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ECRM kicks off Diversity Week and Retail Sustainability Collaborative

ECRM’s Diversity Week and Retail Sustainability Collaborative will consist of educational and product sourcing initiatives that support creating more opportunities for diverse, inclusive and sustainably-focused suppliers.

ECRM, the leader in end-to-end product sourcing solutions for retailers, is stepping up its efforts to drive retail industry engagement around corporate social responsibility.

The company announced the launch of its Diversity Week and Retail Sustainability Collaborative, which consists of two educational and product sourcing initiatives that support creating more opportunities for diverse, inclusive and sustainably-focused suppliers.

[Read more: Business at a distance: What ECRM has learned from facilitating 100K virtual meetings]

Each will include a series of webcasts that feature leading retailers in presentations and panel discussions during the weeks leading up to their respective category-specific sessions, where retailers will meet face-to-face with suppliers virtually to discover and evaluate new products and resources.

"Consumers are increasingly demanding diverse and sustainable products," said Wayne Bennett, ECRM's senior vice president of Retail, who is spearheading the ECRM's CSR thought leadership efforts. "Retailers are driving efforts towards net zero carbon, becoming more eco-friendly and supporting regenerative supply chains. They are also seeking out diverse-owned supplier partners with which to do business. We're thrilled to provide a platform to help them accomplish these goals."

More than 640 buyers met with almost 500 brands during last year's ECRM Diversity Week, which included sessions for diverse- and minority-owned suppliers across food and beverage; general merchandise; and health & beauty care categories. Over 3,800 curated meetings were held on the ECRM Connect platform across the three sessions.

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"Supplier diversity is front-of-mind at Walgreens, and ECRM has done a great deal to help us effectively engage the diverse-owned supplier community," said Lauren Brindley, group vice president and general merchandise manager, Beauty & Personal Care, Walgreens. "This year's panel discussions and 1:1 supplier sessions will help us to ensure that we are creating equitable opportunities for diverse suppliers to drive economic impact in the communities we serve at Walgreens."

This year's Supplier Diversity Sessions will be held from April 5 to 8, 2022, and the educational content leading up to them will include two panel discussions with retailers including:

  • Kate Weaver, Supplier Diversity manager, Ahold;
  • Zachary Logan, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion, Albertsons;
  • Angel Colon, senior director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Supplier Inclusion, Kroger;
  • Carla Hendon, director, Supplier Diversity and Indirect Procurement, Meijer; and
  • Lauren Brindley, group vice president & general merchandise manager, Beauty & Personal Care, Walgreens.

Additional information, including registration for the webcasts and sessions, can be found on a specially created website

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ECRM's Retail Sustainability Collaborative includes a series of inspiring educational discussions and curated face-to-face meetings during which retail and sustainability leaders will present insights on activities being undertaken to achieve net zero carbon emissions, reduce the use of plastic, climate action strategies and activity for a more eco-friendly business environment.

This is an addition to ECRM's year-round efforts in working with individual retailers to help drive their sustainability efforts forward via custom sustainability sourcing campaigns.

"At Sprouts Farmers Market, sourcing innovative, sustainable products that promote the wellbeing of the communities and environment they come from is always top of mind as we expand the Our Brands portfolio," said Jac Ross, VP, Own Brands for Sprouts. "ECRM's resources help us deliver on these initiatives and connect with a like minded community to bring responsible products to our shoppers who care about where their food comes from."

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The webcast series prior to the ECRM sessions will provide valuable insights for any supplier who currently sells or wants to sell in the retail marketplace and presenters include:

  • Suzanne Long, chief sustainability officer, Albertsons 
  • Michael Fulmer, Business Development, Climate Pledge Friendly at Amazon
  • Jessi Moffit, vice president Innovation & Retail, Canteen
  • Laura McCord, executive director Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility, KeHE
  • Jac Ross, vice president of Own Brands, Sprouts
  • Chris Skyers, vice president of Own Brands, Wakefern
  • Cheryl Lam, Sustainable Packaging Lead - Walmart Private Brands
  • Sarah Paskell, Packaging Design and Sustainability - Walmart Private Brands
  • Thomas Crookham – director of Sourcing, Whole Foods Market
  • Tom Hermes – vice president of Sourcing and Product Development, Whole Foods Market

The sustainability-focused sessions will be held June 20 to 23, 2022 and provide buyers and sellers across Food & Beverage, Foodservice, General Merchandise, and Health & Beauty Care the opportunity to collaborate around sustainability assortments and eco-friendly attributes in one-on-one virtual meetings.

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For more information about ECRM's Retail Sustainability Collaborative or to register for the educational program and sessions can be found online

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