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CONFERENCE: Top Ranked Sustainable US Companies Coming to SA


Recent Gauteng Business News

The USA’s top ranked sustainable companies will be on the podium at Brands and Branding for Good 2, a conference taking place in South Africa during October to give brand owners and their agencies the opportunity to understand and appreciate the prevailing consumer shift, and align their brands with sustainable values.

Both Dell and IBM – ranked 2nd and 5th respectively on Newsweek’s 2009 Green Rankings list of the top 500 sustainable companies – will be represented at the conference, which takes place at the Hilton in Sandton on October 13 and 14.

Newsweek’s list, which appeared for the first time in September last year, was developed in a bid to recognise companies striving to become sustainable businesses. For more than a year, the magazine worked with leading environmental researchers KLD Research and Analytics, Trucost, and to rank the 500 largest US companies based on their actual environmental performance, policies, and reputation.

Dell made it into the Top 5 courtesy of some impressive statistics: It ranks 4th among the top US corporate users of renewable energy, its headquarters uses 100% renewable energy; all its desktop and laptop computers will consume up to 25% less energy by the end of 2010; it became carbon neutral in 2008 by using offsets and other methods; it plans to maintain its carbon neutrality for the next five years; and it leads the industry with its product take-back and recycling programs.

IBM, in 5th spot, has had formal environmental policies since 1971; all new employees undergo environmental awareness training; Ultra carbon-conscious, it's the only company to have received EPA's Climate Protection Award twice; it participated in pilot program to reduce Stockholm's traffic congestion, which led to 40% decrease in inner-city greenhouse gases; and it spends $1 billion a year to double the capacity of data centres without increasing their power consumption.

Addressing delegates on behalf of Dell will be UK-based Jean Cox-Kearns, who leads the Dell Take Back organisation for the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region. This initiative gives Dell customers the opportunity to recycle your unwanted Dell-branded products. Stepping up to the plate for IBM is Marketing and Communications Executive Sub-Sahara Africa, Nicholas Maweni,

They join a line-up of respected international and local speakers who will address relevant and critically important matters with regards to sustainable practices and branding with purpose, including:
• Leslie Pascaud - Director Responsible Marketing Practice, Added Value Group, Paris
• Mindy Goldstein - Partner and Programme Director Ogilvy and Mather, and member of the founding team of OgilvyEarth, New York
• Seth Farbman - Senior Partner and President, OgilvyEarth, New York
• Melissa Attree - Social Media Marketing and Communications Professional and Founder, GetOn eMarketing
• Nicola Robins - Sustainability Strategist, Incite Sustainability
• Jo-Ann de Wet - Operations Director, McDonald’s, South Africa
• Mzamo Masito - Marketing Director, Nike, South Africa
• Paul Bannister - Managing Director, Ignite. Served as the acting CEO of the International Marketing Council of SA during the crucial build-up to the hosting of the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup.
• Mike Schalit - Chief Creative Director, Net#work BBDO South Africa, and Co-founder of the MAL Foundation
• Deon Robbertze - Executive Creative Director of Zoom and Creative Director Ogilvy Earth at Zoom Advertising, South Africa
• Mike Freedman - Founder, Freedthinkers

Last year’s conference was heralded as ‘definitive’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘inspiring’ by delegates and this year looks set to keep pace. Leading brands of the future will be sustainable brands as companies of all kinds are focused on the triple bottom-line of people, planet and profit.

“Echoed in both the Newsweek research and other business surveys, there is widespread agreement that sustainability will cease to be a separate concern from business profitability as it is becoming apparent that exponential growth is not possible in a world of finite resources,” said conference convenor, Affinity Publishing’s Ken Preston.

“Brands and Branding for Good 2 addresses relevant and critically important matters with regards to sustainable practices and branding and offers an unrivalled opportunity for local business to plug into a world of global insights, local case-studies, panel discussions and presentations over either one or two days. If you are involved in branding, communications, public relations, marketing, advertising, CSR, sustainability, external affairs, business development, consumer insights and image management, you can’t afford to miss Brands and Branding for Good 2.”

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