Organic Produce Summit addressing sustainability

Organic Produce Summit addressing sustainability

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Organic Produce Summit addressing sustainability

Sustainability is certainly a popular term. In the fresh fruit and vegetable business, the term has many angles to consider.

Kieran Ficken McNeice.

These various perspectives will be discussed July 13 in an educational session of the Organic Produce Summit (OPS) in Monterey, CA. The session is titled “The Value of Sustainability Compliance.” It will be moderated by Kieran Ficken McNeice, Director of Sustainability Programs for Measure to Improve, a fresh produce sustainability consulting firm based in Salinas, CA.

McNeice told that pressure across the supply chain to implement sustainable practices is increasing. Questions from buyers and retailers about those practices are increasing, as well. “Sustainability is rapidly becoming a cost of doing business, and to measure sustainability, buyers are asking for data from their suppliers.”

The OPS panel will discuss the reasons for the growing number of sustainability information requests and how companies across the supply chain can leverage the data collected and reported to improve their own operations. The sustainability panel discussion participants are:

  • Dana Brennan, vice president of external affairs and corporate responsibility, Grimmway Farms, Bakersfield, CA 
  • Roland Harmon, director of global food sourcing, Walmart, Bentonville, AR, and
  • John McKeon, director of organic integrity and compliance, Taylor Farms, Salinas, CA

Although this panel is part of the Organic Produce Summit, McNeice says sustainability doesn’t necessarily mean organic production. “Organic and conventional producers both face sustainability challenges, and need to consider the same issues, but may manage them in different ways.” 

McNeice explains that fresh produce clients of Measure to Improve receive services based upon customized programs designed for companies’ individual needs. They develop systems and processes and train client team members in a way that empowers clients to take ownership of their programs. The firm’s clients are growers, packers, shippers, and some distributors.

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