Sustainability report: Expo West

by Brent Kawamura

This article was originally published in May 2019

Natural food companies from around the world gather each spring at Expo West in Anaheim, California, the industry’s largest annual trade show. Our buyers attend this event to meet with vendors, discover the newest trends and products for our stores, and help advance industry priorities from our position on the leading edge of sustainable food. This year’s expo was especially productive and rewarding.

A particular highlight for PCC staff was dreaming up and hosting a sold-out sustainable packaging summit for the natural foods industry. As we have shared, PCC is working hard to eliminate petroleum-based plastics from our deli. While progressing toward this goal, we recognized a dire need to address the complex food packaging ecosystem across the entire natural foods industry, from packaging manufacturers to retailers like us. Expo West was the perfect opportunity. We collaborated with the Sustainable Food Trade Association, the Climate Collaborative and Conscious Brands to host the event, inviting more than 100 industry-leading professionals in sustainability, packaging, product manufacturing and retail. Hot discussion topics included the excessive use of single-use plastics and much-needed policy changes. The rich and engaging discussion on critical issues will lead into collective actions.

At the expo’s Climate Day, Brenna Davis, PCC’s vice president of social and environmental responsibility, was honored to serve on a panel exploring creative business strategies to catalyze consumers on pressing issues related to climate change. (PCC’s many measures include social media posts and Sound Consumer articles.) Davis discussed this important work on a panel with professor Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, and Ryan Black, co-founder of Sambazon, a company specializing in acai-based food and drinks.

To share one more highlight, PCC was later honored to receive one of the Climate Collaborative’s 2019 Outstanding Company Awards in recognition of our progress toward our five-year sustainability goals. The Climate Collaborative consists of nearly 350 retailers, manufacturers and other concerned businesses that have made more than 1,300 commitments to reduce climate change.

We look forward to drawing from the lessons learned throughout our experiences at Expo West as we continue to innovate. We are forever grateful for your membership and shopping dollars, which help support these important transformational efforts.

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