Founded in 1907, SGS Produce is a 5th-generation produce wholesaler in downtown Los Angeles, adjacent to the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market. It thrives today due to the tireless dedication of president Carole Shandler to her employees, vendors, farmers and the community. Without even realizing it, SGS Produce has embraced the ethos of the Triple Bottom Line: which is the balance of people, planet and profit. President Carole Shandler has always run her business with sustainability in mind, even before she had heard of the term, "Zero Waste" She constantly searches for ways to reduce waste throughout every aspect of her business, and she is committed to reducing total discards by 1% per year.
SGS Produce takes a top-down approach to zero waste, recognizing that if ownership and management are not on board, it will be near impossible to implement waste reduction and sustainable strategies. Communication was key to their success. SGS Produce notifies all of their vendors, including their supplies and customers at least once per year of their preference to work with vendors who embrace zero waste principles, knowing that this type of communication could lead to vendor churn.
Leading up to certification, SGS Produce integrated their zero waste policy and guidelines into all new employee on-boarding, and at least one aspect of zero waste is integrated into every team meeting. Additionally, they included employees, managers and owners in their annual waste sort, so that all stakeholders in the company were able to see first-hand how they were sorting well, and areas in which they could improve.
"When we think about climate change and environmental issues, all of us can make a difference regardless of business size, amount of waste or resources available for each company." - Carole Shandler, President, SGS Produce.