From breakfast briefings to happy hours, the enthusiasm for climate action was palpable at last week’s Expo East. In the midst of the bustling trade show floor, we witnessed a passionate, fast-growing community of natural products manufacturers, retailers, distributors and brokers coming together to act on climate.
I love Expo East. It is smaller than its West coast counterpart, which allows for more time to connect with an inspiring group of amazing natural products leaders. Erin Callahan, our new Climate Collaborative Director, and I had a great time on the show floor meeting with many of the dozens of companies who were proudly displaying their commitments to climate action (check out our pictures on Facebook.)
With climate change-heightened natural disasters laying waste to parts of Texas, Florida and the Caribbean just prior to the Expo and more potentially devastating hurricanes swirling out in the Atlantic, the natural products industry is kicking into high gear to make a meaningful impact on the climate challenge.
Over the course of the week, Seventh Generation became our 100th company to commit to climate action (officially hitting our Year One goal for the Collaborative in less than six months!), more than 25 companies announced new climate action commitments, the Organic Center announced a new study showing that organic can cut agriculture’s contribution to climate change, and we co-hosted two, packed, climate-focused events with our wonderful partners, INFRA and Dr. Bronner’s.
Before Expo East began, we asked some of you why you were acting on climate through the Climate Collaborative. You responded with an inspiring set of short videos and quotes – we’ve posted them on our web site for you to enjoy.
In the lead up to Expo East, Badger Balm made five commitments to climate action in energy efficiency, forests, packaging, policy and renewable energy.
Annie’s gave us a wonderful surprise with an eye-catching, thought-provoking booth dedicated to soil and its profound importance to surmounting the climate challenge. And we so appreciated their including the Climate Collaborative in their booth education.
CEO Corinne Shindelar kicked off the standing-room-only breakfast briefing we co-hosted with our core partner, INFRA. We heard from Badger Balms’ co-owner and VP of Research and Development, Rebecca Hamilton, who spoke about their recent commitments to climate action. Dolores Anderson, Store Manager of Sunflower Natural Foods Market –our newest company– actually announced their new climate commitments during her remarks. And Amy Kirtland, Senior VP West of KeHE, our newest Climate Collaborative donor, talked about her inspiration (let’s hear it for my co-founder, Nancy Hirshberg!) and the continuing evolution of KeHE’s commitments to climate action. These leaders also made personal calls to action to brands and retailers to join our collaborative approach to fighting climate change. If you missed this session, you can watch the video of it here.
A huge thank you to Dr. Bronner’s for working with us to bring together a vibrant crowd on the show floor for our Regenerative Organic Happy Hour where I had the tremendous honor of speaking alongside David Bronner and Rose Marcario of Patagonia.
Finally, my deep gratitude, as always to our wonderful partner, New Hope for providing this crucial opportunity for us to gather, exchange ideas and make new connections to increase our collective impact on climate.
Amidst the daily slog of heavy news and an alarming series of unbelievably strong natural disasters, my colleagues and I are truly heartened by this quickly-growing community’s spirit of collaboration and hope. I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together in the next six months and am already looking forward to seeing you at Climate Day at Expo West on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018. Please mark your calendars now and make sure you arrive in time to participate!