ARLINGTON, VA — October 21, 2010 — More than two dozen workshops focusing on today’s most pressing sustainability challenges ranging from environmental design and renewable energy to corporate communications, green product innovations and sustainable sourcing, will be highlighted at the Sustainability Summit, December 6-9, 2010, in Arlington, VA. The summit marks the first time the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), working together as the Trading Partner Alliance, will co-host the event.

     “We are bringing the consumer packaged goods industry together to provide retailers and manufacturers with a roadmap for building successful and sustainable businesses,” said Jeanne von Zastrow, senior director of industry relations and sustainability, FMI. “No one single company can do it alone. It will take collaborative, innovative partnerships to succeed and realize the benefits of being a sustainable business.”

     In addition to retailers and manufacturers, the summit will also bring government officials and advocacy groups to the table as the event seeks to identify model practices and uncover insights from all stakeholders that will accelerate the adoption of environmentally and socially responsible business practices within the consumer products industry.

“Applying sustainable solutions across all facets of our business while continuing to deliver products that enhance consumers’ lives is a top priority for GMA and its members,” said Brooke Weizmann, senior manager, sustainability, GMA. “The Sustainability Summit will give companies new tools for incorporating sustainability into their strategic business planning and help align the industry around common sustainability principles.”

The summit will feature a diverse slate of speakers and sessions to ensure that it meets the varied needs of participants:

World Tour of Green Product Innovations

Mintel’s Lynn Dornblaser, editor of New Product News, will provide a visual tour of some of the world’s newest, most innovative “green” products. The products may incorporate greener packaging, technology, formulations or use fewer chemicals or are considered more socially responsible. Learn how suppliers and brand owners are maximizing their sustainability teams and working with other stakeholders to create exciting new products with sustainability attributes that appeal to consumers.

Our Common Future: How Game Changing Companies and Innovation Will Help Feed the World

This panel discussion will engage the audience in a lively dialogue about how we can ensure a sustainable food supply as the world population approaches 9 billion. Panelists will focus on the most critical challenges, opportunities and game changing innovations related to farming, manufacturing, distribution, retailing and consumption in the future.

New Research to be Released at Summit

Catalina Marketing and The Hartman Group will partner to present Elusive Consumers: Understanding the Issues, Generational Shoppers, Attitudes vs. Actions and Developing Your Marketing Sustainability Playbook. This new research will showcase consumers views of sustainability marketing and behaviors related to green and socially responsible products. A panel will discuss what this means for manufacturers and retailers and suggest ideas and proven tactics to affect changes in buying behavior.

Aron Cramer, president and CEO of Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) will present a new study, Sustainable Consumption — A New Frontier in Sustainability? What Is Our Role?   He will share how sustainability can and should be thought of as a way to create opportunities and a competitive advantage, not solely as a way to mitigate risk. His study will highlight companies that use innovation, collaboration, education and measurement to direct their business activities.

In addition, a new guide from FMI, Sustainability on the Shelves: A Guide for Category Mangers, will be previewed at the summit. The guide serves as a basic overview of sustainability in the food retail sector and a framework to help food retail buyers and category managers respond to both their company’s and customers’ demand for more sustainable products in specific retail categories.

Strategic Issues and Practical Solutions

The general sessions and workshops will address strategic issues and offer practical solutions for retailers and manufacturers who seek to differentiate their company by optimizing their sustainability programs. More than 60 industry leaders and sustainability experts from business, government, academia and advocacy groups will share success stories and insights.

Attending the summit will condense the information gathering process, both for companies with established sustainability programs and for those that are just beginning the process. The summit will explore many other areas where companies can implement green and socially responsible initiatives, including:

  • Innovations in Consumer Products

  • Renewable Energy

  • Internal and External Communications

  • Sustainable Packaging

  • Sustainability Indexes for Perishables

  • Sustainable Seafood

  • Stakeholder Engagement

  • Supply Chain Efficiencies

  • Waste Management

  • Water Conservation

"Attendees will hear compelling stories on how companies can engage in sustainability during this fragile economy and still see a return on investment," said von Zastrow. "Companies are sending teams to cover all the concurrent sessions and strategize on-site so they can return home and begin to maximize the value immediately."   

Companies are encouraged to send their sustainability team, along with senior executives looking to incorporate sustainability into strategic planning as well as representatives from the affected functional areas of operations.

To learn more and register for the summit, please visit

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Based in Washington, D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe.

Founded in 1908, GMA is an active, vocal advocate for its member companies and a trusted source of information about the industry and the products consumers rely on and enjoy every day. The association and its member companies are committed to meeting the needs of consumers through product innovation, responsible business practices and effective public policy solutions developed through a genuine partnership with policymakers and other stakeholders.

In keeping with its founding principles, GMA helps its members produce safe products through a strong and ongoing commitment to scientific research, testing and evaluation and to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually, employs 14 million workers and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year.