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Sustainability “Crazies” & Who to Follow on Twitter
Nov, 27,2012
Director of Marketing and Partner at Expok, Sustentabilidad y RSE

Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, Are the ones who do.

For those of you who haven’t already recognized it, what you have just read is the text from the unforgettable Apple campaign “Think different” from 1997 by TBWA\Chiat\Day, and undoubtedly from the mind of the one and only Steve Jobs.

The campaign presented two commercials known as “the crazy ones”, the voice of Richard Dreyfuss reciting the powerful and inspirational message accompanied by a procession of images of people who have changed the world: Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Branson, John Lennon (with Yoko Ono), Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Tupac Shakur, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson (with Kermit the Frog), Frank Lloyd Wright and Pablo Picasso.

Today, without a doubt, we could add to the list the same creator of the advertisement, Steve Jobs, whose prolific genius and tireless work changed the world from an uncommon place, through marketing.

And talking about marketing, changes, and trends, the latest sustainability report from Coca-Cola, as well as their use of videos, infographics, storytelling, and downloads show how they have taken advantage of social media and have made the company reachable from the computer screen to the smartphone. Without a doubt, the company’s marketing and communication strategy is a great example of what organizations should be doing in a world of digital, mobile, social and sustainable consumers.

In line with Coca-Cola, other big brands have understood how to adapt to this new form of marketing such as Nike, The Body Shop, Timberland, Levi´s, Natura, BMW… However, aside from large organizations, the rest seem to be moving a little slowly. Are we missing a “crazy” to catalyze big change? What we need is a Steve Job of sustainability that catapults industries to embrace these trends that are advancing slowly but surely.

Who could we recognize as true drivers of sustainability? Without a doubt Al Gore, the former candidate whose losing of the U.S. Presidential race could have been the best thing that ever happened to him. Launching his crusade against climate change has won him international prestige, an Oscar and the Nobel Peace Prize, among other accolades.

Who else could be our sustainability evangelist? What about Sir Richard Branson? Undoubtedly another one of the “crazies”, the English business magnate has over 360 businesses in his consortium Virgin Group. Founding his first company at the age of 16, he recently has been a principle driver of biofuels. Never shy to the public eye, in 2008 he opened a container of airplane fuel manufactured with a base of coconut oil and babassu nuts, and drank it to demonstrate it is completely innocuous. Maybe this visionary realizes that the greatest threat to aviation doesn’t lie in competition, but in the inevitable issues and regulations the environment will require.

Laudable sustainability representatives and inclined towards ecological themes, we must not forget that there are three pillars of sustainability: the environment, society and profitability. Who could encapsulate those other topics previously unmentioned? Without a doubt, one could be Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize for his economic and social development.

Without a doubt all of the aforementioned figures have had an enormous impact on sustainability, but have any of them driven a global revolution? Have they achieved the same impacts as the iPod had on the music industry, the iPad on computing, the iPhone on the telephone, putting millions of gadgets in hands across the globe?

While you reflect on that question and about the figures that have achieved great lengths in terms of sustainability, I’ll leave you with my 10 recommendations of who to follow to keep up with the latest on sustainability; leaders who could one day turn into that “crazy” that changes the world: 

Al Gore @algore Nobel Peace Prize recipient in 2007 an creator of the film An Inconvenient Truth

Richard Branson @richardbranson CEO of Virgin Group

Muhammad Yunus @Yunus_Centre Nobel Peace Prize recipient in 2006, founder of Grameen Bank

Dave Meyer @DRMeyer1 Expert in sustainable businesses

Adam Werbach @adamwerbach Chief Sustainability Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi

Aman Singh @AmanSinghCSR Editorial Director at CSRwire

David Connor @davidcoethica Founder and Managing Director of Coethica

Elaine Cohen @elainecohen CEO of BeyondBusiness

Jo Confino @joconfino Editorial Director of Guardian Sustainable Business

Marcus Chung @marcuschung Vice President of Corporate Practices at Fleishman-Hillard