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CEO DATELINE – Trade groups for organic and sustainable foods merge

Jan. 13, 2021
By Kathryn Walson

The Sustainable Food Trade Association has ceased operating as an independent entity and merged with the Organic Trade Association. OTA has formed an Organic Trade Association Sustainable Food Action Council, which will consist of former SFTA members and is open to all OTA members.

Carbon management and sustainability expert Lisa Braun, who had been on the staff of SFTA, is joining OTA as the sustainability technical services manager for the new council, which will hold its first meeting Jan. 21.

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“This consolidation will provide a broader and strengthened portfolio for organic to help mitigate climate change, and to build a food system that is healthy for us and our planet. The organic sector is starting off the new year strong, engaged and forward-thinking,” OTA CEO Laura Batcha said in a statement Monday.

SFTA ceased operations on Dec. 31. It was formed in 2008, and membership had grown to more than 40 organic businesses. Sustainability consultant Lisa Spicka had been leading the association as interim executive director before the merger. SFTA has developed tools, which will be available to all OTA members, to help companies build, measure and refine their sustainability programs.

“SFTA members recognized the potential of this consolidation when 100 percent, in an 80 percent quorum, voted in favor of it,” Matt Landi, SFTA Council vice chair, said in a statement. “SFTA’s expertise in helping companies measure their sustainability, and the Organic Trade Association’s experience in organic advocacy and its effective council model create a huge value for organic stakeholders. We expect this new council will thrive and grow, playing an essential role in supporting a continued focus on evolving sustainability practices, a core value within the organic trade and increasingly, beyond.” 

OTA reported revenue of $5.9 million in 2018, the last information from tax filings available. SFTA reported revenue of $157,290 in 2019.