Creating a Resilient Business through Sustainable Practices    


Thursday, February 2



Between climate change, consumer demand for ethically produced yet affordable food, and the rapid growth and increasing consolidation of the organic food industry, it can be difficult to keep “sustainability” as a priority in your business. Focus may just be on impeccable execution of business practices and evolving quickly enough to stay in the game. Both research and business case studies show, however, that incorporating sustainability into your business helps create a resilient business model that can endure many of the hard knocks typical in a competitive business environment. In fact, it can boost consumer loyalty and supply chain collaboration, and frequently does create a Return on Investment for your company.

Creating a Resilient Business will set a foundation for discussion by reviewing the factors that define “sustainability” in the organic food industry, and the studies that show how these factors translate into increased employee productivity and loyalty. Company representatives will present their own case studies to illustrate the triple bottom line (people, planet, and profit) impacts of several of these factors, touching on topics such as:

  • Fair Trade: Assessing the opportunity, implementing a pilot program, and analyzing results
  • Supply Chains: Creativity in shared risk and reward structures - land and company structure
  • Waste: Waste reduction programs that reduce costs, create jobs, and increase company income
  • Water and Energy: Efficiency measures and assessment process

Throughout the training, presenters will present the tools they used to analyze opportunities and how they assessed success. Attendees will have time to practice using those tools, using fictional or their own real-life examples. These tools include, but are not limited to, return on investment analysis, energy audits, and market assessments.

Finally, attendees will have opportunities later in the day to meet in small groups with each of the presenters. This unique opportunity allows attendees to ask questions in a more intimate setting, and work through any questions they may have about executing similar projects in their own companies.

Speakers: Bri Saseen, Sustainability and Facilities Manager, Chico Natural Foods; Lisa Spicka, Associate Director, Sustainable Food Trade Association; Ricardo Crisantes, Vice President, Wholesum Family Farms; Rory Schmick, Sustainability Director, Pacific Foods; Wade Miller, Farm Development Manager, Organic Valley