BSR Conference 2013

The Power of Networks

November 5-8 / San Francisco

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Post-Conference Resources: Session Summaries and Plenary Videos

Plenary Sessions

Closing Remarks, Aron Cramer, President and CEO, BSR 


I3 Presentation: Allen Blue, Co-Founder and Vice President, Product Management, LinkedIn 

Allen Blue is one of the co-founders of LinkedIn and Vice President of Product Management. Currently, he manages the Content and Communities division, covering LinkedIn's Groups, News, Influencer, Stream and Communication products. Before joining LinkedIn, Blue designed exploratory products and marketing programs at PayPal and was an early employee and Director of Product Design at SocialNet.com, a first-generation social site supporting dating, recreational and professional activities. Before entering technology, Blue lectured on Theatrical Design at Stanford University.

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I3 Presentation: Marina Gorbis, Executive Director, Institute for the Future 

Marina Gorbis is a futurist and social scientist who serves as Executive Director to the Institute for the Future (IFTF), a Silicon Valley nonprofit research and consulting organization. In her 14 years with IFTF, Gorbis has brought a future-oriented perspective to hundreds of organizations in business, education, government, and philanthropy to improve innovation capacity, develop strategies, and design new products and services. Her current research focuses on how social production is changing the face of major industries, a topic she explores in detail in her book, The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World. She has also blogged and written for BoingBoing.net, FastCompany, Harvard Business Review, and major media outlets.

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I3 Presentation: Oliver Niedermaier, Chairman and CEO, Tau Investment Management 

Oliver Niedermaier is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Tau Investment Management, which invests in underperforming manufacturers and producers in emerging markets to transform global supply chains and achieve financial, social, and environmental sustainability. He was honored by the World Economic Forum as a 2010 Young Global Leader, and he is a member of the WEF’s Global Agenda Council on the Role of Business. Prior to Tau, Niedermaier was the founding CEO of DF King Worldwide, a leading global financial communications and stakeholder management firm and was an Operating Partner at Advent International. In 2005, Niedermaier and his wife established the Tashi Foundation for Bhutan, a nonprofit organization affiliated with UNICEF that is dedicated to children's education.

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Opening Address, Aron Cramer, President and CEO, BSR 


Plenary Address: David P. Steiner, President and Chief Executive Officer, Waste Management 

David Steiner is President and Chief Executive Officer for Waste Management, the largest environmental solutions provider in North America, serving more than 20 million customers. Prior to being elected to his current position in March 2004, Steiner was Waste Management’s Chief Financial Officer. He joined the company in November 2000 as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel and was appointed Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary in July 2001. In April 2003, he was elected Chief Financial Officer. Previously, Steiner was with Phelps Dunbar, a law firm in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in San Jose, California.

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Plenary Address: Jim Berk, CEO, Participant Media 

Jim Berk is CEO of Participant Media, a global entertainment company focusing on feature films, television, publishing, digital content, and social campaigns that inspire social change. Participant’s more than 40 films include An Inconvenient Truth, Food, Inc., The Help, Contagion, and Lincoln. During Berk’s tenure, Participant increased its film slate to six to eight features per year; created TakePart.com, a leading social action digital platform; formed Participant PanAmerica to develop and finance films for and from Spanish-speaking territories; established film financing funds with Image Nation and the Doha Film Institute; invested in Me to We, theAudience, and Cineflix; and acquired The Documentary Channel and Halogen, which combined to form Pivot, a new channel for millennials that launched August 1. Previously, Berk was the CEO of Gryphon Colleges, Fairfield Communities, and Hard Rock Cafe and was the founding executive of both The Grammy Foundation and the Hamilton Academy of Music.


Plenary Address: Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice 

Mary Robinson served as President of Ireland from 1990 through 1997 and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 through 2002. She is a member of the Elders and the Club of Madrid and the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama. She is a member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. In March 2013, Robinson was appointed the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa. Her memoir, Everybody Matters, was published in March 2013.

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Plenary Session: Danny Kennedy, Co-Founder and President, Sungevity, Inc. 

Cofounder of Sungevity, Inc., Danny Kennedy leads the company’s global business development and government relations initiatives. He also plays a central role in developing the Sungevity.org program, an integral component of the company’s Solar Social strategy that has raised more than US$1 million since 2010 for their nonprofit partners. Prior to cofounding Sungevity, Kennedy was a Campaigns Manager with Greenpeace, the largest independent, direct-action, environmental organization in the world. His management of Greenpeace’s California Clean Energy Campaign helped create the California Solar Initiative, a groundbreaking renewable energy program that ushered in the state’s solar energy boom. Kennedy is the coauthor of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy—and Our Planet—from Dirty Energy, which has been described as the clean energy manifesto for the next greatest generation.

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Plenary Session: George R. Roberts, Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, KKR 

George Roberts, who co-founded KKR in 1976 and is currently Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, is actively involved in managing the firm and serves on each of the regional private equity investment and portfolio management committees. Roberts has served as a Director or Trustee of several cultural and educational institutions, including Claremont McKenna College. He is also Founder and Chairman of the board of directors of REDF, a San Francisco venture philanthropy organization that creates jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work. Roberts has more than four decades of experience financing, analyzing, and investing in public and private companies, as well as serving on the boards of a number of KKR portfolio companies.

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Breakout Sessions

Beyond Worker Rights to Worker Well-Being: Building Worker and Community Support in China 

Twenty years ago, BSR was guiding global companies to explore comprehensive labor solutions as they set up operations in China, at a time when many of these companies were operating without a code of conduct. At the same time, globalization was transforming the mode and scale of production, and workers’ needs became significant. This development not only cultivated growth, but also encouraged workers to participate in the process. This discussion will share how suppliers today are understanding their changing workforce, investing in meeting the needs of workers, and engaging with NGOs to build networks around worker well-being.

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Brave New World: The Impact of Social Media Networks on Sustainability Reporting 

Social media tools offer new methods of interaction—and more transparency than ever before—around sustainability reporting. Yet companies still produce reports that are largely one-way conversations. In the future, companies may choose to curate discussions by uploading raw data, providing their perspective, and then inviting communities on social media to analyze and debate the data. What kind of reporting environment will this create, and how will this approach help shape corporate sustainability strategy? How can companies fill the gulf between a 140-page report and a 140-character tweet?

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Breaking Down the Barriers: The Role of Business and Networks for Global Women’s Empowerment 

Despite increased attention on reducing gender disparity, women continue to face significant barriers to full participation in the global economy and in society more broadly. Are we leveraging networks effectively to create solutions? This dialogue will examine barriers—reproductive health, violence against women, and legal and policy restrictions—that continue to hold women back around the world and will explore ways the private sector can collaborate to make progress.

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BSR Debate: Can We Create Sustainable, Equitable Supply Chains? 

Despite increased consumer attention, regulatory requirements, and activist campaigns, many companies have been unable to dramatically improve working conditions in their supply chains. They aim to find the balance that enables them to deliver sustainably sourced products from transparent supply chains at the lowest possible consumer price. We know the limits of existing models, and companies and stakeholders are exploring new ways forward; but are we doing enough?

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BSR Debate: Collaborative Initiatives: Accelerators or Diversions? 

The past decade has witnessed numerous experiments with collaborative initiatives to address global sustainability challenges—sometimes restricted to companies and other times using multi-stakeholder governance structures. This session will identify the lessons learned from these initiatives and highlight the underlying principles that make them successful.

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BSR Debate: Is Silicon Valley Fixing Real or Imagined Problems? 

For some, the endless stream of hot internet and software innovations emerging from Silicon Valley has the power to transform our collective ability to address the world’s biggest challenges. For others, Silicon Valley is dominated by success-hungry first-worlders seeking a quick buck through technologies designed to address problems that don’t really exist. This session will explore these two perspectives, while asking what it takes to instill a sustainability purpose into Silicon Valley innovation.

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BSR Debate: What Does a Low-Carbon Energy Economy Look Like? 

This debate between thought leaders and advocates representing competing major schools of thought will address how best to navigate a path to a low-carbon, sustainable energy future. This timely discussion takes place during a year that will see a presidential decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline and renewed high-profile campaigns around our energy future. Speakers and participants will address such questions as: How quickly can we move beyond fossil fuels? And what can companies and individuals do to promote the best possible outcomes?

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Change 2.0: Networks, NGOs, and the Empowered Individual 

NGOs have always been powerful change agents, but network-centric technology has enabled new models of citizen engagement and activity to accelerate progress on global challenges. In addition to traditional means of pressuring leaders to make change, successful NGOs are adding innovative ways to engage and activate individuals, through social media, purchasing decisions, financial donations, and more. In this session, NGO leaders will analyze these networks for change and identify ways for business to engage with them to build a better world.

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Corporations and Wellness 

Gripping headlines, award-winning films, and best-selling books have taken companies to task, suggesting industry’s complicity in the global rise of obesity levels and associated chronic diseases. But are these claims fair or representative? Across various industries, how do companies perceive their role in creating health and wellness? And how can CSR contribute to the private sector’s role in improving health and wellness? This conversation will provide insights around how companies can harness CSR to improve health and wellness throughout the value chain.

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Discount Rate on the Future: Analyzing Long-Term Sustainability Impacts 

What is the correct way to analyze long-term, large-scale investments such as those that might have major sustainability impacts? Discounted cash-flow analysis (DCF) is a common approach to analyzing capital investments using a risk and time-value adjusted cost of funds, and is most useful when comparing alternative investments with similar time frames and predictable returns that are comparatively small in scale compared to the overall economy. Because it is a relatively simple tool and is appropriate for many long-term business investments, some view DCF as a universal financial analysis tool. However, DCF greatly reduces the value of long-term costs and benefits, and therefore it may not be appropriate for long-term investments with high sustainability impacts (including climate change, ecosystem destruction, and more), the effects of which will not be fully realized for several more decades. This session brings together a diverse group of experts to explore how to make smarter critical investments for our long-term future.

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Enabling Sustainable Lifestyles: The New Business Frontier 

The concept of sustainable lifestyles—inspiring, persuading, and gently coercing consumers into sustainable and ethical behaviors—is the new frontier for business. The global business case for companies to enable their consumers to live more sustainably exists, but is not yet widely explored or understood. What is the compelling business case, how do we remove barriers to change, and how can we create a veritable movement of global businesses to push forward on this topic? The Sustainable Lifestyles Frontier Group is a working group of global BSR members tackling the key issues related to enabling sustainable lifestyles. This conversation will present outcomes of the group’s work and share a business case on this topic, providing a call to action for business on how to enable global customers to live more sustainably.

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Games for Good: Transforming Business through Gamification 

This session will engage attendees in an interactive event on gaming for sustainable business strategy. Expert speakers will discuss how the field of CSR can learn from gamification and how we can build more effective networks of change through games.

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Good Chemistry: Can Consumers and Corporations Unite around the Future of Chemicals? 

With more and new chemicals appearing in everyday products, consumer concerns about how chemicals affect our bodies and our communities are on the rise. At the same time, many companies are working hard to develop less toxic products and solutions. This conversation will include an overview of the issues related to chemicals, including consumer demands, government regulations, and company responses. Participants will learn about the rapidly evolving field of chemical management and how to adapt to an era in which individual consumers have more information, and hence increased control, over their own health and wellness.

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Innovative Human Rights Impact Assessments 

Companies are increasingly conducting human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) and are discovering unique opportunities to expand their applicability. This session will explore key types of innovative HRIAs, including defining a product-level HRIA and identifying the benefits that a human rights lens provides in product development. The dialogue will also address how HRIAs can help companies invest responsibly in transitional states.

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Leadership in Action: In Conversation with BP 


Leadership in Action: In Conversation with GlobeScan, Net Impact, and the Rockefeller Foundation 


Leadership in Action: In Conversation with Honest Tea 


Leadership in Action: In Conversation with Nike and USAID 


Leadership in Action: In Conversation with SAP 


Leadership in Action: In Conversation with Walmart 


Leadership in Action: In Conversation with yerdle 


Local Content: Shared Value or Resource Nationalism? 

Local content—defined as maximizing the procurement of local goods, services, and other benefits such as employment and sustainable infrastructure—is a topic that provides some of the most tangible and successful examples of shared value between companies and communities. The oil and gas industry has a long history of engaging on local content issues, including managing growing expectations among host governments, communities, and other stakeholders. At the same time, similar pressures are emerging within other industry sectors. This session will explore best practices in developing shared value through local content, as well as some of the future challenges and opportunities likely to be faced by companies, governments, and communities on this critical topic.

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Networks Gone Wrong 

Social, political, and economic networks can be a powerful catalyst for positive change, but they can also be used for the wrong purposes. This session explores the threats and dynamics of global networks “gone wrong”—including health risks, human trafficking, dysfunctional supply chains, and more—and what global business leaders need to focus on in order to correct or curb the negative impacts of these networks.

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New Reporting Frameworks: Clarity or Confusion? 

This discussion brings together representatives from the three key reporting organizations that are releasing new standards and frameworks in 2013. These experts will explore the relationships among these frameworks and the various target audiences they each serve. Separately, each organization will address the same three questions: Why do you exist? How are you different from the others? And how should businesses apply your framework?

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The Industrial Internet 

Most of the internet’s sustainability implications center around consumer engagement and social interactions. But there are significant opportunities—and challenges—to use networking, sensor technology, and analytics to monitor and manage the world’s infrastructure. Innovative organizations are exploring how to use these technologies to dramatically reduce their needs for energy, water, and other resources, and sometimes fundamentally change the way they work. Where do the opportunities lie, and what are the potential challenges in implementation?

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Thin Grey Line: State vs. Corporate Roles and Responsibilities in the Guiding Principles on Business 

This session will examine the boundary between the state’s duty to protect human rights and the corporate responsibility to respect human rights as articulated in the UN Guiding Principles (GPs) on Business and Human Rights. While companies from all industries are working to understand how to implement the GPs in their operations, there has been little exploration of the critical relationship between governments and companies. Participants will discuss the parameters of responsibility in countries where there is a weak rule of law, how to influence the government’s agenda to protect human rights, and how to engage with stakeholders who may have differing expectations of countries’ and companies’ responsibilities.

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What Gets Measured Gets Managed: Learning from Leaders in Ecosystem Services Analyses 

This session will offer an interactive opportunity to hear from corporate representatives leading early applications of integrated ecosystem services frameworks in an effort to improve risk and opportunity identification processes. Participants will review potential areas of integration within business decision-making processes, as well as BSR research on scenarios for how ecosystem services issues are likely to play out in the coming years. Specifically, they will consider such questions as: Does an ecosystem services assessment offer a fuller picture of companies’ environmental and social risks, as well as opportunities? What corporate applications, from integration to accounting, risk management, and impact assessment protocols, are under way? And why are companies engaging with ecosystem services?

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Thank You Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Target Corporation logo

Premium Sponsor

GE logo

Executive Sponsor

Adobe logo

Convening Media Sponsor

Bloomberg Business Week logo

Participating Sponsors
Renewable Energy and Carbon Reduction Sponsor

Bonneville Environmental Foundation logo

Contributing Sponsors
Hackathon Sponsor

Qualcomm logo

Marketing and Media Sponsors