Posts Tagged ‘san francisco’

Sustainable Meetings Conference 2014 | Recap

May 29, 2014

On April 15-17, the Annual Sustainable Meetings Conference — hosted by the Green Meeting Industry Council brought together professionals from all corners of the meetings and events industry — planners, suppliers, service providers, and destination representatives — around a single mission: transforming an industry by integrating sustainability into the entire life-cycle of event planning and execution. The event is an opportunity to gain new tools, share best practices and transferable lessons, network with peers and leaders in the industry, and get inspired to continue your efforts alongside like-minded professionals in the community.

This was our first year working with GMIC on the event and they wanted a new spin on the event logo, branding and overall identity. Our first step was taking the existing SMC logo, toning it down a bit and tying it together with the GMIC brand. Working with GMIC, we were able to develop a brand that connects directly to GMIC and that can be reused consistently in upcoming years, with only slight modifications to the date.


Event Highlights

  1. Select conference sessions/content were made available to a virtual audience with facilitation through Plan Your Meetings and live steaming YouTube + SnappyTV videos.
  2. Collectively packaged 29,808 meals in one hour for Stop Hunger Now.
  3. Attendees experienced sustainability in action with 11 different tours around the city of San Francisco.

Click the image below to view select photos from the 2014 event. Photos courtesy of Bay Area Event Photography.











Founder + Publisher Brian Back Gives The Scoop on 2010 Sustainable Industries Economic Forums

July 7, 2010

Sustainable Media, Inc. aims to re-inspire the intrepid early adopters of sustainable business practices. With President + Owner Brian Back at the helm, the Sustainable Industries Economic Forums sprang up as a way to bring everyone under the same roof and elevate the conversations around sustainability and economic development to the next level. In our interview, Brian shares his vision for the Economic Forums and the role they play in getting business done with a decidedly deep green twist.

SE: What is the inspiration behind Sustainable Industries Economic Forums?
The forums have been around since 2004 in Portland and Seattle. Over the years the event has evolved quite a bit, but the original intent was to provide and foster local economic development discussions around sustainability, because at the time hardly anybody was talking about it—especially not in an event format. We used to have economists come and talk about the hard data that existed around what we now define as sustainable industry. Back then it was kind of new frontier. It was really interesting to look at whether this was all a bunch of woo-ha or whether there was real economic potential there.

That was back in 2004-2005. Now we’ve spread to new cities, attracted more high-profile speakers and we’re still talking a lot about the economic impact of sustainability—and having frank discussions around that—but the real mission of the Economic Forums today is to re-inspire the inspired.

We usually have a higher-than-average level of dialogue at these events. They aren’t Sustainability 101 forums; they’re for people who have been carrying the torch for a while. They’re meant to let those people be re-inspired through hearing great speakers talk about the more sophisticated aspects of sustainability 2.0. We want to engage these people—that’s also kind of the whole purpose of Sustainable Industries at large—and to re-inspire them, connect them to each other and help them continue to get business done, so they can so the great work that they do.

SE: Who are some of the standout speakers leading the conversation for this year’s attendees?
Last year we changed up the format in that we now try to have an anchor keynote for the whole series, backed up by local, sustainable business leaders speaking on their respective expertise. Last year we had Paul Hawken, the noted author and sustainability thinker. We’ve also had Arianna Huffington, Ray Anderson and Van Jones in the past.

This year we’re bringing in a new and exciting speaker that many people haven’t heard much about and that’s Cameron Sinclair of Architecture For Humanity. We’ve connected with him quite a bit in the past few years and he’s a very inspirational person. He does a lot of innovative work through design around the world, helping places that have been struck by tragedy—like Haiti—and bringing sustainable business to these regions with a deeper social integration. This year, we’re looking more at the social aspect of business and sustainability, and we’re really excited to have Cameron with us to lead that conversation.

SE: What does Sustainable Industries hope will happen as a result of these forums in the communities where they’re taking place?
It really goes back to our mission of re-inspiring the inspired and connecting people to get business done. We want to have a big impact. This event series is very different from anything out there. And I’m obviously a little biased in terms of my support and appreciation of it, but I still believe it’s a really valuable and unique event.

A lot of Business-to-Business (B2B) breakfasts or half day events are now trying to discuss sustainability. And unfortunately a lot of them are really mundane. They’re not inspired events. They’re not thinking of the next level of sustainable enterprise and a new B2B experience for sustainability.

Something that’s really rewarding about our event is the energy charge in the room. It’s always present and it infects the dialogue and gets people ramped up about the topics we’re discussing. It feels like it’s an efficient use of time, which is important in today’s world. Plus the networking is very high-caliber and it’s a classy event. People get amped up on the coffee and get really charged on the connectivity they can tap into.

SE: Why is it so crucial for people doing business with sustainability in mind to have access to these conversations?
These events are regional and you get to have very localized conversations. That gives you an advantage in that you’re reaching people who are very apt to get business done plus they’re here with their peers. The value is that these conversations are going beyond what we’ve heard before. You know, taking the “how do I “go green?” or “how do I get LEED certification?” to the next level and inspiring new thought and innovation. And there needs to be a place for that kind of thinking.

It’s important to have a forum for those who have carried the torch for a while and are innovating to find ways to keep challenging themselves to go further and do greater work. It’s not hard in the green business arena to get burnt out, with the ways things have transpired in the last decade regarding green-washing and consumer attitudes towards sustainable business. There’s sometimes a feeling of being in an insular bubble of those who are working really hard on it. But there’s so much activity and excitement around it still and just being able to elevate the dialogue and the thoughts of what’s possible helps to spur sustainable business further.

SE: How do the Economic Forums fit into Sustainable Industries’ role as a journalistic enterprise?
Our mission is to create a new B2B media experience for sustainable business leaders and thought leaders. So this is a great extension of what we do. It’s the second highest source of business activity for the company in terms of revenue and that’s because it’s the one flagship program where we can actually bring our audience into one room in each of the different cities. And for that it’s wonderful.

In this new B2B media experience, we want to connect people; we want to help them get business done; we want to create a community at the local and regional levels. This is a direct manifestation of that. We have a print and digital magazine, a website, we host webinars and do custom media, we have a whole suite of industry newsletters, podcasts, etc. But this is the one live event where everyone can come together and experience the conversation in the same room in person.

SE: Can you give an example of how somebody who can’t make it to a forum could still participate in those conversations?
Definitely. The trends and ideas we’re talking about at the forums are all a part of the content that we’re serving up on all of our different channels. There’s going to be a good amount of online discussion.

There’s a lot happening with Sustainable Industries this fall. In September, we’re doing the first three forums in this year’s series and in August we’re launching a new web platform that will take our entire media experience to the next level.
With that we’re doing a whole rebrand of the magazine and changing its frequency in September alongside these events. So if you attend an event in Seattle, San Francisco or Portland in September, you’ll get a copy of the newly re-branded magazine with Cameron Sinclair on the cover and nice, in-depth Q&A article with him discussing many of the things he’ll address in his keynote. That way, even if you aren’t at an event, you can share some of that experience with our keynote speaker.

Of course, we’ll also posting content online on our blogs, and then we’ll post the video on our site after the events. Finally, for each event, we have a local LinkedIn community where both attendees and non-attendees can group up and discuss these ideas.

Brian Back is President and Founder of Sustainable Media, Inc. The Sustainable Industries Economic Forums will take place in four cities across the West this year—Santa Monica, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. For more information and to register, please visit: