Welcome to the Hub Cities !

The City is the ideal playground for brands to reinvent themselves and create positive impact locally. This is the best lab to experiment new options to interact, to produce, to consume, to move and to change the way we live.

Check out the interviews with our leaders from Utopies for Day 1 and  Institut des Futurs Souhaitables for Day 2.

Utopies  – Hub Cities Day 1

1) Who are you? What is your fight? What are you defending? Why do you exist?

I founded Utopies in 1993, first as a non-profit whose purpose was to promote the most committed strategies and the most responsible practices in companies – in particular through concrete, inspiring examples, which is the best way to convince people and open up possibilities. After 25 years, Utopies has become France’s leading independent consulting firm in sustainable development and among the top 25 in marketing consulting, with activities that make social issues not just restrictions or risks to limit, but real opportunities to make a positive contribution to society, create innovation and brand differentiation drivers and local anchorage.  The “less bad” approach has become a “more good” approach. Our mission is still to constantly open new avenues for better integrating sustainable development into business: one way we do this is through our think tank (about one-fifth of the team’s time) and our country partner commitment for France on the BCopr label for the last 4 years (Utopies was also the first company to receive the label in France).

2) Complete this sentence: SB will fulfill my expectation if …

… I discover new trends to explore, bold projects that shake things up, brands that dare to set radical objectives (rather than incremental).

3) Why come to participate in Hub Cities on D-2?

Local business anchorage and revitalizing local economies are particularly important topics for us, and they form one of our three strategic routes. To ensure the prosperity of a city or territory, attracting outside wealth (via exports, and drawing tourists and businesses) is not enough: our research shows that one-third of the prosperity gaps between regions depends on their ability to sustainably ensure the circulation of wealth within them via a diversified, dynamic local economy. We want more producing cities, cities that are better able to meet local demand with local resources… And brands have a key role to play in this via local sourcing, local business incubators, partnerships with local public and private actors, involvement in local projects that provide a higher quality of life, and anything that can give them a “pollinator” role in the local economy.

4) A FreshForward idea? (a dream, a beautiful story, etc.)

At Utopies, we believe that what makes a brand truly serious about its purpose, is what it is prepared to say “no” to in order to remain consistent – like Patagonia with fast fashion, like REI with Black-Friday or Botanic that we supported in 2008 when they decided to stop selling agrochemicals. Oddly, when this renouncement is in line with the purpose, it does not remove anything, it adds something – consistency, reputation, and often, more business. The question we often ask our clients is: “what are you ready to give up in order to become a Positive Brand?”

 

Institut des Futurs Souhaitables – Hub Cities Day 2

1) Who are you? What is your fight? What are you defending? Why do you exist?

The Institute for Desirable Futures (IFs) is a school of reinvention. We believe that in this special time of challenging changes, we have a unique opportunity to redesign the future to make it better. IFs is aimed at all those who want to seize the opportunity to create a world re-designed for good ! Through our training programs,  our institute provides people with insights for interpreting the present, and creative tools to help them contribute to building a new fair and sustainable world. We even believe that we need to aim now for a regenerative economy, sustainability is not enough ! We provide several educational formats ranging from the six months long « LabSession » to shorter workshops on Biomimicry and Desirable Organisations, keynote lectures and various events. We have the privilege to be surrounded by over 150 experts, change makers and artists, providing to our explorers a fertile ground for new thinking, experimentation and creativity.

2) Complete this sentence: SB will fulfill my expectation if …

We’ll be satisfied if SB provides participants with insights and tools allowing them to Re-invent. We will love to see strategic partnerships emerging from SB events, partnerships that could lead corporates and the public authorities in delivering as quickly as possible fair and safe societies, and even foster the ermeging of regenerative ones !

3) Why come to participate in Hub Cities on D-2?

Cities are changing fast and they generate 80 per cent of the global gross domestic product. But this comes at a high cost : many cities are struggling with environmental degradation, traffic congestion and inadequate urban infrastructure. They do create wealth, but overall the environnemental footprints of cities is often alarming. Creating sustainable cities is one of the biggest challenge facing societies all over the world. In the SB’s Hub Cities, we’ll explore how to learn from a forest or a coral reef to re-invent urban planning. It all falls under an umbrella field of study known as « biomimicry”.

4) A FreshForward idea? (a dream, a beautiful story, etc.)

It is time to seriously take into account our dreams, and transform them into a strategy !

Don’t miss our programme.