Southern California environment news and trends

What is the sound of social change? The Grammy Awards ask, but offer no answer

Justin Vernon of Bon Iver poses with the


Apparently pop singers like Justin Vernon of Bon Iver (here with his 2 Grammys) are influential. Photo backstage at the 54th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, February 12, 2012.

For the second year in a row, the Recording Academy sponsored a talk about ways the entertainment business responds to social change. It was last Friday; I went to a panel called "The Sound of Social Change."

A press release said El Segundo-based Mattel, fast food giant Yum! Brands, Hyundai Motors, and the public relations firm Weber Shandwick were chosen to kick around energy use, water conservation, food waste and recycling concerns because they’re leaders in their fields. (Representatives of those businesses talked plenty about following consumers in the marketplace, too.)

I usually find these kind of events a colossal waste of time. Corporate sustainability types, given free rein, tend to prefer platitudes and staying on message to talking substantively about what they do and why they do it. But this one gave me food for thought.