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Trevor Manuel to officially open global sustainability conference in Cape Town

Trevor Manuel, former minister in the South African government and founder of the Mitchell's Plain Bursary and Role Model Trust, joins an extensive line-up of over 80 sustainability expert speakers to deliver the opening keynote address at the first-ever Sustainable Brands® Conference in Africa. The conference will take place at Cape Town's new Century City Conference Centre from 14 to 17 May 2016.
Trevor Manuel to officially open global sustainability conference in Cape Town

The conference will ask important questions about whether companies are crafting sustainability strategies for the sake of being fashionable, or if they are actually making a real impact on the human condition. In his keynote address at 13h50 on Sunday, 15 May 2016, Mr Manuel, South Africa’s former Minister of Finance and Minister in the Presidency for the National Planning Commission, will explore the conundrum facing many corporates and organisations today: “How to put human development at the centre of sustainability strategies.”

Mr Manuel says: “In the South African context, and indeed in many quarters of the African continent, business sustainability vis-à-vis the growing number of marginalised youth is a difficult and challenging question which we dare not shy away from but must tackle head-on.” He will share his thoughts, provoke debate and challenge delegates to confront difficult questions about business and sustainability in the 21st century.

In less than a week’s time Cape Town will be abuzz with activity as sustainability specialists, creative minds and future leaders from around the world and South Africa gather at SB’16 Cape Town. Drawing participants from as far as Costa Rica, Scandinavia and Nigeria, it will feature discussions into how to innovate brands for sustainability now.

One of the programme highlights is the screening of Racing Extinction, a documentary by Academy Award-winning director Louie Psihoyos, on Sunday, 15 May 2016. The documentary’s never-before-seen images expose the issues of endangered species and mass extinction, showing how humanity has altered the earth and what people can do to help.

Racing Extinction’s screening will be followed by a Q&A session with American race car driver and environmental activist, Leilani Münter, who is featured in the documentary. Known as the “carbon-free girl”, she reportedly became the world’s first carbon-neutral race car driver when she committed to adopt an acre of rainforest for every race she runs to offset the carbon footprint of her race car – she has done so since 2007. Named the #1 Eco Athlete in the world by Discovery’s Planet Green, Münter is an advocate for solar power, electric cars, plant-based diet and animal rights.

At the four-day conference, leading sustainability practitioners will host interactive discussion groups, breakout sessions, plenary presentations and networking activities. They will take a look at how to:
  • innovate for regeneration through better business strategy and reporting
  • examine the macro trends and drivers of emerging markets
  • navigate behaviour change via effective communication
  • reinvent supply chains, and
  • enable sound enterprise development.
The Sustainable Brands Conference will be held in association with South Africa’s National Business Initiative (NBI), MCI South Africa and the Change Agent Collective, while Procter and Gamble is the headline sponsor.

“This conference will be the business networking event of 2016,” states Joanne Yawitch, CEO of the NBI. Deon Robbertze, Programme Director of Sustainable Brands Cape Town and Director of the Change Agent Collective, notes: “The programme for this first event on the African continent has been carefully curated to showcase and inspire how sustainably led innovation is the core focus of brands that are leading a new economy based on transparency, innovation and purpose.”

Rashid Toefy, MD of MCI South Africa, says: “Sustainability and brand innovation will definitely be the talk of Cape Town and we look forward to welcoming some of the world’s foremost sustainability experts to our city and country. Sustainability is a key development area in South Africa and a field in which our country has shown global leadership. It is also quite significant that the event will take place in Cape Town, a city that has been at the forefront of innovation in terms of sustainability.”

For further information, programme details or to register to attend the conference visit, or follow @SBrandsAfrica on Twitter.

Speakers and topics at SB’16 Cape Town include:
  • Mohamed Samir, President: India, Middle East and Africa, Procter and Gamble – “P&G’s best brand stories from Africa where growth and social development have become inseparable”
  • Seapei Mafoyane, CEO, Shanduka Black Umbrellas – “Enterprise development and how innovation and entrepreneurship are key to social and economic transformation”
  • Jason Drew, African Innovations Foundation Prize winner and mastermind behind the award-winning AgriProtein business that is transforming the animal feed market by using organic waste to generate protein-rich feed for livestock – “The Environmental Capitalist - how innovation is transforming energy and food security”
  • Saint-Francis Tohlang, South Africa’s leading young business mind and trends analyst - “New pathways to development and how brands can emulate human qualities in creatively contributing to social and environmental solutions that will lead to new developmental pathways in emerging markets”
  • Dr David North, Former UK Head: Corporate Affairs, TESCO, and now Group Executive: Strategy and Corporate Affairs, Pick n Pay - “How the food retailing industry has adapted to meet the new demands of managing food security and supply chains”
  • Dr Anthony Turton, hydrology expert and conflict resolution specialist – “The Coming Age of water - the impacts of the water crises on mining and the economy”
  • Chris Coulter, President, Globescan – “The latest research into developing road maps for regeneration”
  • Cormac Cullinan, environmental advocate and author of Wild Law – “Wild Law – a discussion on issues relating to environmental governance and the shifting landscape of compliance in relation to policy”
  • Christelle Marais, Procurement and Sustainability Specialist for Africa, SAB Miller – “Better Business - insights into how SAB Miller is developing and implementing responsible sourcing and building authentic relationships within supply chains”
  • Carla Tavares, Programme Marketing Manager, The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC International) – “How certification can develop trusted brand recognition and verifiable supply chains”
  • Dr Jaisheila Rajput, value chain specialist and CEO, TOMA – NOW (Tomorrow Matters Now) – “Mapping and developing value chains – looking at how companies that have their house in order can look forward to sustained growth and adapt to new market challenges and opportunities”
  • Andrea Ferry, sustainability consultant - “The role of organisational change agents and how their influence enables brands to shift direction to face the new challenges within the economy and brand development”
  • Dr Geoff Kendall, CEO and Co-founder, Future Fit – “Entrepreneurship and innovation”
  • David Katz, Founder, The Plastic Bank – “Recycling and its impacts on innovation and poverty alleviation”
  • Davide Stronati, Head: Strategy, Mott Macdonald (global engineering, management and development consultants) – “Strategy and leadership across countries in the developing world”
  • Joanne Yawitch, CEO, The National Business Initiative – “Socio-economic sustainability and governance”
  • Jonathon Hanks, CEO and Founder, Incite – “Leadership, shared value and transparency and its implications for new business leaders tackling the ever-changing business landscape”
  • Justin Smith, Group Head: Sustainability, Woolworths – “A Perfect Storm: Food Security, Affordability and Drought as South Africa is in the grips of a water and food crisis”
  • Kevin James, CEO and Founder, Global Carbon Exchange Africa – “Corporate approaches to the economic, social and environmental imperatives and how risk and opportunity are flipsides of the same coin” (How to address such issues to ensure that the risks become opportunities, will be presented in a practical, measurable and economically feasible way.)
  • Lisa Parkes, Project Manager, Cape Craft and Design Institute – “The Appreciative Enquiry model utilised in The Better Living Challenge (BLC), a five-year project that implements design solutions and the commercialisation of these solutions for low-income housing to improve living conditions”

About Sustainable Brands
Sustainable Brands® is the premier global community of brand innovators who are shaping the future of commerce worldwide. Since 2006, our mission has been to inspire, engage and equip today’s business and brand leaders to prosper for the near and long term by leading the way to a better future. Digitally published news articles and issues-focused conversation topics, internationally known conferences and regional events, a robust e-learning library and peer-to-peer membership groups all facilitate community learning and engagement throughout the year. Sustainable Brands is a division of Sustainable Life Media headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

About the National Business Initiative (NBI)
A sustainable, equitable and thriving society that makes South Africa one of the world’s great places to live, work and do business. The NBI’s purpose is to catalyse business action to achieve sustainable growth and development.

The environment is a strategic issue underpinning the need for large-scale economic transition and social transformation. Within the NBI strategic positioning the Climate Change, Water and Green Economy programme is building a suite of thought-leading projects that identify core collective risk and opportunities in the climate change, water, waste and green economy topic areas.

Putting in place collective action projects and partnerships is essential for delivering business lead solutions to the challenges. Our aim is to revive the emphasis on environment as a strategic imperative for business by acknowledging and establishing the link between the environment, society and economics.

About MCI
An independent, privately held company with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, MCI has offices in over 30 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, India, the Middle East and Africa, delivering projects for clients all over the world. In South Africa, MCI’s offices are located in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

MCI believes that when people come together, magic happens. That is why the group has been bringing people together through innovative meetings, events, congresses and association management since 1987. Through face-to-face, hybrid and digital experiences, MCI helps companies and associations to strategically engage and activate their target audiences, building the dedicated online and offline communities they need to strengthen their brands and boost their performance.

MCI’s sustainability approach is based on the concept of a balanced triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit. Its mission is to use sustainability as a catalyst to drive economic, social and environmental performance for MCI and its clients. In essence, MCI is proactively involved in creating a sustainable planet, fair society and growing economy. To date, it has organised over 600 events about environmental, social and economic sustainability.

About the Change Agent Collective
The Change Agent Collective is a team of individuals who are all passionate about sustainability and the process of creating momentum to scale change at the community, city national and international level.

We believe that to create positive social and environmental change we must clearly communicate solutions that prove change is possible, profitable and achievable. Our aim is to inspire our clients, colleagues and communities to become change agents in our society and help build an economy based on purpose.

At the Change Agent Collective we understand how critical it is to orientate your business at the forefront of innovation and sustainability. Equally important is how you communicate your achievements with all stakeholders thereby creating shared value for all.

10 May 2016 11:37