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“If you want a viable brand, you need to have an ethical one”

Chief brand officer Jason Beckley on why sustainability is high on the consumer conscious, and will only get higher.

“Be the change you want to see in the world”. Whether he said it or not, Gandhi’s famous quote seems so relevant and so deeply profound right now doesn’t it?

Why is the Sustainability in Licensing Conference important to me? Well, without sounding pretentious, I just don’t want any of us to live on a dying planet. When we say sustainability, our mind naturally shifts to the perspective of the depletion of natural resources and the protection of the planets ecology. A massive, complex topic. But the meaning of sustainability is simpler than that – it just means ‘the ability to maintain a certain rate or level’. The trouble is our environment is no long capable of maintaining this rate or level. The true meaning is simpler, but definitely more stark and more shocking.

Having said that I feel the context of sustainability has shifted somewhat, and this excites me a lot. It seems like the perfect time to get together and talk, because I think we’re finally at the start of the chapter where we are going to feel hope and see success opposed to feeling despair and seeing failure.

I feel positivity is in our hands, we are in control and can make the difference in what we choose to do, what we choose to accept and what we buy. If the ultimate achievement of a life well lived is a legacy, then this is the chance to snap one up.

Global societies have moved from a stage of hearing about climate change, ethical practices and environmental causes. Through the stage of learning about the harm that our way of life and business practices cause. Past that ‘shall we, shan’t we’, phase where some accepted and some were yet to be convinced. Into a period where for the most part we all agree, we are all informed and we are collective in our resolve to change.

Amazing… so what do we do?

It’s the ‘so what are we going to do?’ that is the motivation for important conversations like this. For me personally it is the accepting that I am no expert, all I can do is listen, understand and ask questions. The other major factor aside from how important these agendas are for me, is how important they are for everyone else. If you want a viable brand, you have to have an ethical one. How exciting is it that doing good is a populist agenda? This will only increase in importance because it is increasing in importance in the consumers’ mind. Successful consumer propositions reflect demand, it’s rule one of value creation. It feels as if consumers are saying ‘do the right thing and we will reward you’.

We are capable today to share our values and beliefs and connect with people who think like us with more fluidity and ease than ever before. We can start global brands, market them and operate them in a transparent and direct way better than ever before. There are really no excuses. Sustainability is high on the consumer conscious, and will only get higher. Values have shifted, blockages to trade have shifted, the popular mass know and understand the issue. This is the moment.

It is a motivating time, one where we must learn a new, better way together, hold morality close to decision making. Step away from that nagging feeling that the things we are responsible for are just not helping, and experience the joy of feeling a part of the movement that is trying to make a difference.

Jason Beckley is a chief brand officer with over 20 years experience working with some of the world’s most powerful brands including YSL, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Puma, Clarks and Alexander McQueen. He will be speaking on day one of the Sustainability in Licensing Conference which runs on November 24-25. For more details on how you can sign up to attend SILC 2020, simply click on this link.

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