What It Means to Be a Sustainable Brand
By Gabe Brambila, Senior Sustainability Manager – Sustainability Operations, AT&T
Sustainability…what comes to mind when you hear that word? It means a lot of things to a lot of people. I would venture to guess that if you ask 100 people that question, you would get 100 different answers or variations (this of course is not scientifically proven by any means!).
I joined AT&T almost four years ago as a member of the Human Resources department. Recently, I joined the corporate Citizenship and Sustainability team. In the short time that I’ve been a part of this (amazing) team, I’ve learned so much, but it’s still safe to say that I am new to the sustainability world.
Moving into a new role often requires new learning. While most of this new learning manifests in on the job training, there are also opportunities to collaborate with other organizations and industries. At the beginning of June, I had the opportunity to represent AT&T at the Sustainable Brands Conference in beautiful San Diego, CA, and yes … the weather was perfect there. Prior to arriving in San Diego I was asked, “Gabe, what do you expect to get out of this conference?” To be honest I didn’t know. I went in with a clean slate and with no expectations -- I was just eager to learn as much as I could in the presence of all these companies and knowing that we are all working towards the same goal (making the world a better place) was very rewarding. The breakout sessions were valuable because you got hear the struggles of other companies, new and innovative tactics that are being used and the lessons learned from failed projects.
While the presentations were helpful, the question and answer period is where I found some real knowledge. There were nuggets of truth, one-liners said that were so powerful it was hard to ignore. Paraphrasing one example: “…it shouldn’t be about behavior change, rather it should be about behavior amplification.”
Meeting new people from the various industries and engaging in open and honest conversations is invaluable. My hope is that others take these learnings and adapt them to their work; I know I plan on doing that. After all, we are here to learn from one another and work together to make our world a better place.
So now that the conference is over, I go back to the question, “What comes to mind when you hear the word sustainability?” For me, that word means an ongoing, ever-evolving, collaborative effort to make the world a better place … an obligation to operate better and smarter.