finger closely on the pulse of a changing customer are completely up-ending the markets within which they operate. What’s the secret to profitability and enhanced value running through these success stories, across markets, regions and at scale? They have re-thought how they can deliver real meaning and purpose to their customers. They are redefining their brand purpose and embedding it into the core of all that they do. They are adopting a new ‘whole systems’ mindset to retool for net positive social and environmental impact that creates a seamless story from the inside out. And in doing so, they are re-engaging customers, rebuilding trust and creating partnerships with their customers on the journey to a better world.

Striking a balance between managing for the short term and re-tooling for a future where delivering purpose and sustainability is part of the cost of doing business is not easy. It is not enough to craft a new marketing campaign; in fact starting with marketing, before getting the product and offer right, can backfire. Bringing a truly sustainable brand to market in the 21st century requires a whole new mindset and new set of methods, tools and partners.

Building off 15 years of developing this expertise, Sustainable Brands has become the preeminent peer community of purpose-led brand innovators in the world. By becoming part of the Sustainable Brands community, you have access to the top thought leadership, paradigm-changing solutions providers and designers, and tools that enable brands to thrive through current challenges and beyond. Sustainable Brands is the learning platform that enables businesses to harness the emerging trends in systems thinking, to embrace new business models and methodologies, to accurately assess risks and resources, and to foster connection and communication with stakeholders. This platform empowers courageous optimists to confront present challenges, while staying the course toward a flourishing future for all.

Co-Creation and Innovation

Creating a sustainable business means not just finding ways to innovate and evolve internally; it requires looking outward to explore new points of view, to identify partners to actualize and activate purpose, and to co-create methodologies and models that scale and produce meaningful results. The future belongs to innovators who recognize the interdependence between businesses and nature, energy and human resources, and the connection between the economy, the Earth and our communities. The limits on our resources must be honored to ensure that future generations will prosper, and brands are in a unique position to guide and influence this process.

The Sustainable Brands community gives voice and place to this work, enriching our understanding of the connection between the economy and the sustainability of business, society and the environment. Together we are creating and activating on new ideals for economic and business purpose. Join us to be part of this movement and add your voice to the chorus at SB’16 Copenhagen this 26-28 September, where we will explore these topics and dozens more in a collaborative, supportive and proactive setting.

The North Star of Sustainability Goal-Setting and Leadership: How to Build a Future-Fit Business

What you will learn:

  • In-depth understanding of the latest version of the Future-Fit Business Benchmark, a new standard for setting science-based sustainability goals and measuring performance against them
  • Learn why science-based goal-setting is critical to moving businesses to the next level of achieving results and activating purpose in meaningful ways
  • How this new standard works as a performance guide for companies that want to flourish while adding to the wellbeing of society as a whole and how early adopters are using this tool as a path to building a regenerative business model

Who should attend:

  • C-Suite executives, sustainability leads and senior managers, senior strategists, risk management leads and managers, supply chain sustainability leads and managers

Steering a Product Portfolio Toward Sustainability

What you will learn:

  • Insights into a market-leading framework for assessing product portfolio sustainability from experienced practitioners
  • The drivers and benefits of sustainability assessment for product portfolios and how they can help transform core business strategy and yield new value
  • Through interactive exercises in small working groups, systematically evaluate products and drive sustainable solutions that can be applied to your own brand’s product steering

Who should attend:

  • Sustainability leads and senior managers, product innovation leads, senior strategists, marketing and sales managers, sustainability consultants

Understanding and Developing the Capacity for Transformative Partnerships

What you will learn:

  • The know-how needed for developing three types of innovative partnerships that are useful in helping brands advance the scope and quality of their sustainability initiatives
  • New research data summarizing the collective experience of 30+ brands that have dedicated significant resources to building a variety of new partnerships for sustainability
  • Examples of transformative sustainability-driven partnerships between brands and NGOs, brands and cities, and across brands

Who should attend:

  • Brand strategists, stakeholder and community engagement managers, senior strategists, marketing leads and senior managers, communication and PR professionals, supply chain sustainability leads and managers, sustainability professionals

Transformational Leadership and Integration: Synthesizing over a Decade of Best Practices

What you will learn:

  • Harvard University’s popular Core Business Innovation for Sustainability (CBIS) model as a practical approach to organizational change while activating purpose
  • Results of a decade of thought leadership and practice from successful sustainability professionals
  • Unleash your organization’s potential to integrate sustainability into the core of its business as an essential driver of cultural change, innovation, strategic planning and competitive advantage

Who should attend:

  • Sustainability, strategy and human resources professionals on any level, from C-Suite executives to early-career analysts and other contributors

We look forward to seeing you there!

KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz 
Sustainable Brands Worldwide

View this original post on

Call +1 415.626.2212 or email for more information