Now is the Time for the Natural Products Industry to Engage Consumers on Climate Action

Reflections on Crossing the Climate Chasm; a partner OSC2 and Climate Collaborative event

By:  Lara Jackle Dickinson, Co-Founder & Executive Director of OSC2 and Co-Founder of Climate Collaborative

Lara Dickinson, Co-Founder & Executive Director of OSC2, and Co-Founder of the Climate Collaborative, kicking off Future of Food: Crossing the Climate Chasm

The Climate Collaborative was born from our dream and belief that the Natural Products industry had the leadership and innovation potential to come together to transform how food and agriculture companies are responding to climate change.

Last week OSC2 and the Climate Collaborative hosted Future of Food: Crossing the Climate Chasm to take our next step in manifesting that dream by kicking off our consumer engagement working group project, which is aimed at helping companies engage in crucial conversations across their value chains. We’re particularly looking at how our industry can engage in meaningful, climate-focused dialogues with the millions of people purchasing their products. Companies have a huge potential to not only reduce downstream emissions but also to become more informed consumers when it comes to climate change.

Since the launch of the Climate Collaborative in 2017, we have been on an incredible and fast journey together with the industry. At our event, company leaders who came to support our next level work last week included our panelists from Lundberg Family Farms, the Grove Collaborative, Good Earth Natural Foods, and Kuli Kuli Foods, and industry attendees from REBBL, Numi Tea, Alter Eco Foods, Good Eggs, Whole Foods Market, Clif Bar, Nana Joes, Bread SRSLY, La Tourangelle, Fair Trade USA, and many others.  Sambazon (a CC Award winner for their Purple For the Planet Campaign) even came from Southern California to support and film our gathering.

Future of Food: Crossing the Climate Chasm presenters, Gagan Levy, Lisa Curtis, Tim Schultz, Erin Callahan, Jon Silverman, Stephen Mitchell, and Lara Dickinson

And we now have nearly 400 companies committed to meaningful action with the Climate Collaborative. We share our knowledge, we share the work of this big dream, and we seek ways to find deeper solutions together.

The mission we created for the Climate Collaborative is unwavering….to leverage the collective impact of the natural products industry to reverse climate change.

But what is collective impact?  While we are hopeful, we are realists.  We know that we still will not solve climate change if every single company in our industry takes massive steps. But we can start to make real progress that can ripple across the industry, when we start to engage our consumers, our suppliers, and our partners.

Future of Food: Crossing the Climate Chasm began with clips from the new documentary REBBL with a Cause, followed by an outstanding consumer engagement workshop lead by Gagan Levy of Guru Media.  What’s clear is the tremendous opportunity to align our messaging and coordinate our efforts to drive consumers and industry engagement while gaining valuable credibility and loyalty along the way.

Gagan Levy of Guru Media

On August 21,  the night before our Climate Collaborative gathering, Naomi Klein, an award-winning journalist, wrote, “[We are] literally on fire.  One month after the hottest month ever recorded in human history, the same week that smoke in the Amazon Rain Forests fires turned day into night in San Paulo Brazil, and just days after Iceland had its first funeral service for a major glacier lost to climate change….  The Climate breakdown is already pouring fuel on every human evil – from deadly wars to unmasked white supremacy…

…Having a habitable Earth is not a “single issue”; it is the single precondition for every other issue’s existence. Humbling as it may be, our shared climate is the frame inside which all of our lives, causes, and struggles unfold.”

The same evening, I read Klein’s letter, I attended a middle school parents social and heard murmurs about kids bringing up the topic of climate change, and how as parents, we should channel that energy and interest.

At Future of Food: Crossing the Climate Chasm, we also listened to Greta Thunberg’s powerful speech at the UN Climate Change COP24 Conference, in which she delivered a crystal clear message as a voice of her generation,

“We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.”

Our industry is waking up, our country is waking up, our consumers are waking up, and unsurprisingly, our children are two steps ahead. We have the opportunity to drive meaningful change as a collection of mission-driven companies.

Paul Hawken, author of Drawdown, recently wrote to the natural products industry,

“Now is the time for extraordinary, purpose-driven organizations to step up and show the business world what needs to be done and how it’s done. Natural products companies are perfectly positioned to be climate leaders – you’ve got the customer base, you have the passion, and you’ve done this before on fair trade, organic, GMO, and animal welfare… Reversing global warming is the most important goal for humankind. This is the time and you are the leaders to do this.”

Now more than ever, it is clear that the time has come to take collective action. Take one step closer with us today by logging and or updating your company’s commitments at Climate Collaborative and supporting our vital Consumer Engagement Working Group Project.


OSC2 would like to extend a special thank you to our hosts, Hanson Bridgett!

Hanson Bridgett is a law firm with more than 150 attorneys in offices in San Francisco, Sacramento, the North Bay, the East Bay and Los Angeles. Serving clients since 1958, we are well known in California and have earned a national reputation in many of our practice areas.

Our diverse client list includes large national and global companies as well as many governmental entities, regional businesses and individuals. While our offices are located throughout California, our attorneys frequently work on matters that cross domestic and international borders. To ensure our clients receive flawless service and top notch legal counsel wherever they may be located, we have forged alliances with firms in national and international legal networks. As members, we can provide our clients with legal expertise on the ground across the US and worldwide.

We are a certified B Corp and are socially responsible members of our communities. Our firm is driven by a commitment to diversity, charitable giving, pro bono legal work and hands-on service.

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