FMI Bows Sustainability Services Program

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FMI Bows Sustainability Services Program

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) is going green. The trade group yesterday introduced a comprehensive compendium of strategic resources, consumer research, and educational events to help the industry implement sustainability programs.

FMI's board of directors chartered a Sustainability Task Force in 2006 to help food retailers and wholesalers integrate sustainability into their operations wherever possible and practical.

FMI's announcement came during the Sept. 24 meeting of the task force. "Our mission is to help companies chart a course to help preserve the planet through initiatives that make sense economically," said Bob Garrity, s.v.p. of construction and conservation at Giant Eagle, Inc., who chairs the 22-member task force and hosted its meeting in Pittsburgh yesterday.

FMI's sustainability effort is being led by FMI senior director Jeanne von Zastrow.

At the meeting, the task force reviewed FMI's accomplishments to date and future plans, including the following:

Strategic Guidance for the Industry
-- The Sustainability Opportunity for Retail and Wholesale Executives -- a PowerPoint presentation that explains the concept and why it is important to food retailers and wholesalers. Companies can customize this document for internal use. It will be made available free to the industry on the FMI Web site in late September.

-- The Sustainability Starter Kit -- a resource to help retailers craft a baseline sustainability strategy, recognizing that companies will take different paths. It suggests where to begin, opportunities and risks, metrics to measure progress, how to overcome barriers and methods to engage outside parties such as suppliers, consumers, government agencies, advocates and investors. It features best practices and a list of key organizations and experts in the sustainability arena that companies can contact. This kit will be released at the 2008 FMI Midwinter Executive Conference Jan. 13-15 in Scottsdale, AZ. It is sponsored by Hill PHOENIX, Georgia-Pacific, LLC, and JohnsonDiversey.

Consumer Research
-- Sustainability and Recycling in the Food Industry -- a report that explores shopper practices and attitudes about these topics and how the industry is responding, drawing upon sustainability programs by task force members. To download a free copy, visit the web link

-- Research performed by Catalina Marketing exclusively for FMI, showing how consumers actually practice sustainability in their lifestyles and buying habits. This work complements recent research based on consumer surveys and focus groups done by The Hartman Group for the industry. PowerPoint presentations providing an overview of both studies will be available free on the FMI website in October.

Industry Education
-- Store tours and presentations featuring innovative sustainability practices at FMI educational events
-- Major presentations on sustainability at the 2008 FMI Midwinter Executive Conference, including a keynote address by PepsiCo, Inc. chairman and c.e.o. Indra Nooyi
-- A keynote presentation at the 2008 FMI Show May 4-7 in Las Vegas by renowned business sustainability advocate Andrew Winston
-- The first FMI Sustainability Summit June 16-19, 2008, in Minneapolis

Companies represented on the task force include: Buehler Food Markets, Inc., Giant Eagle, Inc., The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc., Hannaford Bros. Co., Harris Teeter, Inc., Hy-Vee, Inc., The Kroger Co., Publix Super Markets, Inc., Safeway Inc., Schnuck Markets, Inc., The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, SUPERVALU INC., Target Corporation, Ukrop's Super Markets, Inc., Unified Western Grocers, Inc., and Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.