The Path Forward to Systemic
In 2018 Lara Dickinson (Executive Director, OSC) and Sheryl O’Loughlin (former CEO of REBBL and Clif Bar & Company and co-founder of Plum) co-founded the J.E.D.I Collaborative to address justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the natural products industry. An initiative of OSC2, the purpose of the J.E.D.I Collaborative is to accelerate and expand the impact the natural products industry can have in transforming our entire food system and the accessibility of healthy products. We are working to evolve the industry, so all people are treated justly, supported equitably, have a voice in decision making, and feel they belong.
MaryAnne Howland, founder and CEO of IBIS Communications, published author and American Sustainable Business Council board member, is a founding advisor and consultant. We named MaryAnne a J.E.D.I co-founder to recognize her instrumental contributions in building the philosophy of the J.E.D.I Collaborative as well as helping to craft our communication strategy and messaging. Additionally, we’ve recognized Carlotta Mast, Senior Vice President of Content at New Hope Network, and a founding J.E.D.I Collaborative advisor as a J.E.D.I co-founder, given her influence in the industry, thought leadership, and event expertise. She has amplified our message in a way that has given us the opportunity to reach a wide net of potential partners and companies looking to make a J.E.D.I commitment. Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin and Ava Holliday, co-founders of the Avarna Group, supported the initiative as our founding consultants. Grace Rusch joined the team in September 2019 as our Project Lead and Marketing & Communications Manager and Jazmine Cable joined us in July 2020 as our Program Manager and Director of Institutional Giving.
J.E.D.I Collaborative is a free web-based platform for action that allows natural products industry leaders to realize justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout their organization. It includes an action framework, clear commitments, defined tactics, recommended resources and tools, a list of vetted solutions partners, and a series of recorded webinars. The platform includes commitments that are holistic in that they address consumers, company culture, and community instead of just an “HR-only” initiative. This comprehensive approach is critical to addressing the systemic oppression that is part of our food system and our industry.