Aron Cramer, President and CEO, BSR

In just a few short weeks, at the BSR Conference 2014, we will explore the theme “Transparency and Transformation”—two ideas whose reality and urgency are growing clearer by the day.

From Google Glass to Edward Snowden to the Internet of Things, transparency is reshaping our lives in ways large and small. It is a great leveler, undermining the monopoly on information that large institutions have held for hundreds of years. Transparency also has enabled great opportunities and created new challenges for every institution, from business to government to civil society.

At this year’s Conference, we will hear insights from leaders who are working to transform their institutions amid these changes.

The four CEOs who will be speaking at the BSR Conference are each aiming to remake their companies. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has set goals to change the product mix, with a growing focus on nutritious options. GSK CEO Andrew Witty has led the establishment of a new business unit specifically designed to offer access to crucial products in developing economies. H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson is spearheading both “conscious consumption” and the provision of a living wage to workers in his company’s supply chain. And Maersk Group CEO Nils S. Andersen has pioneered lower-impact ocean shipping through the creation of new vessels and processes.

BSR Conference speakers from civil society also will be sharing their approaches to transformation. Ford Foundation President Darren Walker is helping build a more inclusive form of prosperity by attacking the inequality that is threatening to erode economic progress. Ellen MacArthur, who once showed the world how fast one human can circumnavigate the globe, is now showing us a fundamentally new model of economic activity by championing the circular economy. MIT’s Ethan Zuckerman is challenging assumptions and proposing new technology platforms to transform civic engagement. And High Line Cofounder Robert Hammond reimagined an abandoned railway line as an elevated urban park, revitalizing a New York neighborhood.

These changes do not come easily; transformation seldom does. What connects each of these leaders is a clear vision tied to the core activities of their organizations. Each of them also understands that vision is a necessary but not sufficient part of making big change happen. For that, systemic change is needed, and that comes only with a commitment to collaboration.

We are proud that the BSR Conference gathers a powerful community of people who understand the importance of the vision these leaders bring—and who are themselves dedicated to translating that vision into transformative outcomes.

To learn more about the plenary speakers at the BSR Conference 2014, visit http://bsr14.org.