Creating a Resilient Business through Sustainable Practices    


Thursday, February 2



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With increased competition and consolidation in the organic food industry as well as evolving consumer taste, it can be difficult to keep “sustainability” as a priority in your business. Your company’s 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 employee and consumer loyalty, increase supply chain collaboration, and frequently does create a Return on Investment for your company. 

This sustainability intensive opens the day with a review of the factors and best practices that define “sustainability” in the organic food industry. You will also learn about some of the many studies that show how these factors translate into increased financial benefits via employee and consumer impacts. The intensive then brings this information to life with speakers who present sustainability case studies from their own companies. These case studies illustrate the triple bottom line (people, planet, and profit) impacts of their practices, address 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 income
  • Water and Energy: Efficiency measures and assessment tools to create a robust water management program

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 the presenters. This unique opportunity allows attendees to 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