Tread Lightly is one of the values that has always guided the way we do business at GoMacro. In the last few years, we’ve made significant strides in renewable energy, waste reduction, recycling, sustainable sourcing, and offsetting our carbon footprint. While these exciting initiatives involve the effort of people across the entire company, there’s a group that’s helping lead the charge: the GoMacro Green Team.
The Green Team is an interdepartmental group of employees that creates, promotes, and facilitates pragmatic, sustainable processes guided by the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, economic, and social responsibility. The team educates, engages, and empowers fellow employees and businesses about sustainability, as well as identifies solutions to achieve our sustainability goals.
Green Team & the Sustainable Food Trade Association
Sustainability has always been foundational to our story, but the idea of a dedicated Green Team was sparked as a result of our membership in the Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA). The SFTA is a non-profit organization working to build the capacity of the organic food trade to transition to sustainable business models. As a member, GoMacro has committed to their “Declaration of Sustainability 11 Point Action Plan,” which aligns closely with our 5 Principles: Tread Lightly, Eat Positive, Be Well, Live Long, and Give Back. This includes working toward specific goals around:
- Climate Change
- Animal Care
- Consumer Education
This action plan is more than just a vague commitment to improvement; it requires ongoing goal setting, tracking, auditing, and detailed reporting to help us evaluate our progress with guidance and feedback from SFTA.
The Evolution of the Team
As worthwhile as all 11 points of the Action Plan are, tackling all of them at once or with just one person would be nearly impossible. That’s why we created the Green Team! It began in 2017 with three members, then expanded to five members in 2019. Today, the Green Team consists of eight interdepartmental members, including a Chair, and several departments assist in supplying data and informational input. Here’s a snapshot of the current Green Team members’ roles:
- Jola Sonkin (CEO & Co-Founder): Provides big-picture strategy and input and oversees direction for overall sustainability goals as a company
- Landon Johns (VP of Human Resources): Informs, creates, and champions implementation strategy for sustainable practices among team members and within the GoMacro facility
- Tony Saarem (VP of Operations): Facilitates meetings, provides operational insight, and collaborates with industry peers
- Cortney Lenahan (Senior Marketing Manager): Ensures marketing materials are as sustainable as possible and facilitates sharing our sustainability story outside the company
- Chad McCauley (Purchasing Manager): Works to identify and source sustainable ingredients and packaging materials
- Lorna Crowley-Vento (Project Manager): Tracks timelines, manages projects, and acts as a liaison across departments
Green Team Projects
We often think about sustainability in terms of the environment, but the Green Team works on initiatives that improve sustainability from social and economic perspectives, as well as an environmental perspective. Along with ongoing initiatives like working toward Waste-Free Certification, supply chain assessments, and sustainable sourcing, we also put special focus on one particular point in the SFTA Action Plan each year.
In 2020 for example, our Green Team focused on Labor. This included an audit of wages for all production, line, and hourly workers, as well as a proactive response to Covid-19 to protect the wellbeing of our employees and their families.
Currently, the Green Team is undertaking some exciting projects like transitioning our packaging to more sustainable film wrappers and creating infrastructures on the Wisconsin family farm, including a pollination program.
Acting Locally, Thinking Globally
The GoMacro Green Team works to ensure GoMacro is meeting sustainability goals within our own walls - but it’s also bigger than that.
“We want to be part of the national and global solution, and we want to learn from and mentor others,” says Doreen Gubernat-Hogan, Chair of the Green Team. “So many companies in the industry are doing incredible environmental work, and when we collaborate, share ideas, and hold each other accountable, we can all have an even greater impact.”
As we continue to learn and grow our positive impact on the planet, it’s always our goal to help inspire and guide other companies who want to do the same.
“Sustainability isn’t a box to check or a task that’s ever ‘complete,’” says Gubernat-Hogan. “Even as we celebrate the goals we meet, there are always opportunities to continuously improve. Our role as the Green Team is to identify those opportunities, monitor our progress, and help share the story with the hopes it will inspire others.”