Vision for a Sustainable Decade

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Ficus religiosa

Coming up on October 28 to 30, 2010, is the Net Impact Conference held at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. The San Diego Zoo’s manager of venture business, Jon Prange, will be featured on a panel at the conference on the topic of science brand equity, a new term coined by EarthSky.

“Brand equity” is the increase in value a product gains when associated with a certain brand when compared to how that product would do in the market without that brand attached. Science, as we know, is the systematic knowledge gained through observation and experimentation. Put those two terms together and we have “science brand equity,” or the value of science associated with a specific brand. Science, in a corporate sense, encompasses sustainability, research, technology, and innovation.

The argument here is that by sharing the science behind the development and supply chains of their products, companies can increase public trust and respect. Showcasing the science behind their sustainability efforts prevents companies from creating “perceived sustainability,”—talking the green talk but not walking the green walk. Science brand equity is a term that encourages organizations to share with the public how they are making the world a better place.

The San Diego Zoo has a world-famous brand, yet many aren’t aware of the extent of the work we are doing in conservation. Our scientists work every day to figure out the science of saving species, but not all of our conservation work is in the field. Biomimicry has the potential to serve as a bridge between the economy and the environment. At the Zoo, we are committed to ongoing programs of education and outreach to encourage the application of nature-inspired, sustainable design. Through biomimicry, we can raise the awareness and relevance of our conservation work to a wider audience.

To read more about the San Diego Zoo’s efforts, visit the Biomimicry section.

Jon is participating in a panel moderated by Lauren Ward, director of business development at EarthSky Communications. Other panel participants include Seth Farbman, president of OgilvyEarth, and Candace Sue, director of public affairs at Pfizer.

Dena Emmerson is a biomimicry research assistant at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous post, Biomimicry: Fall Series Event.

Click here to sign up for Conservation Beat, a monthly e-newsletter featuring the San Diego Zoo’s conservation efforts, including a special section on biomimicry.