Advertising, Design, Economy, Education, Environment, Health & Wellness, Sustainability

Inspiring Change Through New Forms of Creative Advocacy

by Robin Raj

If it’s early June, it must be the Sustainable Brands conference. Citizen has worked closely with the SB team since the conference’s inception in 2007, helping them design their brand identity materials to assisting in overall creative direction for each of the annual events.  And it’s been remarkable to see the rise in popularity these past years – from some 150 attendees in New Orleans shortly after Katrina, to 1500 attendees expected to converge this week on San Diego’s Mission Bay.

This week, I look forward to hosting a panel entitled, Inspiring Change Through New Forms Of Creative Advocacy.  The panelists (see below) have each helped inspire change using almost every tool in the toolbox – art, music, fashion, sports, data, technology, sharing, partnerships, events, etc. By uniquely engaging audiences to support sustainable practices, they’re making creative advocacy an art form in and of itself. And perhaps most importantly, they’re each creating viable businesses to advance that change.  

That’s certainly the business Citizen is in.  From our work with SB, to advancing the Green Sports movement, The Breathe Project, and most recently The City of Phoenix and Corporation for Battery Recycling, we’re creating case studies that show how sustainable practices, healthier lifestyles, and profitability can go hand in hand.

This year, as much as any year previous, I feel a sense of urgency and mission.  2013 has been the year we’ve seen the Dow top 15,000. At the same time, carbon dioxide levels have also topped the long-feared milestone of 400 parts per million. The question facing us all is, can the Dow continue to rise ever higher as CO2 levels rise concurrently?  And if the path we’re on isn’t sustainable, what are the practical solutions that businesses can adopt now to reduce carbon and mitigate the worst consequences of climate change that our leading scientists predict lie ahead?

That’s what the conference helps answer, through the powerful examples of leadership brands like BMW, Nike, Chipolte, Interface, etc that are embedding sustainability throughout their operations and, as a result, becoming more resilient every day. Each are cases of enlightened self-interest.

Sustainability obviously takes countless forms, but the results are there to be documented  and celebrated.  From healthier food, higher performing buildings, smarter cars and smarter cities, to overall happiness and well-being, we and our families are each the beneficiaries. 

By creating an environment for learning, networking, and supporting a community of true advocates, you could say mounting a conference like SB is its own unique form of creative advocacy.  Kudos to KoAnn Skrzyniarz and her wonderful team for making it happen.  



How can all of us – citizens and brands –  work together to create positive social impact at the local level? How can we inspire residents to reduce, reuse, and recycle through fun new forms of creative advocacy?  Join Citizen Group, Earth911, and a group of creative and sustainability leaders as we explore how shaping unique private public partnerships and new forms of engagement can translate to living smarter while also treading lighter.

o   Robin Raj, Citizen Group – Moderator

o   Corey Lambrecht, President, Earth911

o   Adam Werbach, co-founder, Yerdle

o   Erin Schrode, founder, Teens Turning Green

o   Allen Hershkowitz, director of Green Sports, NRDC

o   Mark Johnson, founder, Playing For Change

o   Terry Kellogg, president, 1% For The Planet



CO-SPONSORED BY CITIZEN GROUP – Wednesday June 5th, 7pm
Performing will be:

•  Grandpa Elliott – (Lead vocals, Harmonica) Blues icon who played on streets of New Orleans for 60 years.

•  Jason Tamba - (Lead Vocals, Guitar) – Singer/songwriter from Congo

•  Mermans Mosengo – (Lead Vocals, Percussion, Guitar) - Powerful performer from Congo

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