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Earl’s Announces the Launch of its Formal Sustainability Program

Organicology LogoWhile representatives from Earl’s sales department met with customers, vendors, and fellow distributors at the Organicology conference in Portland, Kathy met with sustainability coordinators from various organic food businesses at an intensive seminar, Sustainability 101, hosted by the Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA). SFTA is a non-profit trade association and community of food related businesses that works to expand the understanding and use of sustainable business practices within the organic food trade. SFTA works with its members to facilitate the creation of sustainability strategies, performance benchmarking, the collaboration and sharing of best practices, and the of spread knowledge and information through webinars and workshops.

Earl’s Organic has long been committed to sustainability; for years we have been composting and recycling, purchasing recycled paper and recycled office supplies whenever possible, using only non toxic cleaning supplies, purchasing all organic cotton company apparel, reusing pallets,  and participating in the market corporation’s green team. In 2013, however, Earl’s decided the company needed to take its commitment to sustainability to the next level and create a formalized sustainability program and method for tracking its progress and performance.

Kathy’s background in sustainability leadership made her a suitable candidate to coordinate the project and she has since been tasked with working with the SFTA to create a formal sustainability program, convene and direct an internal sustainability team, begin to track and record Earl’s Organics’ usage metrics, write Earl’s first annual sustainability report, and manage projects to reduce the environmental impact of our office and warehouse operations.

Since the New Year Earl’s has already made strides towards greening our office and warehouse operations. We have made significant upgrades to our internal composting and recycling programs in attempt to increase our waste diversion rate and make progress towards our goal of operating a zero waste facility. In addition, we began working with the San Francisco Water Department as part of their pilot program to test the viability of turning anaerobically digested food scraps into energy. As a result, in addition to reducing food waste, this project is sequestering carbon and methane gases (two powerful green house gases emitted during the normal composting process) and producing a source of renewable energy. Furthermore, we are working with our landlord, the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market Corporation, to construct a parklet in Earl’s parking lot to increase the publically available green space for employees to use and enjoy.

Kathy

Kathy will soon begin recruiting fellow Earl’s employees to join her sustainability team. The team will be comprised of a diverse array of employees from each department who can assist with the collection of usage metrics, set department goals, and advocate for and implement intradepartmental improvements. Earl’s will use its metrics to produce an annual sustainability report outlining our annual environmental impact, demonstrating our monthly and annual progress, and identifying areas for future improvement. Through this process Earl’s aims to become more conscientious of the impact our operations have on our employees, our customers and vendors, and our community and the environment and to use this understanding  to manage our progress towards our long term environmental goals.

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