While most people make their New Year resolutions in January, I make mine in the Fall. The season bears such a sense of renewal (school underway, fruit harvest, hunkering down after a summer hiatus) that it is nearly impossible to start September without considering what the next year will bring. Energized by the work needed to shift the development paradigm and confident that now is the time to build that renewed sense of commitment, I list below four of the initiatives I am most excited about.
1. The work of the Coffeelands Food Security Coalition (Counter Culture Coffee, Farmer Brothers International, Keurig Green Mountain, S&D Coffee and Tea, SCAA, Starbucks & Sustainable Harvest).
While I do oversee the strategy and organizational design of this group, the Coalition is heavily company driven and the collaborative spirit could not be more alive and well. Moving from a place of visioning towards a more systematic dialogue around value proposition and structure, the Coalition is now answering questions like:
As we examine the answers to these questions we will move closer to creating an entity that can deliver lasting solutions to communities and service providers connected to coffee for years to come.
2. An effort led by Heifer International to help NGOs (and other stakeholders in cross-sector partnerships) begin to quantify the true ROI of their Creating Shared Value efforts for purposes of reporting, monitoring/evaluation and internal measurements of success has the potential to align communication between NGOs and grantors making partnerships more streamlined.
As facilitator of this effort I am energized by the commitment of an exceptional coalition of like-minded NGOs, foundations, government representatives and corporate partners working together to understand where existing tools and resources will aid in this challenge and where new resources are needed.
3. Two of the largest retailers, Target and Walmart, have joined forces to analyze the sustainability approaches within the beauty and personal care products space. Facilitated by the brilliant minds at Forum for the Future, the "BPC Summit" is a first of its kind convening of leading sustainability experts within the beauty and personal care sectors joining forces to make products better for our environment.
Kicking off today, the aspirations of this alignment are high. Seeing competitors come together for benefit of a larger vision is exciting and challenges other leaders to do the same.
4. The Social Capital Markets Summit is a conference devoted entirely toward moving funds in order to improve global social good. SOCAP has received much notoriety for its efforts to convene investors, foundations, governments, institutions, and social entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions that will aid future generations.
Having such creative minds in one room is a feat in and of itself. Challenging participants to develop lasting solutions for issues like resilient food systems, evolution in the sharing economy, financial inclusion and creating better health outcomes yields opportunities to scale best practices for greater impact.
The energy from these and other efforts is addictive. The commitment born of these collaborative efforts is inspiring. And the timing is fortuitous. As our children head back to school, armed with the tools to make a difference in their own worlds, we are moving into a prime head space for interaction, engagement and collaborative movement that is needed for advancement of our global society. The season for that commitment is upon us and we have only just begun.