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Publix Wins Sustainability Award
From PRODUCE BUSINESS Magazine

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, July 1, 2009

We recently had an opportunity to visit the Publix headquarters in Lakeland, Florida, and have a nice chat with Ed Crenshaw, the Chief Executive Officer of Publix, as well as the chain’s sustainability team.

The occasion was the presentation of the 1st Annual PRODUCE BUSINESS Retail Sustainability Award.

We’ve written quite extensively on sustainability and we were very proud to journey to Lakeland, Florida to present this award.

PRODUCE BUSINESS Presents Publix With Sustainability Award
PRODUCE BUSINESS Editor-In-Chief, Jim Prevor, and Publisher, Ken Whitacre, presented Publix Super Markets Inc., Lakeland, FL, with its 1st Annual Retail Sustainability Award for exceptional leadership in development of sustainable strategies. The presentation took place in front of the 1,002-store chain’s Sustainability Team and CEO at its Lakeland office. Pictured from left to right are Tim Henning, district manager, Lakeland division; Dan Maloney, business development director, dairy and frozen food; Michael Hewitt, environmental services manager; Dave Duncan, vice president, facilities; Ed Crenshaw, CEO; Jim Prevor, editor-in-chief, PRODUCE BUSINESS; Kevin Lang, director of marketing and advertising; Ken Whitacre, publisher/editorial director, PRODUCE BUSINESS; Al Ebeling; manager of strategy and implementation; and Sam Middlebrook, business development director, meat and seafood.

Unlike many such efforts, this award is not given for gimmicks or gadgets, not just about environmentalism and not about some new slogan grafted onto a foreign organism.

We looked extensively for an organization in which sustainability grew authentically out of the values and business systems of the retailer. This brought us to Publix.

If you haven’t read the article PRODUCE BUSINESS published, titled Publix Super Markets: Subtle Sustainability With Substance, you can do so right here. The piece was written by Mira Slott, who serves as Special Projects Editor for both the Pundit and our sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS.

In addition, at the end of March two Publix executives, Maria Brous, Director of Media and Community Relations, and Michael Hewitt, Manager of Environmental Services, visited the Boca Raton, Florida, headquarters of both the Pundit and PRODUCE BUSINESS, where they discussed Publix and its sustainability efforts with Mira Slott and our Publisher/Editorial Director Ken Whitacre.

The video interview lasts about 30 minutes, and you can see it here:

You can also see a column the Pundit wrote on Publix and sustainability. It includes this commentary on industry efforts to create standardized sustainability audits:

Many who pursue sustainability have sought to have an industry standard. It is an understandable pursuit considering the difficulties that multiple audits and standards have imposed on growers in the food safety sphere. Yet while uniform metrics can make measurements easier and unified audits can keep expenses down, in the end sustainability is about choices in pursuit of values, and no company can surrender autonomy in this area to an industry consortium.

Sustainability is traditionally thought of as being composed of three responsibilities — environmental, social and economic — and the inclination for those new in the pursuit of sustainability is to find a balance between these responsibilities. Such a vision, though, is a chimera. There is no balance in math or logic between them and therefore sustainability is at its core a matter of mindfulness in pursuit of values.

Read the whole column here.

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