General Mills’ Natural & Organic Operating Unit Joins CRB’s Sustainable Food Initiative
The Center for Responsible Business (CRB) at Berkeley Haas is thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Natural and Organics Operating Unit at General Mills. The Natural and Organics Operating Unit is comprised of companies including Annie’s Homegrown, EPIC, Cascadian Farm Organic, and Muir Glen, all of which produce natural and organic foods. The partnership will help accelerate and scale the CRB’s Sustainable Food Initiative, which is part of the Institute for Business and Social Impact (IBSI) at the Haas School. Launched in the spring of 2018, the Sustainable Food Initiative is led by Faculty Director William Rosenzweig and seeks to serve as a hub for sustainable food entrepreneurship, innovation, and responsible leadership on the UC Berkeley campus.
UC Berkeley and Berkeley Haas have a rich history in sustainable food as the launchpad for the farm-to-table movement. The campus is well suited to create sustainable solutions for the food industry, with complementary initiatives that provide policy and science-based innovations. From seeds to soil health, UC Berkeley is committed to finding ways to sustain both the land and healthy diets through solutions such as regenerative agriculture. Today, the business school leads in the space of sustainable food as a place to engage in interdisciplinary systems change and participate in cross sector innovation.
Annie’s, located in Berkeley, CA, is already a long-time supporter of UC Berkeley and serves as an industry leader in the organic and natural food space. “Annie’s has successfully collaborated with UC Berkeley in the past, and we deeply desire to build upon that work and further bring the business community into the leading discussion of sustainable food. This partnership with the CRB and their demonstrated capacity to partner across campus achieves just that,” says Shauna Sadowski, Head of Sustainability at the Natural and Organic Operating Unit.
“We are thrilled to welcome Annie’s and their partnership to offer strategic guidance as we have committed ourselves at Haas to take leadership as the leading business school to usher in a new era of sustainable food. In addition to the much needed financial support that Annie’s provides for our self-financed center, our students are thrilled about the opportunities in partnering with an industry leader such as Annie’s,” says Robert Strand, Executive Director of the CRB.
Student support drives all of the CRB’s core focus areas and sustainable food has long been a high-demand topic. Faculty Director William Rosenzweig has been teaching courses on corporate responsibility and sustainable food systems at Berkeley Haas for two decades. In that time, he has seen student demand for courses, events, and programming related to sustainable food grow from a niche interest to a priority focus for many MBAs’ career goals. “We’ve seen this amazing student energy calling for a formal Sustainable Food Initiative. The momentum is coming from the students’ voracious appetite to study, learn, and lead in a way that is going to transform the largest industries, businesses, and cultural institutions on the planet. Partnering with Annie’s and the companies that comprise the Natural and Organic Operating Unit will allow us to provide those students with the best possible resources and connections to empower them as catalytic leaders in this space,” says Rosenzweig.
Ali Kelley, Berkeley Haas MBA ‘15 and Associate Marketing Manager at Annie’s Homegrown reflects on her time as a student looking to enter the food industry: “Haas was the best possible place I could choose to get my MBA. Through all of the food related electives, I was able to deepen my knowledge of the food industry though hands on projects and networking with really passionate, knowledgeable people. Only at Haas could I have such a deep interdisciplinary experience.” The values Kelley learned at Haas are mirrored in her current role at Annie’s, making the two institutions naturally aligned partners, “At Annie’s we’re not satisfied just maintaining the status quo, we need to fundamentally change the food system to leave the planet better than we found it. I’m so excited the CRB is emerging during such a critical time for the food industry.”
The Sustainable Food Initiative was formally launched on April 18, 2018. Video of the launch can be viewed on the CRB’s YouTube channel here. Questions about the Sustainable Food Initiative may be directed towards CRB Program Manager Emily Pelissier at [email protected].
About Annie’s and the Natural and Organic Operating Unit
The Natural and Organics Operating Unit is comprised of companies including Annie’s Homegrown, EPIC, Cascadian Farm Organic, and Muir Glen, all of which produce natural and organic foods. Since joining General Mills in 2014, Annie’s has introduced more than 50 new Certified Organic products and doubled the pounds of Certified Organic ingredients purchased each year.
About the Berkeley Haas Center for Responsible Business
Building on 15 years of research, teaching, and industry engagement, the Center for Responsible Business (CRB) brings together students, company leaders and faculty to develop leaders who redefine business for a sustainable future. The CRB inspires students to re-think traditional business practices, envision the roles that they can play in creating change, and obtain the skills to get there.
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