The distribution of fresh food is a challenging, but necessary operation that happens every day across North America in order to ensure grocery store shelves are stocked and businesses can continue to serve their customers. In 1991, six independent foodservice distributors realized that changes could be made to make the process more efficient, and the Produce Regional Operators Advancing Cooperative Trade – known today as PRO*ACT – was born. The idea behind the business was to create competitive advantage by consolidating purchasing, and working together on marketing and networking efforts. The plan was a success, and today, the PRO*ACT network consists of more than 71 distribution centers, nearly 2,000 delivery trucks, and more than 7,200 employees, covering 98 percent of America and Canada’s population.
In 2011, the PRO*ACT network realized the importance of sustainability to its stakeholders, and the network came together to create the first industry supply chain sustainability program, Greener Fields Together. Greener Fields Together (GFT) aims to improve sustainability in the fresh produce industry by focusing on four main components: local farms, national suppliers, regional purveyors, and retail and foodservice businesses. In order to fulfill this mission for the regional purveyors, the network voted that all members go through a green business certification process to show their commitment to the cause. After months of deliberating, PRO*ACT and Greener Fields Together decided that the Green Business Bureau would be the perfect fit for the organization.
Since joining Green Business Bureau in 2016, PRO*ACT member’s have made numerous improvements to their operations, including implementing recycling and composting projects, reducing delivery impact, and purchasing carbon offsets. At PRO*ACT’s own headquarters in Monterey, CA, the office created a green team, performed a waste audit, and will be hiring a composting service in the next month.
Anne Nichols, Sustainability Manager at PRO*ACT explained it best when she said, “With the encouragement and resources offered by the Green Business Bureau, PRO*ACT and our network of distributors have been able to take measurable steps towards minimizing our environmental impact. It’s great to see our operations personnel get involved and offer innovative solutions to some of our most difficult problems.”
To learn more about PRO*ACT and how they are changing the way food is distributed, visit http://www.proactusa.com.