Let’s face it: Sustainability conferences often gather likeminded people to talk about shared challenges and how to work toward goals that are seldom questioned or challenged. These events don’t always succeed at taking people out of their comfort zone to question assumptions, acknowledge what’s not working, and think through fundamentally different ways of doing things.
I hope that the BSR Conference 2016 will break that mold. We did not choose our theme—Be Bold—lightly. All of us at BSR celebrated the twin accomplishments of 2015: the groundbreaking Paris Agreement, and alignment around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We now have a bold template for the creation of a just and sustainable world. All that’s required is a bold commitment to action, and we have tried to shape our Conference with that in mind.
Bold Questions: We won’t shy away from asking some tough questions. What should business do about income inequality? What will it take for businesses to contribute to global warming of no more than 2˚C? Why aren’t more CEOs activists? Asking bold questions isn’t guaranteed to deliver easy answers, but failing to ask guarantees failure.
Bold Ideas: We will showcase speakers who have new ideas about how to achieve essential goals. Andy Stern will present his thoughts on why the time has come for a universal basic income. Joel Makower and Mark “Puck” Mykleby will explain their vision of a “grand strategy” for the United States that will put sustainable development at the center of national purpose.
Bold Goals: The Paris Agreement and the SDGs are bold goals for the world. Is your company keeping pace? The days when companies shied away from setting targets they couldn’t guarantee are over. In today’s world, bold is the new safe. Hear from leaders like General Mills CEO Ken Powell, who put his company on a path to slash its carbon footprint, knowing that it would require massive commitments from supply chain partners.
Bold Actions: Ultimately, our agenda is designed to empower bold action. Questions, ideas, and goals are only as good as the actions taken to make a vision a reality. Sustainability leaders know that change does not come easily, and at BSR16, we will be highlighting leaders—at all levels of business—who have made change happen through individual company actions, business collaborations, and multistakeholder partnerships. On the opening night of the Conference, Christiana Figueres will share her thoughts on how she succeeded in forging a climate deal where so many others have failed. And she will also outline what comes next, as we work collectively to take bold action to keep warming well below 2°C.
I hope that this year’s Conference will be a place where you can challenge your assumptions, hear new ideas, and step outside of your comfort zone. And here’s our promise to you: If you come to this year’s edition of the BSR Conference, you will walk away with some new ideas, bold ways of accomplishing your goals, and renewed energy to achieve our shared goal—a very bold one—of creating a sustainable economy that truly works for everyone.
The early registration period for the BSR Conference 2016 ends on June 30. Register now to take advantage of our most discounted rates.
Editor’s note: Since the publication date of this blog, the “Why Aren’t More CEOs Activists?” session has been canceled. The BSR Conference program and scheduled speakers list are subject to change, so we encourage you to continuously check back for updates.