Why the Food Lab?

Why the Food Lab?

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A GLOBAL NETWORK FOR PARTNERSHIP AND INNOVATION

The Sustainable Food Lab is a consortium of business, non profit and public organizations working together to accelerate the shift toward sustainability.  
The Sustainable Food Lab facilitates market-based solutions to the key issues—including climate, soil, poverty, and water—that are necessary for a healthy and sustainable food system to feed a growing world. The Sustainable Food Lab uses collaborative learning to incubate innovation at every stage along the supply chain from producing to distributing and selling food.

Piloting Innovation

Sustainable Food Lab members believe that the industry is facing critical issues that cannot be tackled by one organization. SFL works with members to identify areas of collective interest and create innovation projects in supply chains. SFL documents what works and what doesn’t. Current innovation efforts include:

Leadership Development

SFL provides opportunities for diverse stakeholders working on sustainability to meet, learn, and support each other in becoming better leaders for change in their organizations and in the larger system. SFL provides:

  • A platform for strategic partnerships—safe space to explore collaboration among businesses of different scale and leaders from environmental and social NGOs.
  • Leadership events—focused seminars, field visits, “Learning Journeys,” and working conferences bring to life new ideas, collaborations, strategies, and projects.

Organizational Strategy

SFL supports members with practical training and coaching from staff and consultants with relevant expertise.

  • Organizations are most effective at integrating sustainability design into their products and processes when sustainability works for an organization’s culture, customer base, and market opportunities. SFL offers tools, training, and counsel to help members measure and implement sustainability within their organizations.
  • SFL staff and consultants provide strategic counsel, coaching, and peer-to­ peer facilitation. SFL has led strategy sessions and team retreats for such leading institutions as SYSCO, Unilever Foodsolutions, Mars, Sam’s Club, Food Marketing Institute, Bolthouse Farms, the Nature Conservancy, and Sodexo.

Insight and Analysis

SFL provides real-time access to what is happening in the field—through newsletters, case studies, research papers, and webinars—about what works and doesn’t. The Sustainable Food Lab:

  • Tracks the growth of sustainability practices, initiatives and metrics. SFL communicates important events and innovations to members;
  • Collaborates with other important industry associations, including SAI Platform, to provide opportunities for members to engage in best-in-class projects; and
  • Captures learning from pilot projects and publishes in-depth case studies and research papers.

To find out more see a recent interview with Director Hal Hamilton HERE

For context read:  Why Sustainable Food Needs Big Business, and Why Business Can't Do It Alone

The Sustainable Food Lab is led by an Advisory Board drawn from the Food Lab member organizations and provides oversight to the Lab, establishes budget priorities, assists with fundraising, and shares the Food Lab stories with a broader audience.

The Sustainable Food Lab is staffed by a team of dedicated professionals with offices in Vermont and California, USA.