An OSC² Natural Products Industry Collaborative
“Imagine what we as the natural products industry (and, really, we as humans) could create if every person regardless of background, race, gender, faith or experience felt welcome and invited to participate and that their contributions were important and vital. Imagine the problems we could erase, the innovations we could birth, the opportunities we could seed, and the connections we could nurture. Justice, equity, diversity and inclusion work makes this possible.”
– Carlotta Mast
Senior Vice President of Content and Market Leader
New Hope Network, Informa Health & Nutrition
“As an entrepreneur, I must strive to create the world I want to live in. There’s nothing more important than creating a just, fair, and equitable society, and the natural food industry has the unique opportunity to lead the way in making this a reality.”
– Vincent Kitirattragarn,
Founder and CEO, Dang Foods
Our Audacious Vision
We envision a natural products industry that centers at its core justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion to ensure that:
- all people feel welcome in the natural products industry by being able to participate in and feel justly treated
- communities that support the industry thrive
- employees feel inspired and valued
- innovation is sparked by a diversity of identities and perspectives, which leads to growth and profitability
- voices of marginalized communities are amplified in all conversations and decisions
- products are accessible to those who most need them
- we understand how social and environmental justice are interconnected and work to address both
- companies serve as role models as a force for good in the world
The JEDI Collaborative
What is JEDI?
JUSTICE is dismantling barriers to resources and opportunities in society so that all individuals and communities can live a full and dignified life. These barriers are essentially the “isms” in society: racism, classism, sexism, etc.
EQUITY is allocating resources to ensure everyone has access to the same opportunities. Equity recognizes that advantages and barriers—the ‘isms’—exist. Equity is the approach and equality is the outcome.
DIVERSITY is all the differences between us based on which we experience advantages or encounter barriers to opportunities. Diversity isn’t just about racial differences; it includes gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, class, size, ability and more.
INCLUSION is fostering a sense of belonging by centering, valuing, and amplifying the voices, perspectives and styles of those who experience more barriers based on their identities.
“REBBL was founded by a not for profit, Not for Sale, to co-create a future without human trafficking. To do that, we work at the nexus of social and environmental justice and advancing equity, diversity and inclusion is crucial to accomplish this complex and urgent effort. A diversity of perspectives is essential for business innovation and growth, as well as building a just and regenerative economy.”
– Sheryl OLoughlin,
Former CEO of REBBL and Clif Bar and co-founder of Plum
The OSC² JEDI Collaborative of industry peers and experts is leading this project for the natural products industry to frame the business case for embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion into our entire food ecosystem. Our intent is to take a positive, forward look vs. “fix what’s broken” position. We seek to understand the deeper issues and to devise an outline for the best solutions. We will clarify the systemic issues that require courage and thought leadership and define immediately controllable issues we all can address as an industry and in our day-to-day operations. We will develop a step-by-step approach to serve as a model to facilitate and inspire the industry to commit and take action. We will develop a reporting tool to demonstrate the impact of the project on progress. We believe the benchmark reporting will result in an increase in productivity in an increasingly multicultural marketplace.
As an industry of innovators and leaders in our food and agricultural systems, we have a vital business challenge facing us – a lack of diversity of human ingenuity, perspective and talent. Unless we work to overcome it, we will not be able to forge breakthroughs into new systems, products and services to best meet the demands of our customers in an increasingly multicultural America. With an industry-wide commitment to justice, diversity, equity and inclusion (JEDI), we can and will attract the best people, the best ideas, and the best way forward toward a more just and prosperous future for all.
- Our natural products industry leadership and workforce better reflects the US population and is equitable and inclusive of people with marginalized identities
- Our industry is accountable for a truly equitable and just culture where those who have been marginalized are centered in the industry
- Our industry is inclusive of a broader range of companies and organizations
- Companies within the industry influence their partners and their customers to embrace JEDI values and practices
- The natural products industry becomes the JEDI model for every industry
- By 2025, natural product companies have made 2,025 Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion commitments.
Specific commitments may include:
Executive Leadership and Company Boards: A measurable increase in ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, age, class and religious diversity
Unconscious Bias Trainings: Industry-wide integration of unconscious bias training programs that result in an inclusive culture that attracts and retains a more racially and gender diverse workforce
Industry Commitment: Address environmental, social, and food injustices through a measurable increase of industry-wide conversations and collaborations at our national Expos and other related events
New Hires: A significant increase in gender and racial diversity of new hires within the industry and this increase is maintained at a high level over time
Food Access: A measurable increase in the accessibility of natural products to our diverse consumer marketplace in terms of affordability, distribution and cultural relevance
Supply Chain: Support and prioritize women and minority-owned and women-and minority led organizations in our supply chains, particularly in developing economies
How Can I Get Involved?
Check back after Expo West 2020 for webinars and other tools to help move your own JEDI efforts forward. We will begin logging industry-wide JEDI commitments at this time as well.
“There are many proof points demonstrating that more diverse teams not only drive better decisions, but more profits, more growth and significantly more innovation revenue. A more diverse natural products industry is vital to solving food and agricultural system challenges we all face and work hard to address every day.”
– Lara Dickinson,
Executive Director and Co-Founder OSC² and Co-Founder Climate Collaborative
Our launch of the JEDI Collaborative in 2019 initiated a one-year engagement with Avarna Group who contributes to the Collaborative by providing content, frameworks, tools, and resources for inclusive workforce development and community engagement.
They are working with eight pilot companies to help each craft a JEDI Commitment that is meaningful and actionable. Those companies include: Nutiva, Rebbl, Guayaki, Kuli Kuli, Alter Eco, La Tourangelle, Dr. Bronner’s and New Hope.
At the end of their engagement, we hope to have fueled an important conversation, providing tools and resources to take action, and ignite positive change in the industry.
JEDI Commitments in our three focus areas:
We commit to fostering a JEDI CULTURE where those who have been marginalized are centered in the industry, lifted up, heard, and part of decision making.
We commit to reaching a broader CONSUMER base through innovations in product development, branding and marketing, and accessibility
We commit to helping COMMUNITIES who are the backbone of our industry thrive.
2020 – Launch ten additional company pilots; host Industry Influencer Summit at Expo West; begin taking JEDI commitments from the industry, and develop online resources to support JEDI Collaborative work
2021 – Industry-wide launch of the JEDI Collaborative. 100% of OSC2 companies are working on JEDI commitments.
2025 – Natural products companies have made 2,025 JEDI commitments
2030 – 10,000 JEDI commitments made by natural products industry
SAVE THE DATE
CEOs and Culture Leaders: JEDI Collaborative Leadership Launch at Expo West 2020
Cofounder & Executive Director
Co-founder JEDI Collaborative and Women on Boards Project, and Former CEO
Marketing & Communications Lead
JEDI Working Group
Founder & CEO
Co-Founder OSC²; CEO & Master Tea Blender, Numi Organic Tea
National Co-op Grocers
SVP Content & Insights
Hew Hope Network
Chairman of Gourd
Guayaki Yerba Mate
VP of Talent
Cofounder & Chief Progress Officer
Founder & CEO
Something Better Foods
Companies who want to engage in JEDI work may have different points of entry depending upon their level of sophistication in various stages of practice, policy, marketing and communications in a multicultural marketplace. Whether you are new to the work, advanced, or somewhere in the middle, at any given point you may need additional services beyond the important early steps of defining your JEDI commitment and beginning diversity training. Here are members, supporters and partners of OSC² who are available to provide you with additional support services:
American Sustainable Business Council
Inclusive economy advocacy
Tools and resources to build an inclusive economy
Davis Wright Tremaine
Recruiting advisors for consumer brands
Inclusive branding, marketing and communications
Sensiba San Filippo
Certified B-Corp accounting and business advisement
Women on Boards Project
On a mission to increase the number of women on boards
PROGRESSIVE LANGUAGE GUIDE
Language is imperfect and ever evolving, and there is no single guidebook on inclusive language. That said, we’ve found this guide helpful in providing us with some frameworks such as using person first language when referring to people with disabilities. Don’t think of this as prescriptive; some folks within different marginalized communities disagree on some of the suggestions within it. Just think of it as a guide, and ultimately, take a cue from the person or people you’re referencing to determine how they identify.
- 30 Years of Building a New Food System: An interview with Equal Exchange
- Brahm Ahmadi – People’s Grocery
- Brands Taking Stands Newsletter
- Cracker Barrel CEO Sandra Cochran Leads Charge for Chain’s Racial, LGBTQ Inclusivity
- Environmental and Food Justice Blog
- Malik Yakini – Food First
- National Black Farmers Association
- Ojibwe Language Project
- Study: Micro-Aggressions in the Workplace
- The Culture Code – Daniel Coyle
- The Power of Purpose: How James Anderson And The Yerba Mate Co Are Giving New Opportunities To The Formerly Incarcerated
- Women in Food: Karen Washington
- Work Rules! – Laszlo Bock
- 2012 Report by Credit Suisse Group
- Being Black in Corporate America
- Diversity and Inclusion May Be the Key to Beating the Next Recession
- Does It Pay For Companies To Do Good
- Does Unconscious Bias Affect Our Sustainable Lifestyle Choices (Forbes)
- Don’t believe the Business Roundtable has changed until its CEOs’ actions match their words
Shareholder Value Is No Longer Everything, Top C.E.O.s Say
- Early Benchmarks Show ‘Post-Millennials’ on Track to Be Most Diverse, Best-Educated Generation Yet
- Employers including diversity objectives in benefits, culture programs: Survey (Benefits Canada)
- From me to we: The rise of the purpose-led brand (Accenture)
- Hiring Disabled people is a trillion-dollar business opportunity
- How Diversity Can Drive Innovation (HBR)
- How Diversity Makes Us Smarter (Scientific American)
- How to Make Business (And Ourselves) Better
- How to Scale a Business with Heart – IDEO podcast with Sheryl O’Loughlin
- How to work with the bias in your brain
- Iceland Has Made it Illegal to Pay Women Less Than Men
- Income and Privilege
- Julian Agyeman
- McKinsey 2015 Report
- One Way to reduce gender bias in performance reviews
- Patenting the Co-Ed Coe (Forbes)
- Private Company Boardrooms Have Few, If Any, Female Directors
- Reinventing Diversity – Howard J. Ross
- Research by University of Illinois
- Society’s gender expectations alter brain cells
- Study Examines Why Black Americans Remain Scarce in Executive Suites
- The Big Opportunity Missed In Creating Innovation & Investments For People With Disabilities
- The Business Case For Diversity Is A Sinking Ship
- The Business Case for Racial Equity (W.K. Kellogg Foundation)
- The Social Justice Sector has an Internal Racism Problem (Sojourners)
- To Retain Employees, Focus on Inclusion-Not just Diversity (HBR)
- Where Women Fall Behind At Work
- Why Companies Should Add Class to Their Diversity Discussions
- Why diverse Teams are Smarter (HBR)
- Why You Need Diversity On Your Team & 8 Ways To Build It
- Women in Venture
- A Uterus is a Feature, Not a Bug – Sarah Lacy
- Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Biased – Jennifer L Eberhardt
- Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class, and Sustainability – Allison Hope Alkon and Juilan Agyeman
- Dear America, Notes of an Undocumented Citizen – Jose Antonio Vargas
- Decolonizing Wealth – Edgar Villanueva
- Down Girl, The Logic of Misogyny – Kate Manne
- Emergent Strategy – Adrienne Maree Brown
- Food Justice Now – Joshua Sbicca
- Girl, Woman, Other – Bernadine Evaristo
- Heartland – Sarah Smarsh
- How to be an Antiracist – Ibram X Kendi
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World made for Whiteness – Austin Channing Brown
- Joyful Militancy – Carla Bergman and Nick Montgomery
- Keep Marching: How Every Woman Can Take Action and Change Our World – Kristin Row-Finkbeiner
- Rising out of Hatred. The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist – Eli Saslow
- She Said – Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
- So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo
- Solitary – Albert Woodfox
- Stamped from the Beginning – Ibram X Kendi
- The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolf
- The Chalice & The Blade – Riane Eisler
- The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin
- The Girl Who Smiles Beads – Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil
- The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander
- The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing our Humanity – Sally Kohn
- Turn This World Inside Out: The Emergence of Nurturance Culture – Nora Samran
- Unmuted – Myisha Cherry
- Uprooting Racism. How White People Can Work for Racial Justice – Paul Kivel
- Vagina: A New Biography – Naomi Wolf
- Warrior Rising: How Four Men Helped a Boy on His Journey to Manhood – MaryAnne Howland
- When They Call You a Terrorist – A Black Lives Matter Memoir – Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele
- Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? – Martin Luther King Jr
- White Fragility – Robin DiAngelo
- White Rage – Carol Anderson
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria – Beverly Daniel Tatum
- Winners Take All – Anand Giridharadas
- Americanah – Chimadmanda Ngozi Adichie
- Go Tell it on The Mountain – James Baldwin
- Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
- Parable of the Sower – Octavia E Butler
- Song of Soloman – Toni Morrison
- The Secrets Between Us – Thirty Umrigar
- The Water Dancer – Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Power of JEDI
THE PATH FORWARD TO SYSTEMIC CHANGE
In a multicultural America, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion are vital in every industry sector for a sustainable economy that ensures economic growth, healthy communities and general well-being for all the natural products industry has a central role in the future of one of the most vital elements of our economy: food, a basic life necessity. America, and the world, is sorely in need of innovative solutions, business practices, and policy agenda that provides equal access to healthy living, quality high-paying jobs and careers, inspires our next generation of leaders, and becomes the 401K for America’s future. Fortunately, our biggest challenge to an economy of abundance and
prosperity for all – a lack of diversity of human ingenuity, perspective and talent – can be overcome. It will take a focused, intentional and persistent pursuit of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI). The natural products industry has long been a leader in driving food and healthy lifestyle trends. Yet, we will only continue to drive innovation and growth if we shift traditional, outdated business practices to welcoming and engaging the gifts of those who have been marginalized in concert with those of the majority. At every level of business, the diversity of ideas and solutions create power. This is not a zero-sum game, it is to the benefit of all of us.
The Power of JEDI
THE PATH FORWARD
TO SYSTEMIC CHANGE
The infrastructure of our US economy is built on the intersection of food, water, healthcare, education, finance, transportation, housing, accessibility, and democracy. In a multicultural America, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion are vital in every industry sector for a sustainable economy that ensures economic growth, healthy communities and general well-being for all. For our part, the natural products industry has a central role in the future of one of the most vital elements of our economy: food, a basic life necessity. Food is a life or death issue, on which we could and should have considerable positive impact. The truth is people are starving. Malnutrition is causing disease. The disparity between the Haves and Have Nots is growing. Communities are suffering. This is not sustainable. America, and the world, is sorely in need of the kind of innovative solutions, business practices, and policy agenda that provides equal access to healthy living, sows seeds to yield a harvest of quality high-paying jobs and careers, inspires our next generation of leaders, and becomes the 401K for America’s future — all that we are poised to best provide. People are relying upon us. It starts with each one of us, and it takes all of us working together.
Fortunately, our biggest challenge to an economy of abundance and prosperity for all is one that we can overcome if we are focused, intentional and persistent in the pursuit of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI). Currently, the natural products industry does not reflect the current makeup of the American populace that is becoming increasingly diverse year over year. In fact, according to the US Census, by 2035, the majority of people served by the food industry will be people of color. Despite the changing market drivers – consumers and workers – the industry continues to reflect the power structure that risks hindering the kind of innovation and growth that will secure a sustainable future for business, our planet, and all people. The natural products industry has long been a leader in driving food and healthy lifestyle trends. Yet, we will only continue to drive innovation and growth if we shift traditional, outdated business practices to welcoming and engaging the gifts of those who have been marginalized in concert with those of the majority. At every level of business, the diversity of ideas and solutions create power. This is not a zero-sum game, it is to the benefit of all of us.
Our Industry Impact
“I envision a thriving planet that lives in harmony with one another, and is reflective of the natural world around us, filled with diversity and justice. No matter what race, gender and faith, we rise to embrace and support one another, a co-existence that is beautiful to witness and inspires us to believe in healthy practices for all living systems.”
– Ahmed Rahim,
Founder & CEO of Numi Tea, and Co-Founder of OSC²
The natural products industry is uniquely compelled to lead in JEDI efforts, the kind that lead to the systemic change we need for a vibrant regenerative economy. OSC² and our partners understand that the triple bottom line of people, planet, profit is purpose-driven: to do good business, and to treat others and our planet with dignity and respect. Each area of focus has its own implications for responsibility, behavior, accountability, and return on investment to secure a future that is prosperous for all. The “whys” of this work is the business imperative for a fresh new industry-wide approach.
PROFIT: Innovation and the Bottom Line
Years of accredited research from fact tanks, business leadership institutions, and economy statisticians show that diversity (especially ethnic and gender) — within leadership, your board, employees, and customers — actually improves innovation, market share, revenue streams, productivity, employee retention/engagement, and ultimately your profit.
Many of the communities we work with and source from at home and abroad are ethnically and culturally different from the demographic make-up of companies in our industry. If companies work to diversify their employee base to better reflect these communities, they can build stronger relationships with their supply chain that employs local workers and gives back to the communities where they live, work and thrive.
PLANET: Our Future
Global warming hurts the most vulnerable communities hardest. Farmers represent 80% and women are 70% of people living in poverty. The health of our planet is tethered to engaging, listening to, and learning from a diversity of communities engaged in and impacted by sustainable and regenerative natural product production. Incorporating the knowledge and perspectives of diverse communities in business and in public policy contributes to a more robust and powerful movement to address the most pressing environmental crises, including climate change.
PEOPLE: Saving Lives and Building Healthier Communities
Socioeconomic, geographic, and cultural barriers prevent people with marginalized identities from accessing healthy products, and in particular, food. Because food is central to social factors including health, education, and livelihoods, the food industry has the power to create true social change. We have a responsibility to make natural products more accessible. We know that healthy and culturally relevant food reduces rates of chronic illness, and has positive outcomes on educational performance, and helps communities thrive.
“At Nutiva, we believe that inclusion is a state of being valued, respected and supported and we’re proud to focus on the needs of every member of our extensive community – from our staff, to our farmers & processors – to ensure we don’t disregard or ignore differences, but promote individual awareness for fair practices. We strive to embed these key beliefs at every level of our company to ensure that we remain committed to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.”
– Steven Naccarato,
CEO of Nutiva
JEDI Is A Business Imperative
Empirical data, academic white papers, global market economists, and most of the Fortune 500 companies have proven that diversity and inclusion is good for business. Research conducted by Boston Consulting Group reveals that in 14 countries, 96-98% of large companies (above 1,000 employees) have diversity programs. The United Nations Global Compact has more than 13,500 companies worldwide who have committed to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that include gender equality, reduced inequalities, and peace and justice strong institutions, of its 17 global goals. The SEC has stepped up its stringency on requirements for diversity reporting in corporate filings.
Companies have embraced that it’s the way of the world. Shareholders demand the strong performance that comes from innovation, top talent, workforce retention, supply chain management, and market share.
Younger workers demand accountability. Millennials (Gen Y-Z), are expected to be 30% of the workforce by 2020. They tend to be more “woke” and prefer the dynamic of multiculturalism. It’s all they have ever known in the global zeitgeist of “everythingism”. Attracting and retaining a workforce for the future requires a deep dive into our systems and practices in how we do business. There are three all-important drivers for an effective JEDI organization: anti-discrimination policies, removing bias from evaluation and promotion, and multi-level diversity training. The latter is where we begin with our work with the OSC² JEDI Collaborative based on a set of goals to transform our own industry and create a model to inspire others.