Sustainable Food Trade Association
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Declaration of Sustainability

Declaration of Sustainability (PDF)

Declaration of Sustainability in the Organic Food Trade
As growers, processors, handlers, brokers, certifiers and retailers in the organic food trade, we are deeply concerned about the scale and speed of environmental pollution and degradation, climate change, and depletion of natural and human resources that our business practices may cause. We believe actions are needed to address these fundamental problems and reverse these trends.

Our vision is to conduct our businesses in a way that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We recognize that ecology, human communities and economy are interwoven into a seamless net of causes and effects. Therefore we embrace the challenge to move our operations and actions toward sustainable models where the management of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of development, and the evolution of the organic food trade becomes consistent with the principles of sustainability.

We will endeavor to establish a culture of sustainability where the following four “systems conditions” will be standard throughout the organic food trade (The Natural Step):

  1. Our companies will endeavor systematically to reduce and eventually eliminate their economic dependence on substances extracted from the earth’s crust, such as heavy metals and fossil fuels.
  2. Our companies will endeavor systematically to reduce and eventually eliminate their economic dependence on synthetic and bio-accumulating toxic substances produced by humans, such as fossil-fuel based plastics, synthetic pesticides/herbicides and soil amendments, manufacturing and building materials, other synthetic toxic materials as well as growth hormones and genetically modified organisms.
  3. Our companies will endeavor systematically to reduce and eventually eliminate their dependence on materials and processes that degrade the ‘stocks’ and ‘flows’ of ‘natural capital’ such as soil, air, water, plants, habitat etc. harvested in environmentally damaging ways and quantities.
  4. Our companies will endeavor to systematically reduce and eventually eliminate their economic dependence on actions that increase inequity in the way resources are distributed. Companies must implement active approaches that guarantee all workers in our industry access to fair wages, sufficient benefits and quality work conditions.

We, therefore, agree to strive for continuous progressive improvement and to practice transparency in annually auditing our organizations in the following areas:

Organic and Land Use—We recognize the many benefits of organic farming for the health of the soil, water resources, plant, animal and human communities. We will strive to source the food products we vend from farms using organic methods. Furthermore, we will strive to source all agriculturally derived products (fiber, bio-based fuels and packaging, company meals, etc) we use in our operations from farms and supply sources using organic methods and offering organically grown product lines. We recognize the importance of independent third-party certification as an assurance that organic methods are being followed and will endeavor to verify all organic claims before vending a product.


Distribution and Sourcing—We will strive to produce, pack, transport, and distribute products from field to market using the most efficient means possible with the most environmentally responsible renewable fuel sources. We will systematically improve our energy efficiency, reduce our energy consumption, and reduce food-miles whenever possible.


Energy Use—We will strive to store, process, distribute and vend our products using energy resources in the most resourceful means possible with energy efficiency best management practices. We will utilize the most environmentally responsible renewable energy opportunities whenever possible such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal.


Climate Change and Air Emissions—We will strive to actively reduce all production, storage, processing, and retail practices that create the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. We will measure the carbon footprint of our operations and strive for achieving carbon-neutrality in all of our business practices.


Water Use and Quality— We will strive to reduce our use of fresh water and to optimize our operations to be so that all water use is as efficient as possible. We will raise awareness of regional and local water issues through education and information sharing. We commit to managing our water resources with the realization that multiple water stressors exist today, creating a situation where water is an increasingly scarce resource.


Solid Waste Reduction—We will strive to reduce waste at the source and treat waste in a way that sustains all living systems, through reusing, donating, recycling, and composting. When necessary we will utilize environmentally sound disposal systems. We will continually redesign our operations so that eventually “waste” will be eliminated because all material will become the raw material for new products and uses.


Packaging and Marketing Materials— We will strive to implement a zero-waste approach to packaging. This will entail:
1) reducing the amount of packaging we use, 2) actively participating in the development of packaging that is reusable, recyclable, and/or biodegradable; 3) considering packaging material contents when making all purchasing decisions, and 4) collaborating with buyers and suppliers on creative solutions which eliminate unsustainable packaging throughout the value chain.


Labor—We acknowledge that those communities, which protect and work the land are particularly vulnerable and must be treated fairly. We will strive to ensure that growers and handlers of food products collaborate to guarantee basic labor rights and verifiable improvements in the lives of farm workers and their communities. We will work to ensure that all workers are given the opportunity to give feedback about their needs and wants. We will develop and implement company policies, procedures, training and internal reporting structures to ensure commitment to good labor practices throughout our organization. These labor practices will include ensuring that we compensate our employees to enable them to meet at least their basic needs and provide the opportunity to improve their skill and capability in order to raise their social and economic opportunities, promoting equal opportunity for our employees at all levels of the company, and provide a safe and healthy workplace.


Animal Care—We will strive to ensure that livestock have access to clean and sufficient food and water; that their environment is not dangerous to their health; that they have sufficient protection from weather elements; that they have sufficient space allowance in order for them to move naturally including access to pasture; and other features to ensure the safety, health and comfort of the animal. In addition, that managers and caretakers be thoroughly trained, skilled and competent in animal husbandry and welfare, and have good working knowledge of their system and the livestock in their care.


Sustainability Education (Internal & External)— We will strive to provide consumers, employees, our communities, and the media accurate, useful and timely information about all of the areas listed in this document.


Governance and Community Engagement—We will strive to review our progress toward these goals on a regular basis by conducting self audits and being transparent with all employees and the public with the results. We will actively engage in communication across the trade to solve sustainability related challenges and will facilitate dialogue regarding action.

Tessa Young

Vice President of Communications
Organic Trade Association
Washington, DC

Tessa serves as a creative leader on OTA’s Integrated Marketing and Communications team where she is responsible for implementing a corporate communications strategy to advance OTA’s mission across its various trade audiences. She has an MBA in Organizational and Environmental Sustainability from Antioch University New England and a triple-major undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts. OTA, an umbrella organization uniting more than 7,000 member companies across the entire supply chain, promotes and protects today’s $39 billion organic sector.

Michelle Suess

Sustainability Coordinator
LifeSource Natural Foods
Salem, OR

Michelle Suess has a combined passion for great food and environmental sustainability. She puts her degrees in biology and environmental science to use as sustainability coordinator, recycling coordinator, and health and safety administrator at LifeSource Natural Foods and on the board of Directors for the SFTA. Seven years into a formal sustainability program and five annual sustainability reports later, LifeSource has come a long way toward understanding and accomplishing its sustainability goals and was honored to recently be named the 8th Best Green Business to Work for in Oregon. Michelle is excited to share the work LifeSource is doing with the larger community.

Kelly Hoell

Sustainability Consultant
Good Company
Eugene, OR

Kelly specializes in technical and market research, sustainability and greenhouse gas assessments and sustainability program development. Kelly has worked on over 50 greenhouse gas inventories for international food processors, food distributors, transit agencies, municipal government operations and entire communities. She is an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon teaching environmental assessment and is an MBA candidate at Oregon State University. Good Company helps clients from around the country and the globe to measure, manage and market their sustainability performance.

Shauna Sadowski

Director of Sustainability
Annie’s, Inc.
Berkeley, CA

Shauna Sadowski is responsible for Annie’s sustainability strategy, including sustainability reporting, education, and supply chain impacts, with a particular emphasis on food and farming programs. In prior years, Shauna has been a management consultant and a farm girl; she is a graduate of the Friedman School at Tufts University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Berkeley with her husband, daughters and boisterous Boston Terrier.

Hannah La Luzerne

Sustainability Manager
Wholesum Family Farms
Nogales, AZ

Hannah inspires a spirit of responsibility by coordinating sustainability projects at organic farms in Arizona and Mexico and helping suppliers work toward Fair Trade certification. Working across languages, cultures, and stakeholder groups, her work helps grow a more sustainable Wholesum from the roots up. A native Arizonan, Hannah loves deciphering Spanglish on the border and listening to thunder from the monsoon rains.

Diana Chapman

Director of Sustainability
PCC Natural Markets
Seattle, WA

Diana joined PCC Natural Markets (PCC) in 2002 and has served the co-op in community relations, communications and sustainability roles. Her background includes several years in banking and media focused primarily on marketing and market research. She earned her undergraduate degree in secondary education from the State University of New York at Oneonta and an MBA from the University of Puget Sound. Her best work and happiest work has been the raising of her son and daughter, both of whom held their first jobs at PCC. Diana is a founding member of the SFTA board.

Britt Lundgren

Director of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture
Stonyfield Farm
Londonderry, NH

Prior to 2011, Britt spent five years as an agricultural policy specialist for Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, D.C. She holds a Master of Science in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from Tufts University. Together with Stonyfield co-founder and chair Gary Hirshberg and Dr. Charles Benbrook, she co-authored Label It Now, a book that makes the case for labeling genetically engineered foods. Britt also serves on the board of the New Hampshire Conservation Law Foundation, and as an Advisor to AGree. She has worked on organic farms in Maine, Massachusetts, and Colorado, and is an avid fiddle player.

Jonathan Reinbold

Sustainability, Research & Grant Manager
Organic Valley
La Farge, WI

Jonathan works at the nexus of energy, water and food systems to promote farmland stewardship and improve ecosystem health while contributing to robust local food systems. He leads the Organic Valley sustainability department’s efforts in natural resource conservation, renewable energy production, environmental research and employee engagement. His experience spans sustainability strategy, non‐profit management, food systems policy, renewable energy and green design. Jonathan is active in international sustainability collaborations. He previously served on the board of the land conservation non-profit, Valley Stewardship Network. Jonathan earned his MA in Environment & Community from Antioch University Seattle.

Peter Golbitz

Agromeris LLC
Estero, FL

With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Peter works closely with leading businesses and organizations on market and business development projects at Agromeris, an advisory firm that focuses on the unique needs of the specialty food and agricultural marketplace. Previously, Peter was the Director of International Business Development at SunOpta, a leading U.S. food processor. He was the founder and president of Soyatech, a consulting and publishing company of the annual Soya & Oilseed Bluebook. Currently, he also serves on the board of the World Soy Foundation, and sits on technical committees of the Organic Trade Association.

Natalie Reitman-White

Senior Director of Organizational Vitality and Sustainability
Organically Grown Company
Portland, OR

Since 2005, Natalie has worked with cross-departmental teams to integrate sustainable practices across OGC and lead’s OGCs organic trade advocacy efforts. She has been on the faculty for the Institute for Sustainable Environment at the University of Oregon, was the first Executive Director of the Sustainable Food Trade Association and currently serves on numerous organic advisory boards. In 2013, Natalie shifted her focus to include “organizational vitality”. In her new role she leads of human resources ensuring organizational alignment with OGCs unique “shared-ownership” culture, strategic talent management and organizational development activities.

Hansel New

Manager of Corporate Sustainability
WhiteWave Foods
Louisville, CO

At WhiteWave Foods, a leading organic and natural foods company with such well-known brands as Silk, So Delicious Dairy Free, Earthbound Farms, and Horizon Organic, Hansel’s focus areas include ethical sourcing, packaging innovation, resource conservation, and consumer engagement. He received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health from Oregon State University and an MBA in Sustainable Business with a focus in Food Systems Management from Marylhurst University.

Brionne Saseen

Facilities and Sustainability Manager
Chico Natural Foods Cooperative
Chico, CA

Brionne earned an interdisciplinary degree in Human Rights & Environmental Advocacy from California State University, Chico with minor in Statistics in early 2011. During her time as a student, she worked for the Recycling and Sustainability offices on campus and served as the Zero-Waste Coordinator for the university. In 2011 she joined the Lundberg Family Farms team as their Environmental Coordinator. She has since moved on to work with Chico Natural Foods Cooperative as their Facilities & Sustainability Manager. She has served on the SFTA BOD since 2013.

Jim Pierce

With over 25 years of dedication to the Organic Revolution, Jim, worked from 2008-2015 as the Global Certification Program Manager for Oregon Tilth responsible for: monitoring, assessing and interpreting International Organic Standards for clients and staff, and managing international accreditations. Previous to this position Jim worked Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative as Certification Czar. He earned his degree in Microbiology at Western Illinois University. Jim and his wife Cathy currently reside in central Pennsylvania countryside with their two daughters and no television.

Jason Boyce

Sustainability Manager
Nature’s Path Foods
Richmond, BC, Canada

At Nature’s Path Foods, a leader in the organic food sector for over 25 years, Jason leads the efforts to achieve its ambitious sustainability goals such as Zero Waste 2015 and Climate Neutral 2020. He has over 10 years of experience working to support sustainable food systems, and obtained his MBA is Sustainable Business in 2008 from Pinochet University. He is a passionate foodie who loves spending his free time cooking in his kitchen with his family.