New consolidation strengthens organic’s mission to build sustainable food system and fight climate change
The Organic Trade Association announced the Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA) has consolidated with the Organic Trade Association in a meaningful partnership that will strengthen the organic sector’s voice in climate policy and sustainability issues in 2021, and boost the sector’s efforts to create an environmentally friendly, sustainable food system.
“The Organic Trade Association is honored to pick up the mantle of SFTA’s good mission and to help carry it forward. This consolidation will provide a broader and strengthened portfolio for organic to help mitigate climate change, and to build a food system that is healthy for us and our planet. The organic sector is starting off the new year strong, engaged and forward-thinking,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association.
An Organic Trade Association Sustainable Food Trade Action Council has been formed, which consists of the former members of SFTA and is open to all members of the Organic Trade Association.
“The new council will continue to support and expand SFTA’s mission-driven work related to sustainability and climate. Consolidating into a council within the Organic Trade Association creates a new opportunity for all of us. The Organic Trade Association’s unique and progressive council structure, integrated into the trade association governance, is collaborative, resourced, and driven by member priorities. We can build on both the Organic Trade Association and SFTA’s strengths to create an even brighter future together,” said Paul Schiefer, Senior Director of Sustainability for Amy’s Kitchen, Board member of the Organic Trade Association and SFTA Council Chair and Advisory Group member.
The non-profit Sustainable Food Trade Association, which ceased operations on the last day of 2020, was formed in 2008 with a mission to support the organic food trade in creating and implementing innovative, sustainable practices across the organic supply chain, from farm to retail. Its membership grew to over 40 organic businesses. On Climate Day in 2017, SFTA helped launch the Climate Collaborative, a group of organic and natural products companies with the common goal to find innovative, new ways to help reverse climate change.
SFTA has developed a set of effective tools for organic businesses to build, measure and refine their sustainability programs that will be available to all Organic Trade Association members. Its COMPASS program provides consistent annual guidance using a variety of key sustainability tools from which companies can choose the ones that best fit their businesses. One of the options in the COMPASS program is the Climate Action Management Primer (CAMP), which helps farmers and businesses chart a climate strategy by identifying climate hotspots, measuring carbon sequestration and prioritizing actions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
Lisa Braun, carbon accounting and sustainability expert and former Sustainability Technical Services Manager for SFTA, will be working with the Organic Trade Association to provide members with the expertise, tools and techniques to measure and manage their sustainability programs. A webinar to introduce and explain the SFTA tools will be held later this winter.
“SFTA members recognized the potential of this consolidation when 100 percent, in an 80 percent quorum, voted in favor of it. SFTA’s expertise in helping companies measure their sustainability, and the Organic Trade Association’s experience in organic advocacy and its effective Council model create a huge value for organic stakeholders. We expect this new council will thrive and grow, playing an essential role in supporting a continued focus on evolving sustainability practices, a core value within the organic trade and increasingly, beyond,” said Matt Landi, General Manager of Awe Sum Organics and SFTA Council Vice-Chair and Advisory Group member.
For more information on how to be a part of this new collaboration, contact the Organic Trade Association.