OPERATIONS

FMI Karen Brown Announces Retirement

BY CSA STAFF

Karen H. Brown, senior VP of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and corporate secretary to the FMI Board of Directors, announced her retirement effective Jan. 1.

“Karen committed the span of her career to supporting the success of food retailers and wholesalers. Most important, she graciously served the FMI Board of Directors to help them achieve their goals,” said Tim Hammonds, president and CEO, FMI. “Her innovative contributions fostered an understanding and appreciation of the role and value of the industry with the media, government, nonprofit organizations and NGOs.”

Brown oversees FMI’s internal and external communications and marketing functions, issues advocacy, information services, food-safety programs and member services. She coordinates the activities of FMI Board task forces and committees. Brown has managed the industry’s policy initiatives in animal welfare, genetically modified foods, HIV/AIDS, diversity and community relations. She has provided extensive crisis communications and issues-management counsel to FMI members.

Before her appointment as senior VP, Brown was VP, communications (1981 to 1994), and VP, consumer affairs (1978 to 1981), responsible for creating FMI’s consumer affairs program. Prior to the 1977 merger of the National Association of Food Chains and the Super Market Institute that formed FMI, Brown was a member of the public affairs staff of the National Association of Food Chains.

Brown has participated on numerous government and industry advisory groups, including USDA’s National Advisory Council on Maternal, Infant and Fetal Nutrition and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Business Response to AIDS. She served on the boards of Second Harvest and the National AIDS Fund.

“I feel very fortunate to have been able to work in this great industry for all of my adult life,” Brown said. “I have been presented with outstanding opportunities for personal and professional growth, and I have come to know people of great integrity who have generously shared their knowledge and their friendship. I can honestly say there has never been one dull moment.”

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Bloggers view Whole Foods, Home Depot as most sustainable retailers

BY CSA STAFF

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. Based on analysis of 40 million blog posts collected during the past six months, Whole Foods received the highest levels of volume and positive mentions regarding environmental sustainability among retail brands, according to the recently released J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Environmental Sustainability Report.

Home Depot received the second highest percentage of positive mentions following Whole Foods. Home Depot, along with Amazon and Target, fall within in the contender category. Wal-Mart, which initiated the big move in the retail space with a commitment to “go green”, generated the second-highest amount of total volume of mentions, but had lower-than-average positive sentiment, placing the brand in the emerging quadrant. However, when viewed against the total discussion of Wal-Mart in general, sustainability discussions represented just 2% of its total volume of blog discussions.

“Although Whole Foods surpassed other retail brands in terms of the volume of positive mentions it received from bloggers, each of the eight retailers included in the report received similarly high proportions of positive or neutral mentions in sustainability discussions taking place in the blogosphere,” said Janet Eden-Harris, vp of the Web Intelligence Division at J.D. Power and Associates. “The good news for retailers is that they are being recognized by consumers for their environmentally friendly actions.”

Among other major retail brands, Safeway and Costco generated more than 1% of total sustainability discussions, but had lower-than-average volume and a lower-than-average proportion of positive sentiment when compared to other brands in the industry, placing them in the challenged quadrant. No other retailer was discussed in significant volume relative to sustainability.

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Organic Trade Association names new director

BY CSA STAFF

GREENFIELD, Mass. The Organic Trade Association has appointed Christine Bushway as its new executive director.

“I am very excited to be serving as the new executive director of the Organic Trade Association and am looking forward to working hard at continuing to strengthen the integrity of organic while enhancing the business climate for those companies meeting the increasing demand for organic,” said Bushway.

Bushway has held leadership positions including agricultural trade association ceo, chief Washington lobbyist representing the egg industry, and served as spokesperson on television, radio and in print on issues ranging from nutrition to food contamination and production.

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