More Details on Expo West “Time to Lead on Climate” Panel

The excitement is building as I busily prepare for Expo West, now just 2 weeks away. Our focus this year is around climate change, a topic that is front and center in the wake of the recent COP21 Global Climate Summit in Paris. The universal “we” have made major progress in building awareness and actions among countries, companies and communities; it is now indisputable that we need to take dramatic action to address the health of Mother Earth and I know natural foods companies can—and will—rise to the challenge.

Natural_Products_Expo_WestMy panel,“Time to Lead on Climate”, will explore best climate practices for our industry and showcase specific activities of top leaders in natural foods. Author and climate activist Bill McKibben will share his thoughts (via video) on our industry’s engagement in climate action. Attendees will gain useful insights into where to begin their climate journey or for those already on the path, inspirational actions toward deepening their existing commitment and impact.

I love that this panel is in the ‘making the impossible possible’ track, though I don’t view this is an impossible concept. Join me, Bill, Chris Mann, and Nancy Hirshberg of the “Just Label It” campaign on stage to launch a climate-friendly foods movement. We’ll be in Marriott’s Grand Ballroom F on Saturday, March 12 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

I’ve got a busy show… as a heads up, I’m also speaking on a panel titled “Packaging Imperatives: where we are and where we need to go” in the ‘stewardship’ track. That will take place on Friday, March 11 at 12:30 p.m. and includes Cynthia Barstow, James Tonkin and Jeanne Cloutier discussing how natural foods brands are uniting in search of compostable packaging. OSC2 (of which I’m a co-founding director) is also hosting its fourth annual breakfast presentation on Saturday, March 12 at 8 a.m.

We’ll see you in Anaheim in 2 weeks!

Climate Change Will Be My Focus at Expo West

Climate Change Will Be My Focus at Expo West

We’re just 3 weeks away from annual journey to Expo West, the signature event for the natural foods industry, and I wanted to share 3 events I’m collaborating on, in conjunction with my group, OSC2. Our focus this year is around climate change.

The first panel is “Packaging Imperatives: where we are and where we need to go” in the ‘stewardship’ track. On Friday, March 11 at 12:30 p.m. I will join Cynthia Barstow, James Tonkin and Jeanne Cloutier of Alter Eco on stage to discuss how natural foods brands are uniting in search of compostable packaging.

The second panel is “Time to Lead on Climate” and I love that it is in the ‘making the impossible possible’ track. On Saturday, March 12 at 3 p.m., I will join Chris Mann, Bill McGibbon and Nancy Hirshberg of the “Just Label It” campaign on stage to launch a climate-friendly foods movement.

Why this focus? Jessica Rolph (Happy Family founding partner) and I started talking last fall about our growing concern around climate change and our thoughts to inspire top leadership toward connecting with the crisis. We thought the natural products industry should engage to do more, so we’re bringing the foremost leaders in the natural foods industry together and will share more details during this second panel. I will hint the key influencers working on this with us in phase 1 include UNFI, Target, NCGA, Guayaki, New Hope and SFTA.

OSC2 is also hosting its fourth annual breakfast presentation on Saturday, March 12 at 8 a.m.; our event is already “sold out” in terms of our location’s capacity.

If there are any specific climate change questions you’d like our group to consider for either panel, please leave a note in the comments. I hope to see you in Anaheim in just a few weeks!

 

Addressing Climate Change as an Industry

Addressing Climate Change as an Industry

A few weeks ago, I met with Laura Howard and Douglas Gayeton from the Lexicon of Sustainability and introduced them to my OSC2 group of sustainable food CEOs.

I asked the Lexicon to present their approach to addressing climate change to this group. The Lexicon is on the forefront of understanding consumer sustainability thinking and we need to stay connected closely to that as marketers and CEOs.

Douglas made a big impression on me when he shared an activist ad that showed a picture of a polar bear on a melting iceberg and the caption, “You put me here.”  Well what are we supposed to do about that? And that is what a lot of leaders in natural foods probably think and feel. Climate is a big big issue, but it is remote. And we have no idea what to personally do about it.

Our friends and Guayaki have one answer and are actively contributing to a more hopeful future.  They are not only protecting, but also restoring the rainforests. So much so that their mission does not talk at all about selling Mate; it is about protecting and restoring millions of acres of rainforest

Many companies do have the answer… partly. There are 5-10 key hot spots where natural foods companies can make a difference. Rainforests matter a lot. Soil does too. Packaging is a big one. And there are a few more. I love this article on the rainforests as it provides a hopeful message. As does soil and carbon sequestration. There are some big and radical steps natural foods companies can take. The key is to secure alignment on identifying those big hot spots as an industry and then acting. It is a lot easier to act, when we know what to do and why. Stay tuned for more OSC2 and Pluot work toward this.

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