1% for the Planet sponsored the 2012 Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego, CA last week. We connected with hundreds of business-leaders to build the business-case for our movement, and left the event inspired that the business world is awakening to the challenge. SB12 was packed with interesting seminars, presentations, workshops and side conversations that cut through the hype with a lot of brutal honesty about the challenges companies face regarding sustainability and consumer-trust. 1% for the Planet was often referenced as a network where companies are walking the talk and succeeding financially at the same time.
In the Causeway breakout session, I presented a quick case study about how membership in our network gives businesses a platform of credibility and transparency to engage and inspire all their stakeholders. The Advocate Weeks program by Patagonia Footwear is a beautiful example of how environmental giving can be localized to mobilize employees and activists, driving social engagement and tremendous business success. Do the employees of your wholesale customers write songs and produce music videos about your product, just for fun?
Patagonia Footwear has figured out how to inspire this kind of engagement, while driving triple digit retail sales growth during Advocate Weeks and funding environmental work that local communities care about.
The highlight of the event was the Playhouse dinner and music show that we sponsored. We brought 1% for the Planet member Chris Velan and his band to a beautiful outdoor venue and his music had hundreds of people dancing with joy. We also invited one of our local Recipients, Guitars in the Classroom, (GITC) to help us kick off the music with a group of local elementary school students who played a song from their “Green Song Book” while Chris played along in the background. (Jack Johnson and his wife Kim helped GITC publish this book that educates kids about environmental issues through songs). GITC is an innovative organization that brings music and educational enrichment programs focused on environmental issues to children in dozens of communities in the US. There were many a teary-eye in the audience as these kids really brought home why we all are working for a sustainable environment for future generations.
After our Playhouse presentation dozens of people told me things like “Wow, now I get it. Hearing how membership works from a couple of your member companies, and seeing the impact your movement is having through non-profits like Guitars in the Classroom, now I really get what you guys are all about and I want to be part of this.”