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 One Step Closer, 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 and Ava Holliday, co-founders of the Avarna Group, supported the initiative as our founding consultants.
J.E.D.I Collaborative offers a free web-based platform for action, Self-Guided Pathway, that serves as a tool to help natural products industry leaders to implement justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts throughout their organization. It includes a 10-step JEDI journey, clear commitments, suggested tactics, recommended resources and tools, a list of vetted solutions partners, and a series of recorded webinars. The commitments are holistic in that they address JEDI actions that impact consumers, company culture, and communities surrounding the business. J.E.D.I Collaborative also offers a series of Pathways to Action—Jumpstart Pathway, Trailblazer Pathway, and CEO Action Initiative—that natural products industry leaders can enroll in to to increase their JEDI skills and build out JEDI action plans. This comprehensive approach is critical to addressing the systemic oppression that is part of our food system and our industry.