Recap: Top 3 Presentations from Sustainatopia 2017

We just returned from attending Sustainatopia, one of the leading events in the world for social, financial and environmental sustainability and impact.

Held May 7-10, 2017, in San Francisco, California at the Marines Memorial Club and Hotel, I’m still astounded that the conference made such an impact on me.

I experienced first-hand what can happen when you bring together like-minded, passionate people. It sparks great conversation and innovative thinking which leads to the solving of critical issues like climate change.

Invitation to Participate

This was our first time attending Sustainatopia, but when they put the call out for speakers, we knew that we had to submit a proposal be a speaker. We interviewed with John Rosser, Founder of Sustainatopia, and not long after, were invited to participate.

We were honored to be in attendance with companies including Yahoo!, Albertsons, LOHAS, Rev, Sungevity, Good Company Ventures, CEA (Clean Energy Advisors), Pirelli, sagegreenlife, RBC, FIgBytes, and numerous other attendees that are investors in the social sector.

Here are my top three presentations along with my key takeaways.

1. Little Insanities: Change Our Behavior, Change our World

The presenters were a team from REV consisting of Miles Hoffman, Product Development Program Manager, and Elliot Hoffman, CEO and Founder, who also happen to be father and son.

Takeaway #1 - With REV’s mission to destroy the myth that sustainability is a cost center, and instead, to think about sustainability as, at its most basic level, as the reduction of waste that leads to economic and psychic benefit.

REV had an remarkable presentation that was created by one of their employees, depicting the insanities of what we do around the climate!


70% of people in the U.S. agree that global warming is happening, but only 40% believe it will impact THEM!

Sustainability is good for business because it can:

  • increase revenue and market share
  • increase efficiency
  • attract and retain great people
  • improve risk management

Miles and Elliot’s claims were all supported by case studies which really helped to prove the positive impact of sustainability.

2. Leading Stakeholder Engagement within Fortune 500s

Panel members:

Takeaway #1 - Emmy Negrin (@Yahoo), a manager for Yahoo For Good, spoke about their social impact projects and employee engagement programs where she manages the Yahoo Employee Foundation (YEF), a grassroots, philanthropic organization called that gives Yahoo employees easy and accessible ways to give back.

Takeaway #2 - Jonathan Mayes (@Albertsons) was an outstanding panel moderator and shared great insights about how Fortune 500s are working with non-government organizations (NGOs) and how beneficial this relationship is.

3. It All Starts with Design

Panel members:

Takeaway #1 - Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.

It is amazing how nature has adapted to its surroundings to survive and thrive for billions thousands of years and yet we humans are struggling to figure it out.

Takeaway #2 - In Tamsin Woolley-Barker’s book, Teeming: How Superorganisms Work Together to Build Infinite Wealth on a Finite Planet (and your company can too). She describes that today's global organizations need a new way to sense and respond to change. With just four simple principles ― Collective Intelligence, Distributed Leadership, Swarm Creativity, and Regenerative Value ― Teeming shows how these simple individuals pool their diverse and independent experiences to create rich hotspots of abundance and exquisite resilience to change. We can do it too. Order Teeming on Amazon to learn more!

Takeaway #3 - It was really eye-opening to understand reuse and innovation through the eyes of nature.


Relan Wrap Up

As you can see, Sustainatopia was truly inspiring! Themes that continue to motivate us at Relan are:

  • We all need to be telling good stories so we are able to….
  • Change our mindset so we can change the world
  • Social companies are growing and changing the way we do business
  • From companies run by solopreneurs to the Fortune 500, it’s extremely important to implement sustainability practices

Keep the conversation going between your company and customers to let them know that they have the power to change the world. Relan can help you with this so email us today to get started!

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