Anaheim, CA — An ever-growing number of natural product companies are taking action against climate change and eight have just been recognized for their leadership and bold initiatives.
The inaugural National Co+op Grocers Climate Collaborative Awards were given out yesterday at Natural Products Expo West, the country’s largest natural products industry trade show.
The companies, co-ops and individuals were nominated by their peers for expanding the boundaries of industry practices in at least one of the nine areas identified by the Climate Collaborative as having the most potential to slow — or reverse — climate change.
"Our industry’s moment to work in close unity to reverse climate change is here, and we applaud the 2018 award winners for leading the way," said Robynn Shrader, Chief Executive Officer, National Co+op Grocers. "NCG is prioritizing efforts to galvanize our industry around slowing global warming and we are excited to recognize these winning initiatives, which we believe can serve as blueprints that others can use to operate in ways that help protect our climate."
The nine areas are focused on agriculture (carbon farming), increasing energy efficiency, reducing food waste, eliminating commodity-driven deforestation, reducing the climate impact of packaging, advocating for responsible policies, committing to 100 percent renewable power, reducing short-lived climate pollutant emissions and transportation-related emissions.
Awards were given out for being an Outstanding Company or Influencer or for having an Outstanding Value Chain Engagement:
Outstanding Company Award Recipients
- Alter Eco for developing a scalable agroforestry model that regenerates farmland and compensates for carbon emissions within its supply chain
- Community Food Co-op (WA) for improving energy efficiency in a retail grocery setting and fostering resilient, regenerative farming communities
- Organic Valley for its innovative community solar program that will help Wisconsin increase residents’ solar energy use by 15 percent
- Veritable Vegetable for its comprehensive and successful approach to reducing emissions throughout its fleet and warehouses
Outstanding Value Chain Engagement Award Recipients
- Guayakí for producing more energy than its operations consume and maintaining a carbon-positive footprint for 22 years and counting
- Lotus Foods for developing a model for — and educating their supply chain and customers about — the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) ecological rice production method
Outstanding Influencer Award Recipients
- Albert Straus, founder of Straus Family Creamery, for his leadership in developing a long-term vision for carbon-positive organic dairy farming, including the first full-scale electric truck powered by cow manure
- Clif Bar & Company for its wide-ranging climate leadership, and particularly, for endowing the first domestic land-grant university chairs for organic research and providing renewable energy consulting to supply chain partners
The highlight of this year’s Climate Day at Expo West, the awards are designed to inspire the natural and organic products industry to work together to reduce emissions through the Climate Collaborative. Since it launched in March 2017, more than 200 companies have made over 700 commitments to climate action.
"Co-op grocers and the entire natural products industry have long been pioneers advocating for important causes, such as USDA Certified Organic, GMO labeling and now addressing climate change," said Erin Callahan, Climate Collaborative Director. "We wanted to recognize the innovative business practices that are being used to create positive change. These inaugural awards are just the beginning of what we can expect to see as more companies and individuals step up to be environmental stewards."
"We strongly believe that the decisions we make create a ripple effect, so the climate initiatives that the Community Food Co-op chooses to pursue are an integral part of our business structure," said Melissa Elkins, the co-op’s sustainability coordinator. "We feel these initiatives are a great way to show respect to our community and the environment."
"We see ourselves as innovators in everything we do," said Caryl Levine and Ken Lee, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs, Lotus Foods. "Part of the challenge that we embrace through our audacious mission to change how rice is grown around the world is how to approach problems with a fresh perspective to drive better solutions. Holding ourselves accountable to our environmental commitments as part of the Climate Collaborative is one more way we are pushing ourselves to focus on the positive impact we can have on our growers, consumers and the planet."
In addition to the award winners, National Co+op Grocers and Climate Collaborative named 10 finalists, selected from more than 40 applications, honored for their continued efforts and positive contributions:
Outstanding Company Finalists
Outstanding Value Chain Engagement Finalists
Outstanding Influencer Finalists
The Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA) — a convening partner of the Climate Collaborative alongside OSC2 — determined the finalists. A panel of judges that included Carlotta Mast of New Hope, Lara Dickinson of OSC2, Sheila Ongie of National Co+op Grocers, Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank and Catherine Greener of Xanterra selected the winners.
About Climate Collaborative
The Climate Collaborative is a project of OSC2 and SFTA to catalyze bold climate action among natural products companies. The Climate Collaborative brings manufacturers, retailers, brokers, distributors and suppliers together to build existing climate solutions to scale and to find innovative, new ways to help reverse climate change. Follow the Climate Collaborative on Facebook @climatecollab and @ClimateColl on Twitter.
National Co+op Grocers (NCG), founded in 1999, is a business services cooperative for retail food co-ops located throughout the United States. NCG helps unify food co-ops in order to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power, and ultimately offer more value to natural food co-op owners and shoppers everywhere. Our 147 member and associate co-ops operate more than 200 storefronts in 37 states with combined annual sales of nearly $2.1 billion. NCG is a winner of the dotCoop Global Awards for Cooperative Excellence and a Certified B Corp. Find a map of NCG member and associate co-ops. To learn more about co-ops, visit www.strongertogether.coop.
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