(I posted this earlier today on my Fast Company Experts blog and was encouraged to cross-post it here. I hope you will read it and contact me if you are interested in collaborating on this important topic)
I have spent the last few days at the Sustainable Brands conference in Monterey, CA. The event brings together some of the most infuential people in corporate, nonprofit, media, and other key arenas for a conversation about how to operate in more environmentally efficient and appropriate ways and what impacts of the green movement have on marketing, branding, and the like. I was a member of the planning committee for the event and led a discussion about social networking.
(NOTE: I suppose I should make a disclosure about the fact that Fast Company was a sponsor - though I didn't actually have anything to do with that).
There have been a few interesting case studies shared, some new research discussed, and a lot of good networking conducted. It is clear that everyone here is interested in more than just being successful in their professional pursuits related to green and sustainability, but fully committed also to improving life on this planet as well. Still, I fear that not enough progress was made here in terms of actually figuring out what the future of green business and communication should look like. I'm concerned that there was too much looking back - reviewing who has been successful (and to a limited extent why) and not enough collaborative learning and problem solving about the major challenges that still exist.
I want us to make progress. I want companies and organizations to look at the challenges that face our world as a result of the climate crisis and commit more time and energy to finding real solutions. I want companies to see the environment as a business, moral, and other imperative - not just an opportunity to make money or please shareholders (and I am not saying all do, but there is definitely some lip service being paid to this effort still). And I want to be a part of that work.
I feel as if I have a pretty good grasp of the challenges that busineses and organizations face. I know what the work companies and organizations are doing around this effort looks like from the perspective of a consumer, a parent, an employee, a consultant, a concerned citizen, a blogger/author/speaker. I have something to add. And I am not along, there are lots of people like me looking to get involved.
So, I want to propose that we organize a real, serious effort to solve the big challenges — together. I want all the smart, aware, passionate, experienced, committed people who think the climate crisis is one of major challenges to work collectively on this. I want us to go beyond attending conferences and listening to eachother speak about these issues, and instead roll up our sleeves and truly collaborate. It happens a little already, but so much more is possible.
I don't know exactly what it looks like or what form it should take. Maybe it will be an ongoing discussion, a meeting, a summit, an online community, a few additional blog posts, a manifesto, a TV show. It may not require a structure at all to be succesful. Or, it might change structure to accomodate change in the marketplace. But it has to happen.
So, if you are interested in being a part of the solution, to working on these issues, to being part of something a little bigger than yourself, your company, or other group, let me know. I'll start collecting names, sharing them around, introducing people, and seeing where that gets us. And if anyone else is already doing something like this, I hope they will include me as well.
The Future of Green is about working hard, making tough choices, breaking down barriers, putting aside ego and organizational boundaries. It will take everything we've got. And we've wasted too much time already. So let's get started.