How Major Brands Are Activating Purpose


For over a decade, Sustainable Brands® has been elevating the business case for embedding environmental and social purpose into the core of a brand. We’ve demonstrated that building a new, sustainable economy requires a whole systems shift that requires us to move from the concept of purpose-driven brand leadership to the point where we are developing real tools, techniques, methods and models for activating both personal and brand purpose. This move from concept to activation is what we call Activating Purpose: the theme for our 2016 conference circuit. To help unfold this theme throughout our event, we’ll showcase the inspiring ways that brands are activating their purpose on the mainstage. Then we move into deeper discussions within the breakout sessions that focus on the “how-to’s,” and the tools and models that will help brands develop resilient and regenerative business models to serve the new economy.

Let’s take a look at what’s new for Sustainabel Brands ’16 Copenhagen. Along with three traditional tracks (below), a new track called Inside the Value Chain will take a deep dive into whole value chains with the goal of identifying hotspots and respective innovation throughout the lifecycle — from sourcing, to production, to transportation, to use phase, to end of life, and beyond. Brands such as Carlsberg, adidas, Marimekko and Stora Enso will showcase cutting edge innovations in their respective specific portion of the product value chain and Marks & Spencer will share the pioneer work it’s done with its Plan A to influence multiple value chains that it touches. The aim of this new track is to help attendees find ways to partner both internally and externally in order to shift innovation pipelines at scale; to engage suppliers and vendors in the pursuit of unified purpose along the whole value chain; and to track the evolution and future promise of certification and labeling schemes in purpose-proofing critical impact hotspots along the value chain. Throughout this track, we’ll focus heavily on consumer engagement because no matter how much innovation or new technology we develop, change cannot happen without consumer behavior change. Because of this, we encourage attendees to join the discussion and participate in the debates.

Three other tracks round out the program: Macro Trends & Drivers, Leadership & Employee Engagement and Brand Strategy & Communication, and each have several fantastic speakers confirmed with groundbreaking content to share.

  • The Macro Trends & Drivers track focuses on the landscape of global forces that are creating conditions for purpose-driven businesses to scale and thrive. Brands such as Novozymes BASF, LEGO, DONG Energy and others will explore new intelligence around social, environmental and technological megatrends and their implications for purpose-driven brands; others will share on aligning the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with brand strategy.
  • The Leadership & Employee Engagement track focuses on employee engagement and organizational development aimed at boosting performance and embedding environmental and social purpose into the core of brands. Leading brands such as L’Oreal and organizations such as Collectively will share how to build high performance teams by harnessing individual and team purpose in support of brand purpose; others will share how to cultivate purpose-driven leadership and influence from a variety of belief systems.
  • Finally, the Brand Strategy & Communication showcases win-win strategies for connecting brand purpose with customer purpose. Attendees will learn from visionaries such as Sandja Brugmann of the Refresh Agency on how to mainstream sustainability challenges and opportunities through the unifying power of the universal human search for meaning and purpose. We’ll learn from We’ll learn from Heineken, Arla, Sprout, Goodvertising, Sustainly, and Radley Yeldar and others how to translate the language of sustainability into a purpose- and values-centric language that customers relate. We’ll hear how to influence customer demand and behavior in favor of more sustainable consumption norms from Context Partners, Krukow, and Innate Motion among other leading players.

Join nearly 500 thought leaders, brand innovators, designers, and global business leaders in Copenhagen on September 26-28, 2016 to explore these topics and more, and to learn from and connect with hundreds of innovators — including all of the brands mentioned in this post and many, many more. A global conference with the backdrop of Northern Europe, SB’16 Copenhagen will showcase recent and major global events that impact how brands are innovating and realigning their purpose and in doing so, leading the way to a flourishing future.

Image credit: Marks & Spencer

Share this with your network