My TED Talk experience

I gave a TED Talk in Edinburgh, July 24th, 2019.  It should be posted by TED in a couple of months.  It was an exhilarating experience, so tough to prepare and practice, so much pressure to do it right and naturally, that is gobbled up my mind for about five months.  Here are some snapshot observations from the experience.

Edinburgh is fantastic city. I was practicing my talk a lot, and not getting it right!

TED’s production and classiest is second to none. Their preparation was so detailed. The pressure to do my talk mounted. TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders. July 21-25, 2019, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Dian Lofton / TED

Diane and I arrived in Edinburgh July 19, with my TED Talk scheduled for Wednesday, July 24.

Diane listend so much to my practicing, she could deliver the talk herself. She helped me so much, telling me to breath and slow down.

I attended a prep session for all speakers. You can see I am pensive!

My topic was Adversaries as Allies. You can work with critics, together, on solutions that make sense for business and society. I am passionate about this!

Before I walked on stage, I prayed, to be myself. Bob Langert speaks at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders. July 21-25, 2019, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Dian Lofton / TED

As I started, a calmness settled in. I was natural, relaxed. Thank God. Maybe I could do this 15 minute talk. Bob Langert speaks at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders. July 21-25, 2019, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

I started with the McD’s Styrofoam package story, and how it began my career of working with critics. Bob Langert speaks at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders. July 21-25, 2019, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

I described how working with the Environmental Defense Fund was good for us. They gave us great ideas, like switching from white, bleached bags to unbleached, brown bags.
Bob Langert speaks at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders. July 21-25, 2019, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

I went on to tell stories about working on animal rights and helping to save the Amazon rainforest with Greenpeace.
Bob Langert speaks at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders. July 21-25, 2019, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Dian Lofton / TED

I cannot thank Corey Hajim enough. Corey was my curator, coach, big fan, chief advisor and she made it all possible for me. Thank you Corey!
Host Corey Hajim speaks at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders. July 21-25, 2019, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

Briar Goldberg was my speech coach, who calmed me down, motivated me to listen to just one voice! Mine.
Speaker Briefing at TEDSummit: A Community Beyond Borders. July 21-25, 2019, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

I was honored to be invited and listen to all the speakers. The whole experience was remarkable. Most of all, I thank Diane, my wife and best friend and supported me all along. I think it all worked all well. I look forward to my talk going public.

Meat and Poultry

I thank Meat and Poultry for this three part podcast about my book.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Bob Langert, a former vice president over sustainability initiatives at McDonald’s spent more than 20 years at McDonald’s focused on ways for the company to address a range of issues related to sustainability.

For his book,”The Battle to do Good: Inside McDonald’s Sustainability Journey”, Langert says he interviewed about 51 people who were part of McDonald’s sustainability journey during his time with company. According to Langert, no company goes it alone when it comes to sustainability. But if sustainability is a team sport, who do you want to play for your side?

Bob Langert has a few thoughts about this subject which kicks off the second installment of our conversation.

Next week, we’re taking a break for the July 4 holiday, but we’re not quite done sharing what we learned from Bob Langert about McDonald’s and sustainability. So, in the third and final installment of our conversation, he answers several questions, including: Who defines the role of companies in society these days and how does social media influence that debate? Does big business have any business addressing social issues? And what’s a “hard knock nugget?”

 

Adversaries as Allies/Common Ground

I spoke at the terrific Chicago Common Ground conference last week.  I highly recommend it, so practical and insightful.

I spoke about adversaries as allies, using my first experience working the Environmental Defense Fund in 1990/91 as an example.  EDF’s original motto was “Sue the Bastard.”  They worked with McDonald’s to collaborate.  A real breakthrough.

Remember the notorious Styrofoam clamshell? I used a Big Mac package from 1991 to talk about our work with EDF to reduce waste.

This Common Ground conference might be the best one I’ve been exposed to. For those looking for practical and thoughtful program, consider this.

The #1 audience for my book

I really believe the number one audience that should read my book are those involved in food and agriculture.  They can learn so much from the McDonald’s journey, and short cut their own journey to be more timely, efficient and impactful.

So I was thrilled to be interviewed by Meat & Poultry!

https://www.meatpoultry.com/articles/21500-mcdonalds-search-for-sustainabilityK

MEAT & POULTRY

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – McDonald’s Canada recently announced the launch of its Green Concept Restaurants in Vancouver and British Columbia. These restaurants basically are testing sites for a variety of sustainable packaging and utensil solutions.

Customers visiting these special stores will see paper straws, and wooden cutlery and stir sticks. Cold drinks, specifically medium-size ones, will be served in cups that are acceptable in recycling streams.

The Green Concept Restaurant is one in a series of measures McDonald’s has taken to reduce their restaurants’ environmental footprint. But how did McDonald’s get to this point in the first place? To find out, MEAT+POULTRY spoke with Bob Langert, a former McDonald’s vice president over sustainability initiatives and author of The Battle To Do Good: Inside McDonald’s Sustainability Journey.

McDonald’s battle to do good included external and internal skirmishes because, “…getting anything done in a business is hard as anything, and when it comes to sustainability, almost all the issues that I worked on for almost three decades — they’re all new things — implementing a new animal welfare program or fund new packaging policies. So, as you know, human nature when we start something new it’s always a challenge.”

 

EDF recommendation

I was so happy to see that Elizabeth Sturcken, Managing Director of the Environmental Defense Fund recommended my book in a recent interview with Josh Prigge and his Sustainable Nation podcast.

She was asked: “What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?”

Elizabeth Sturcken’s answer:

“I recommend a brand new book that I just got. It was written by Bob Langert who ran sustainability at McDonald’s for years. It’s called The Battle to Do Good and it’s excellent. I heard that you interviewed Bob for this podcast so I’m putting a plug in for folks to listen to that podcast. Bob worked at McDonald’s for over 25 years and he was the person that EDF partnered with when we together created the model of corporate NGO partnerships. It really takes you through the journey of one person’s attempt to change a whole company and who he partnered with and how he did it.”

Giving a TED Talk

Hard to believe I’m been invited by TED to give a talk at their global conference in Scotland toward the end of July.

I’m going to talk about how working with critics is a good thing.  That in today’s world, where shutting down critics is common practice, we should instead reach out, collaborate, assume best intentions, and work to compromise for practical solutions.

Sound interesting, I hope!!

I am preparing for 12 minutes, about 1600 words, and preparing a lot.  TED has high standards, and some great people helping out.  I can’t wait.