NCG Food Co-ops Celebrate Climate Action

Second Annual National Co+op Grocers Climate Collaborative Awards

Now in their second year, the National Co+op Grocers Climate Collaborative awards stand as a benchmark for the natural products industry’s progress on climate change. The 2019 award winners (including PCC Community Markets!) were announced as part of Climate Day at Expo West in March to a packed house that extended at times to standing-room only, as companies gathered to learn from and be inspired by one another. 

As many businesses, including food co-ops, seek to find ways to reduce carbon footprints and increase positive impact, it’s more important than ever to highlight and celebrate stories of achievement and success. Reframing the challenge of climate change through the lens of progress rather than fear has immense power to galvanize action not only within our industry, but among food co-op customers as well. Sharing these powerful stories on a national stage is helping to normalize and publicize the reality that climate action is not only urgently needed, but also already underway by a number of progressive co-ops and companies. 

We are pleased to report that our 2019 winners were selected from a pool of 40 nominees by a panel of judges that included Sheila Ongie, Sustainability Manager at NCG, Carlotta Mast of New Hope, Lara Dickinson of OSC2, Paul Hawken of Project Drawdown, and Catherine Greener of Greener Solutions. As in 2018, National Co+op Grocers recused itself from the judging of food co-ops and other retailers that were nominated for awards.

Judge Sheila Ongie shared a sentiment that was common across the judging panel. “We’re thrilled to recognize these companies for their leadership and the outstanding work they’re doing to address climate change. These examples inspire us all to do even more, and we hope that by highlighting their success, we’ll create ripples of impact that turn into waves of positive climate action throughout the industry. Working together, we can help reverse global warming.” 

The award winners graciously reported that the awards were validating and meaningful for their companies and staff. “Receiving this award is a huge honor for us at REBBL,” said Sheryl O’Loughlin, CEO of REBBL.

“It is a recognition of the importance of the link between humanity and the environment, which is at the core of our philosophy and what we believe to be the way to regenerate our world.” REBBL’s line of plant-based elixirs and protein drinks are a favorite of food co-op shoppers across the country.

Miguel Gil, interim CEO for ORGANIC INDIA summed up the significance of their award. “We are all stewards of this earth, and as part of the natural and organic products community, we are uniquely capable of, and therefore called to, enact large scale change to leave our planet better than we found it. ORGANIC INDIA is proud to be honored with this award because it confirms our leadership role in creating a business model dedicated to global wellness for people, communities and our environment.” 

In addition to being proud to see a food co-op among those honored in this year’s awards, C.E. Pugh, CEO of National Co+op Grocers, expressed his respect for companies that are authentically delivering on their brand promise. “We’re delighted to recognize these award winners for their considerable efforts to address the global challenge of climate change, inspiring others within our industry and beyond to do the same,” he said.

“We’re especially proud that six NCG food co-ops were among the nominees for awards this year. Our sector has made terrific progress in the past five years in measuring, improving and reporting about our impact and sustainability, an important discipline that helps us to be better grocers and stewards of the earth.”

We invite you to learn more about these winners’ stories by visiting www.strongertogether.coop and searching for “climate awards.” •

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