Battle for a Brighter Vancouver

Twenty-five teams compete for a winning environmental solution 

On Earth Day (Apr. 22), Brands for Better Foundation is hosting a three-part event aiming to address the issues of waste reduction and sustainability in Vancouver. The foundation’s inaugural event will bring local teams together in a strategy hack-a-thon to compete for the best environmentally conscious design.  

Brands for Better Foundation, a not-for-profit give-back initiative, was founded in late 2019 by a community who wished to encourage people to implement meaningful changes with environmental and social issues in mind. “What is really important to me […] is that we don’t want to just have another idea,” said co-founder Scot Sustad. “We actually want to create genuine and measurable impact in our city.”  

A mix of 25 retail, construction, technology and other Vancouver-based companies and brands have signed up for the strategy hack-a-thon. Each team will buy seats for a table and can either purchase a whole table, half a table or individual seats. Each team will host up to 10 members with two students, one local master’s student (MBA and MD) and one undergraduate. Once the teams have come up with their plans, they will have to pitch their ideas to a team of judges. The top five teams will be chosen based on the creativity and feasibility of their solutions. From there, the winners will move on to the Public Pitch Night.  

Between the initial event and the pitch night taking place on Jun. 11 at the Vogue Theatre, the winning teams will have guidance from local agencies to perfect their pitches and refine their solutions. The public is encouraged to attend the pitch night, a cultural evening that will showcase local talent and a Dragon’s Den-style pitching.  

Before the teams have presented their pitch they will sign an agreement that will determine whether their brand will take on the task of implementing their solution. One option will state that the winning team will accept responsibility to implement their concept utilizing the Brands for Better resources and community support. If the winning team does not have the capacity or the time to carry out their design, they will agree to have a team of three people under 30 years old take over. The final group of people that agree to implement the winning concept will have access to community input, meetings with experts in the field and various resources that make their idea a success. There is a goal of achieving the design within one year.  

The judges will consist of a variety of influencers and subject matter experts to allow a diverse view of the solutions presented. “It is important that we represent the broader population,” said Sustad. “This way, we can see it from everybody’s different perspectives and point of view.” Brands for Better intends for this event to become an annual affair, with next year focusing on social issues. The foundation chose the inaugural event to surround environmental problems, but kept in mind how they may impact the people and communities in the city. Each year, Brands for Better plans on rotating between addressing environmental and social causes.  

More information about future events and ways to get involved can be found at the Brands for Better Foundation website. 

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