Breakfast Cereal: Catalyst for Innovative Change

One of the presentations at the Sustainable Brands Conference that wowed me the most involved breakfast cereal.

David Denholm, CEO of Kashi, a Kelloggs brand, started his session by asking the entire room of 1,000+ people to stand up. He then made 2/3 of the room sit down. Denholm told us the remaining 1/3 represented farmland. He then made all but one person sit down. That one person represented the amount of certified organic farmland in the US. It was powerful.

Kashi is one of the few certified organic breakfast cereals, and the demand for organics is growing. The bad news is there isn’t enough organic supply to fuel the demand. Denholm explained that the major barrier for farmers is that to become certified organic, in addition to having to follow ALL the rules and regulations set forth regarding organic growing methods, the land has to go unused for three years. Which means three years of NO income.

Now this is where corporate innovation, fueled by sustainability needs can have a huge impact. Corporations can solve a big market problem and in the process create a great opportunity. Kashi worked with Quality Assurance International to create a standard that met farmers and regulators in the middle – called Certified Transitional. The Certification is open to any farmer for any crop, and any company, not just Kellogg’s brands, can label products with it. Kashi has already started using Certified Transitional crops in one of its cereals, and has plans to expand to more.

“The health of people and the health of our planet are inextricably linked,” David Denholm, CEO at Kashi.

“One percent organic acreage is just not enough – and we want to promote solutions that benefit everyone working to move organic farming forward. We believe championing farms in transition will make organic foods more accessible and support a more sustainable food system – for all of us.”

We applaud the work that David and his team at Kashi are doing. Their use of sustainable innovation has enabled farmers to adapt, educate their consumers, and have a positive impact on society.

WeSpire helps companies inspire people to engage in positive impact initiatives, ultimately helping companies to innovate and outperform. To quote CK Prahalad, “sustainability is a mother lode of organizational and technological innovations that yield both bottom-line and top-line returns.”

To further explore this topic and see how other companies are paving the way with sustainable innovation register for our webinar with GreenBiz. I’ll be joined by Daniel Aronson, Founder of Valutus and Shanker Sahai, ‎Product Innovation Catalyst at Vistaprint Corporate Solutions, where we will discuss the importance of merging the two and how to go about building a culture of innovation.

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