Events, deadlines and agenda planning cycles

Noteworthy conferences taking place this month:

March is a popular month for conferences hosted by business publications, beginning with Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics Conference.

The Wall Street Journal’s invitation-only ECO:nomics Conference (March 3-5; Santa Barbara) has a theme of “Creating Environmental Capital” and is self-described as a “CEO-level view of the rapidly developing relationship between the environment and the bottom line.” The event convenes CEOs and policy makers to discuss such topics as green technology; the future of fossil fuels; and carbon trading. Program format features interactive sessions with participating WSJ editors and writers, followed by Q&A interaction with the audience. 

• The Economist Conference Group regularly delivers quality speakers and topics, and the lineup for this month’s Corporate Citizenship Conference (March 15-16; New York) follows in this blue-ribbon mode. The forum will convene an estimated 150 executive attendees to discuss “how companies can play a positive leadership role in society and how they should deal with the major issues facing the world today.”  The speaker lineup includes former US President Bill Clinton; Ben & Jerry’s Co-Founder Ben Cohen; Coca-Cola Chief Administrative Officer Alex Cummings; Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp; and Timberland CEO/President Jeffrey Swartz. 

Intertek Group’s Ethical Sourcing Forum (March 18-19; New York) will focus on “emerging sustainability and ethical supply chain challenges.” Program aims to serve as “a lab for exploring sustainability innovation and actionable results,” and is comprised of three tracks that are “crucial elements of any sustainability program today”: Visualize, Re-Think, and Solve. 2010 topics are scheduled to include “Transparency in supply chain”; “New models for sustainable purchasing and factory compliance”; and “Measuring and reporting environmental & social impacts.” 

Financial Times Investing in a Sustainable Future Conference (March 24; New York) will attract approximately 200 senior executives with responsibilities in the areas of asset management and corporate responsibility and sustainability, as well as members of the investment community. Program addresses responsible investments and CSR trends and issues. Speakers will include Dan Bross, senior director, corporate citizenship, Microsoft; Robert Lanyon, manager, corporate citizenship and community investments, ExxonMobil; Rand Waddoups, senior director of sustainability, Wal-Mart; and Fernando Rodes Vila, CEO, Havas.

Noteworthy conferences beginning agenda planning this month:

• Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America organizers will begin solidifying the agenda for their Business Future of the Americas Conference (June 21-24; Lima, Peru) in early March. The invitation-only conference is self-described as “the event that will define the future of business in the Western Hemisphere” and aims to provide a forum for Latin American senior representatives in trade policy, politics, and business to examine corporate strategies and international trade opportunities. Speakers are selected proactively by conference organizers. Theme will be Trade Facilitation.

• The World Economic Forum Meeting of the New Champions (September 13-15; Tianjin, China) is by and for the WEF’s Members of the Community of Global Growth Companies (GGC), a group described as “the most dynamic high-growth companies that have the potential to be tomorrow’s industry leaders…[based on the companies’] revenue, growth rate, internationalization and leadership.” March kicks off the agenda planning process, which is a collaborative effort by the WEF’s Partners and Members, along with experts from around the world. Third-party submissions are not accepted; however, this is an excellent venue for WEF members to network with other members, partners, and government leaders.

• While agenda planning for next year’s TED Conference (February 28-March 4, 2011; Long Beach) will not begin in earnest until the fall, it is never too early to begin thinking about your submission strategy. The TED Conference is likely among the most heavily pitched of any annual event worldwide, with several thousand speaker proposals received each year. Organizers are looking for “ideas worth spreading” presented in an atmosphere they describe as “stories told around the campfire.” Notable 2010 presentations were given by livestock handling designer and autism activist Temple Grandin; film director James Cameron; philanthropist Bill Gates; and singer/songwriter/activist Sheryl Crow.

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