OPERATIONS

NRF criticizes Bangladesh safety accord

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The National Retail Federation on Wednesday criticized a fire-and-building safety agreement for Bangladesh, led by labor groups such as Europe’s IndustriALL.

"While the proposal put forth by the labor unions addresses a number of shared concerns, the accord veers away from commonsense solutions and seeks to advance a narrow agenda driven by special interests," NRF CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

Wednesday is the deadline for retailers to decide whether to sign the agreement, which is designed to prevent a repeat of another disaster in Bangladesh’s garment industry.

The pact includes a binding arbitration process that would be enforceable in the courts of the country where a company is domiciled, Reuters reported. Also, companies that sign on have to agree to fund activities of a steering committee, safety inspector and training coordinator, contributing up to $500,000 per year for each of the five years of the agreement.

Among the U.S. retailers that have said they would not sign the accord is Gap Inc., which wants changes to the way conflicts are resolved in the courts. Wal-Mart Stores said it would not sign the accord because it believes its own stepped-up safety inspection plans will achieve faster results.

Companies that signed on include Inditex, parent company of Zara, H&M, and Arcadia Group, parent of TopShop.

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News

Executive team changes at Hickory Farms

BY CSA STAFF

TOLEDO, Ohio — Hickory Farms, a leading provider of specialty foods and holiday food gifts, has made changes to its executive team.

The company has promoted VP of brand marketing Michael Holton to CMO. VP of supply chain Joe Loch has been promoted to VP of franchise and retail sales. Director of logistics Ty Hanline has been promoted to VP of supply chain. The company has also hired Davenport, Hanf & Company executive Joe Herman to be its interim CFO.

"I am excited to announce these appointments as the combined talents of these high achieving professionals will strengthen our dynamic senior management team," said CEO Mark S. Rodriguez.

Holton first joined Hickory Farms in 2002 as manager of consumer and trade marketing and rose to VP of brand marketing in 2009. The company describes him as instrumental to the total refresh of the Hickory Farms brand aesthetic and the development of the digital strategy. As CMO, Holton will now be responsible for overseeing all elements of the marketing mix and all aspects of the consumer brand experience. He also serves as Hickory Farms’ lead supporter of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign, a national program working to end child hunger in America.

In his new position, Loch will lead the Hickory Farms retail sales team and more than 4,500 seasonal associates in their pursuit of excellence through a network of 750 kiosks the company operates each holiday season. Previous to his new role, Loch was hired at Hickory Farms in 2009 as the VP of supply chain where he successfully led the reengineering of all processes to deliver products to the company’s customers. He served on the executive board for the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, Northwest, Ohio, and is active as a director for the University of Toledo Men’s Lacrosse Club.

Hanline was first hired in 2006 at Hickory Farms as the director of logistics before being appointed to VP of supply chain. During his tenure the logistics team transformed the company’s distribution and storage network to achieve 99% on-time deliveries while at the same time significantly lowering costs. He is also active in the community and works with Read for Literacy, youth sports and various charities throughout the year.

Herman recently joined Hickory Farms from a client service firm specializing in financial, operational and organizational development. Prior to Davenport, Hanf & Company, Herman served as CFO and treasurer for Therma-Tru Corporation where he led the restructuring and growth of several divisions within the organization including finance, information technology, customer service and sales. Herman’s community involvement includes supporting the Diocese of Toledo on long term planning and implementation for the ministry of Catholic Schools.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Kroger DC converting food waste to clean energy

BY Marianne Wilson

Los Angeles — The Kroger Co. unveiled a clean energy production system that will convert food that can’t be sold or donated into clean energy to help power its Ralphs/Food 4 Less distribution center in Compton, Calif.

The anaerobic conversion system will process more than 55,000 tons of organic food waste into renewable energy annually and provide power for the over 650,000 square foot distribution center. By diverting that food waste – the equivalent of 150 tons per day – the system will also reduce area truck trips by more than 500,000 miles each year. The system, designed and operated by FEED Resource Recovery, a clean technology company founded in Boston, uses a sophisticated process to convert the carbon in organic material into a renewable source of methane.

"We are committed to finding solutions for food waste and clean energy, and we believe this is a meaningful step forward," said Rodney McMullen, president and COO, The Kroger Co. "Investing in this project is a good business decision for Kroger and, most importantly, an extraordinary opportunity to benefit the environment. “

The system utilizes anaerobic digestion, a naturally occurring process, to transform unsold organics and onsite food-processing effluent into renewable biogas. This biogas is then turned into power for onsite operations. The process is carried out in an enclosed, oxygen-free environment, which means the process takes up less space and generates no odors.

The system will provide enough renewable biogas to offset more than 20% of the energy demand of the Ralphs/Food 4 Less distribution center. Combining the use of renewable energy power with more than 150 zero emission fuel cell fork lifts, the Ralphs/Food4Less distribution center is now one of the greenest and most efficient, advancing the City of Compton as a leading sustainable community.

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