A real shame: Some great upcoming Sustainability / CSR conferences but no livestream

I know what I would love to do the next one and a half weeks. Starting today I would be attending the NetImpact Conference in Michigan until Sunday and then fly to New York to get to the BSR 2010 conference starting on the 2nd of November.

Unfortunately I can not attend. I, like many others I believe, have a lot of other commitments for this time period but at the same time are highly interested in listening to and  watching several speeches and sessions via a livestream. We in Europe would be an ideal target audience for this kind of livestream because we could participate online during the evenings our Europe time (I am living in the UK and the time difference would make this possible).

But there is no such possibility to do so with these really interesting upcoming events. And this is a real shame.

Conference organizers are missing a trick here in my view
Imagine the scenario that NetImpact or BSR would provide a fairly inexpensive livestream ($150-300 USD) for some selected sessions during the conference such as the key note speeches and Q&A sessions. I am not asking for a live feed for every session but just the ones that have the best global appeal.

Financially this livestream possibility could also be very lucrative for conference organizers in my view. They might not be able to charge vast amounts of money as they do for the actual participants (which is another topic for a post) but from what I know is the Return on Investment (ROI) for online participants at the rate mentioned above is not really something I would turn down as a conference organizer. In my view conference organizers at these two conferences are really missing a trick here. Both financially and in terms of participation.

It can be done – Sustainable Brands 2010
This kind of online conference participation can be done as some other conference organizers have shown this year. One example was the 2010 Sustainable Brands conference which had this possibility of a live stream. I used this and I really enjoyed it.

We are living in exciting times when you look at the technology we already have at our disposal. It is therefore a shame that these two leading conferences do not provide and even attempt to engage a wider audience via this online participation even though we now have the technology at fairly inexpensive costs to do so.

This is my view on this and I hope some of the leading conference organizers will follow the examples of the last Sustainable Brands conference in 2010 and try to embrace the new age of technology by providing a livestream.

What is your view?

Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/4389124180/

Appreciation of the CSR / Sustainability work you do

Our work in the CSR / Sustainability can often be very difficult and not necessarily rewarding if you are constantly trying to create and promote change. Today’s post has a simple message:

Show your appreciation for someone’s work more often. Even if it is someone you do not know personally. I am sure they will appreciate it.

This email below reminded me of this simple but also so important aspect of our work. I got this message from someone (not to be disclosed for privacy reasons) a few days ago and only came across reading today:


Hi Fabian,

it is with joy that I came across your blog and sites. Just recently I realized that I want do work on something that I love such as sustainability. Perhaps at a sustainability office somewhere or a work that is directly impacting sustainable activities.

Obviously I cannot just quit my job and study a grad program in sustainability. I have financial obligations. However, I already know what I want. Now I need to get there. I have a blog that I intent to maintain as I grow more knowledgeable in the subject and to share the message. In doing some searches I came across one of your blogs.

I want to personally thank you for the great information you provide. It will certainly help me. I will be putting links to your stuff from my blog.

Take care.

So nice of this person to write this totally unsolicited email.

I believe that we need to take the time more often to write these kind of emails or messages in order to tell someone how much we appreciate the work they are doing in the CSR / Sustainability field. It will surely be something they will remember and appreciate.

Happy Monday everyone!

Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/clevercupcakes/3464578554

Will a sustainable future make everyone happier?

If you are reading this then you probably are interested in Sustainability. I am also assuming that we also agree on the fact that the human species on earth needs to strive being more sustainable because the way we live at the moment is not sustainable at all.

The purpose of today’s post is to briefly discuss the topic of happiness and its relationship to our sustainable future as I see it.

I am a happier person ( I know the term “happiness” is a bit general but lets just use it for the purpose of this post) because I have the opportunity to make a difference and promote a more sustainable way of doing business by providing companies with insights which help them to be more sustainable. The same is true for my personal life. I do not need to consume excessively  in order to be happy and I am keen to live my life as sustainable as possible.

But here is the issue. The reality is that the majority of people on this globe will not be a happier if we all try to live a more sustainable life. Aspects such as consumption and product variety will be hardest hit one we decide to lie a more sustainable lifestyle and the so called consumer-culture will quickly be a phenomenon of the past my view. In the end everything will have to be consumed in moderation because of our limited resources and everyone, from the rich and poor, will have to make cut backs and change the way they live life.

The big question
But can we as a species really adapt to consume in moderation, realistically scale down, make economic progress and be happier all at the same time?

My view
My answer is a clear ‘Yes we can’, simply because WE MUST change our ways. I also believe that we will find ways to innovate as well as be more sustainable. And this goes for each member of our society: Businesses, governments and individuals. Once we are finding ways to combine these different aspects happiness will be a consequence.

This is one of the big and important questions with regards to Sustainability in my view. I know that I am doing my best to convince my family and friends to live more sustainable (sometimes more effective and sometimes less unfortunately) but the crucial question is whether the majority of people on our planet will do the same.

My personal view on this particular topic is that we have no choice. WE NEED to make it possible. This is part of the purpose of Sustainability in my view. I also believe that in the end all of us will be happier then ever before because we, as a species, made change happen and paved the way for a more sustainable future for us and the generations to follow.

This is my view. What is  yours?

Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36176995@N05/3343552223

Video: A reminder that climate change is happening!

I am a Sustainability geek. I think pretty much everyone that follows my tweets, reads this blog or ever met me in person will agree with me.

A large part of this passion about Sustainability is routing from the urgency I feel to convince as many people as possible that climate change is happening and that we need to tackle climate change together to create the future for our children we want them to have.

Today’s video post is a reminder that we all need to do our best to convince everyone that Climate Change is happening. And who would be better suited to deliver this message….Al Gore of course.

Can augmented technology enhance CSR / Sustainability reporting?

We know that CSR / Sustainability reports are not the most interesting bedtime reading. Despite some great work by the individuals in the CSR / Sustainability departments a CSR / Sustainability report can not really be more then some pictures and text on a piece of paper at this point in time.

Todays post is about introducing you to the topic of augmented technology. Sounds very complex and techie but don’t worry it is really easy to understand. This is the general concept: By using augmented technology, in our case smart phones, we as readers will be able to have an enhanced view and perception of the content and pictures of this CSR / Sustainability report. If I have lost you here please bear with me and watch this video below.

Here is a video to provide you with a practical example of how this technology is being used already (please disregard the horrible facial hair of the presenter 😉 )

How can this technology could be used to enhance CSR / Sustainability Reports?
In many different ways is the answer. Here are some possibilities. First from a companies perspective and then from the stakeholder perspective.

Company Perspective
Let’s view this from a recycling/ waste company’s perspective: Here augmented technology (when you hold your smart phone (iPhone, etc.) in front of this picture) can be used to provide the reader with so much more context by using different layers in images. Imagine a derelict landscape which during the course of the years has been transformed into a wildlife sanctuary again. Here the company finally has the company to show past and present all in a sequence and not by having to explain everything in detail with lots of text which no one will read anyway.

Stakeholder Perspective
As a stakeholder, this technology enables us to find the interesting bits and pieces of information much easier. Imagine you are viewing a chart of selected environmental key indicators. Only the past 2 years are displayed in order for you to see the short term progress the company has made. But holding your smart phone in front of this chart you will be able to see 5 years worth of data if you interested in a longer term view of the data.

The picture on the right is showing some glaciers in the Alps. By holding your iPhone towards them, the distance to these glaciers from your location and their altitude is being displayed.

These are only two examples (as you know I like to keep it short) on how this technology could be used to enhance CSR / Sustainability Reports. But enough from me now.

What is your view?
What is your view on this technology? Have you come across it before and do you think this would be valuable to enhance CSR / Sustainability reports?

Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/10812666@N03/4271298758