Thursday, 29 November 2007

Jeff Swartz at WhatIf? Good Profit

You had to be there. Jeff Swartz CEO of Timberland is such a warm, likeable, spirited person a summary of what he said will not do him justice. For a flavour of what he's about here's a TV clip

Swartz shared his advice to CEOs who like him believe in "profit and justice":

1. Dance in the Dark

ie do good when no-one is looking
"it's about being sustainable not just doing green"

2. The Elephant's Mating Dance

"For industrial scale change you have to collaborate with competitors across the industry." Swartz cited Patagonia adopting organic cotton - "someone had to go first" - preparing the ground for Nike to blend 2% organic cotton into every shoe. Now organic cotton is available on a scale that Walmart can buy.

3. Call Consumers to the Barricade

This is where Swartz feels Timberland still has much further to go - "we need to make it much more a part of the retail experience" and was the thinking behind their nutrition labelling of products (showing for instance that they use 5% renewable energy). People want to be invited to participate in the conversation. They have had enough of gloom and doom, and want to be shown how they can be part of the solution, just by buying products which they believe do make the world a little better.

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