Food and beverage companies have huge impacts and responsibilities. People in roles that include sustainable sourcing have commensurately huge jobs.
In February 2017 the Sustainable Food Lab launched a 2-year leadership program for food and beverage company professionals. Program fellows manage sustainable sourcing from both large scale commercial agriculture and small holder systems.
Participation is still open, but the initial group is from the following companies: PepsiCo, Unilever, Kellogg, Starbucks, Target, McDonalds, AB InBev, Heineken, Dannon, Stonyfield, Danone, Organic Valley, Annie’s/General Mills, Mars Petcare, Mars Wrigley, Land O’Lakes, Frontier Coop, Farmer’s Fridge.
“I love connecting with peers in an honest and meaningful way, hearing from wise leaders in this space, having an opportunity to think and co-create on a systemic level, and feeling part of an extraordinary community.” — Participant of this program.
Core faculty are from the Sustainable Food Lab and the Academy for Systems Change (founded by Peter Senge and others associated with MIT to support systems thinking and other capabilities for personal, organizational, and systems leadership).
Volunteer mentors include Dolf van der Brink, CEO of Heineken Mexico; Diane Holdorf, CSO Kellogg; Stuart Orr, WWF global lead for water; Steve Peterson, former head of sustainable sourcing at General Mills; Mark Pettigrew, former head of PepsiCo ag sustainability in Europe; Anna Swaithes, former Director of Sustainable Development for SAB Miller; Jan Kees Vis, Global Director Sustainable Sourcing Development at Unilever; Darcy Winslow, founder of sustainability at Nike; and Simon Winter, SVP at TechnoServe.
The 2-year program includes 3 workshops, 2 multi-day learning journeys, monthly peer group calls, and one-on-one mentoring. Each fellow identifies specific goals and receives support for the internal and external engagement as well as personal leadership capabilities in order to meet those goals.
Here’s what one participant wrote to her peer coaching group after the first workshop in February 2017:
Dear peer group
My presentation last week was fantastic. Thanks so much for all your amazing input and ideas. I used many of the suggestions you gave me… around story-telling, connecting versus presenting, being OK to show that I’m learning too and bringing this to life for the teams in a language which resonated with and inspired them. There was great energy in the room and lots of ideas and enthusiasm afterwards. We started a process of mapping key risks and opportunities and thinking about how we can take this further in each zone.
Our peer coaching group session was incredibly useful… thanks again!