Attending the Sustainable Brands Conference, Vancouver 2018 was an enlightening, frightening, and a somewhat hopeful experience. I can’t think of a better place to host a conference dedicated to promoting sustainable business practices than in Vancouver’s inner harbor, an incredibly beautiful built in its glory alongside white capped mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
I was a newbie, I was totally in learning mode, listening to speakers from some of the world’s newest, oldest and most well-known corporations like: Proctor & Gamble, Starbucks, REI, National Geographic, Patagonia, Target, Lyft, Ben & Jerry’s, LUSH, Target and the list goes on. Over the course of 4 days, I attended multiple discussion, panels and workshops. All of which exposed me to an idea I never really considered, corporations and brands taking a leadership role in fostering positive social change. I always thought of large corporations as the enemy of the environment and the people. (I’m not saying that my perspective totally changed.)
The idea that resonated most with me and that I embraced as part of my own business model was being unafraid to lead with your values. This is not a novel concept by any means, it just seemed to be impossible for a me, a woman who is passionate about and totally committed to putting community first, fighting for women’s rights and human rights, while protecting the environmental and wildlife that is quickly being destroyed. I’ve always thought I had to hide those parts of me to be successful in business, compromise and go with the flow. As it turns out, values are in demand and people don’t just want to be sold something, they want to belong to something, something good.