Four Need-to-Know Insights From the 2018 3BL Forum

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Last week, business executives, nonprofit leaders, government officials and issue advocates met in National Harbor, Maryland, for the annual 3BL Forum (formerly Commit!Forum). The theme of the conference was again "Brands Taking Stands." Yet this year, companies unpacked if, when and how they take stands, so others in the audience could learn from leaders in the field. CEO Shana Deane kicked off this year's conference by commending the nerve and grit of brands willing to speak up on divisive issues and discussing how this movement has reached new levels.

Didn't make it to this year's Forum? Here are the four need-to-know insights from the event:

1. Leaders must encourage other leaders.
A highlight from the conference was a CEO-centric session featuring Mariano Lozano, CEO of Danone North America, and Steve Rendle, chairman and CEO of VF Corp. The leaders shared insights into how they are guiding their organizations with purpose, but they also called on others to join the movement. Lozano drove this point home when describing the company's huge achievement of becoming the world's largest B Corp. Lozano simply stated, "We are the biggest B Corp worldwide, for the time being. Soon we hope to become second to another company."

2. Profitable sustainability sells.
Legacy companies representing more than 400 years of business took the stage for the session, "Perspective from Legacy Companies: Innovations in Corporate Thinking." Michael Okoroafor, vice president of global sustainability and packaging innovation at McCormick & Co., shared the company's approach, including a concept it calls Purpose-led Performance--which means the brand is equally dedicated to strengthening its business and improving the world around it. This has allowed the heritage brand to remain competitive over the years, while also focusing on the betterment of the planet and society.

Last week, business executives, nonprofit leaders, government officials and issue advocates met in National Harbor, Maryland, for the annual 3BL Forum (formerly Commit!Forum). The theme of the conference was again "Brands Taking Stands." Yet this year, companies unpacked if, when and how they take stands, so others in the audience could learn from leaders in the field. CEO Shana Deane kicked off this year's conference by commending the nerve and grit of brands willing to speak up on divisive issues and discussing how this movement has reached new levels.

Didn't make it to this year's Forum? Here are the four need-to-know insights from the event:

1. Leaders must encourage other leaders.
A highlight from the conference was a CEO-centric session featuring Mariano Lozano, CEO of Danone North America, and Steve Rendle, chairman and CEO of VF Corp. The leaders shared insights into how they are guiding their organizations with purpose, but they also called on others to join the movement. Lozano drove this point home when describing the company's huge achievement of becoming the world's largest B Corp. Lozano simply stated, "We are the biggest B Corp worldwide, for the time being. Soon we hope to become second to another company."

2. Profitable sustainability sells.
Legacy companies representing more than 400 years of business took the stage for the session, "Perspective from Legacy Companies: Innovations in Corporate Thinking." Michael Okoroafor, vice president of global sustainability and packaging innovation at McCormick & Co., shared the company's approach, including a concept it calls Purpose-led Performance--which means the brand is equally dedicated to strengthening its business and improving the world around it. This has allowed the heritage brand to remain competitive over the years, while also focusing on the betterment of the planet and society.
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