The Climate Collaborative will launch on March 8 with its first-ever Climate Day event at the Natural Products Expo West 2017 in Anaheim, California. A three-year project of One Step Closer to Organic Sustainable Community (OSC2) and Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA), the event is open to companies who wish to understand, contribute, and solve issues related to climate change by carrying out committed and implementable actions as part of their company’s agenda.
The Collaborative includes executives from Annie’s, Dr. Bronner’s, Organic Valley, National Co+op Grocers, New Hope, Stonyfield, Happy Family, and WhiteWave Foods, among other brands and organizations. Climate Day will feature policymakers and experts on the sustainable food system and climate change, with roundtable meetings for retailers, representatives, and executives of various natural products companies. Paul Hawken of Project Drawdown with give the keynote speech.
Lara Dickinson, OSC2 Co-founder and Director, and Natural Products Industry Marketing Executive, says Climate Day is aimed at, “spreading hope, sharing new ideas and proven solutions, and making the connections that will help your company make a meaningful impact on climate.”
The event is in collaboration with New Hope Network, the organizer of Natural Product Expo West 2017, the largest food show in the United States. “They have a deep understanding of the climate/food connection and the imperative of climate to our industry and the world,” Nancy Hirshberg, Climate Collaborative organizer and industry leader, told Food Tank. “As the undeniable leading convener of the natural products industry, they have been and continue to be a vital partner in building support for climate action.”
According to A Framework for Assessing Effects of the Food System, the increase in use of chemical fertilizers for agricultural growth and productivity has had a negative impact on the environment leading to increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, decrease in water and soil quality. In 2014, FAO estimated that the agriculture, fisheries, and forestry could contribute a 30-percent increase in GHG emissions by 2050. In the U.S. alone, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) greenhouse gas inventory report, agriculture and food sector contributes nine percent of the total GHG emitted.
The United Nations Global Compact and KPMG jointly produced the SDG Industry Matrix after the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) chalked out ambitious plans for addressing sustainability issues in 2015. This industry matrix focuses on the need for innovation, use of best practices, and multi-stakeholder partnership and collaboration.
“OSC2 is a community of sustainability-focused natural products industry CEOs and business leaders that gather as a member community to work through tough business and industry challenges, driving change by working together in sustainability coalitions,” says Hirshberg. “SFTA focuses on implementing innovative sustainable business practices across the supply chain, from farm to retail through developing sustainability programs, innovating, promoting best practices, and advocating for change.”
The organizations are now pooling their expertise and resources into the Climate Collaborative project to inspire and collaborate with other organizations, companies, and institutions towards their shared goal. This collaborative project is in line with the Post 2015 SDG declaration which called “on all businesses to apply their creativity and innovation to solving sustainable development challenges.”