Ratio Institute partners with innovators, thought leaders, and industry experts to extend our reach and ensure that our work is grounded in the best thinking in support of food retail sustainability.
With a broad set of challenges and opportunities ranging from energy and climate to food waste and plastics, retailers need access to tools, best practices, and unbiased information to pursue sustainable solutions in support of business success.
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Kate Whitbeck is the director of sustainability for Harmons Grocery, a family-owned, locally operated, 20-store grocery business based in Utah. As the first individual to hold this position in the company, she has been responsible for conducting a baseline assessment of key environmental indicators related to store operations, as well as establishing goals, and evaluating progress on metrics related to emissions, waste, water, energy, sustainable sourcing, and packaging. Prior to Harmons, Kate spent ten years focused on sustainable materials management as a founder and managing partner of Momentum Recycling, a zero-waste company providing recycling collection services, waste consulting and glass processing services. Her subsequent position at the University of Utah’s Sustainability Office allowed her to broaden her experience and knowledge in areas outside of waste. Before moving to Utah, Kate spent ten years working overseas in the field of civil society development. She holds a master’s degree in International Sustainable Development from the School for International Training.
Laura McCord has over 20 years of food retail involvement with experience as a grocer, and account manager, with the majority of her time spent in category management. After obtaining her Master’s degree in Sustainable Management, she transitioned to a newly created position at KeHE, Sustainability, and Corporate Responsibility, which focuses on environmental stewardship, employee engagement, and community involvement. Laura is also the co-founder of CAREtrade, which focuses on suppliers that share KeHE’s mission to serve to make lives better and DIVERSEtrade, which focuses on certified Women, Minority, LGBT+, People with Disabilities and Veteran suppliers at KeHE.
Oren's professional career includes over 16 years’ experience in corporate social responsibility, supply chain compliance, sustainability consulting, sales, and strategic partnership development. Oren supports companies to build responsible supply chains, implement social audit programs, understand legal/regulatory compliance issues, supply chain security programs, and supplier risk assessments. Oren has worked with third party certification and standards organizations, management consulting, technology/cloud/SaaS solutions, and employee wellness organizations. Previous career highlights include working in professional sports, producing live events, and founding an outdoor aerial advertising agency. Oren lives in the Bay Area with his wife, two children, and dog.
Lydia Covert is the Corporate Sustainability Manager at Unum Group, where she drives strategies for long-term environmental, social, and governance issues. Her passion lies in helping companies understand that sustainability and profitability go hand-in-hand. In her time with Unum, she has led cross-disciplinary teams in completing the first materiality assessment for the company, increasing sustainability disclosures through the 2019 ESG report, and developing strategic sustainability frameworks. Prior to Unum, Lydia worked on sustainability topics within the food retail sector, including seafood supply chains, internal reporting processes, target-setting and database management, internal and external stakeholder engagement, and issuance of a €600 million sustainability bond.
Laura Thompson is the Director of the RMS Program at GreenBlue and led the development and implementation of the Recycled Material Standard. Laura also serves as a technical expert for the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and has been focused on plastics recycling. Laura also operates an independent sustainability consultancy, 4Minutes LLC, and has worked for non-profits including The Recycling Partnership, The Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Sustainable Biomass Program. She also advises corporate clients on sustainability policy and strategy. Prior to establishing 4Minutes, Laura served as the Director of Sustainable Development for Sappi, a multinational paper company. Laura has a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire as well as an MS and PhD in Paper Science from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Francis provides business consulting services through Plus 3 Services. Plus 3 focuses on optimizing business performance for Manufacturers, Wholesalers and Retailers in the Food Industry. Prior to starting Plus 3, Francis led Retailer Owned Food Distributors & Associates (ROFDA) as President/CEO. For more than 35 years, Francis has consistently applied his leadership and common sense thinking to the areas of sales, marketing, operations and management with both private and public sector companies.
Darcie Renn is the Director of ESG and Sustainability at Albertsons Companies, where she helps to establish and report on both environmental and social sustainability priorities for the company. Darcie actively participates in industry dialogues as the cochair of the FMI Sustainability Executive Committee, an Advisory Board member of the Ocean Plastics Leadership Network, and a member of various other food waste reduction and sustainable packaging working groups. Darcie has an MBA in Sustainability Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource and Environmental Management. She has also completed a Sustainability Leadership program at Harvard University and a Sustainable Energy Management Certificate from Presidio Graduate School. She brings twenty years of experience in the fields of sustainability and supply chain management, with a specific focus on the food and beverage industry.
Ian started Latent Engineering in 2018. He provides technical consulting for C&I building solutions including HVAC&R, envelope systems, distributed generation, thermal storage, and battery storage. He has worked with NREL, Turntide, and AES Distributed Energy. Previously, he led the R&D efforts at Transformative Wave (TW) for three years, lab testing and field demonstrating ways to augment TW’s product stack with building-to-grid services (load shedding/shifting), data analytics, and model-predictive controls. Prior to TW, Ian worked at NREL for eight years, conducting laboratory testing and field demonstration and modeling of advanced HVAC&R systems, battery storage, and envelope technologies. Prior to NREL, Ian worked at Arup for three years, designing mechanical and façade systems for hospitals, laboratories, museums, offices, and colleges. He has an MS from Virginia Tech and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University.
Steve Goh, energy management director for thirty-three Vallarta supermarkets, is responsible for all sustainability efforts for the regional grocery chain based in Southern California. He has leveraged innovative financing strategies, utility incentives and rebates, and utility suppliers sourcing to create low- or no-cost implementation of energy- and water-reduction programs and a zero-waste program. Steve’s efforts have resulted in more than 20% reduction in per store energy usage by implementing measures that include but are not limited to the following: energy-efficiency technologies such as LED lighting, refrigeration upgrades and IOT technologies, store retro-commissioning, and standardized maintenance for HVAC and refrigeration. The zero-waste program has diverted more than 33% of solid waste to recycling and composting. These efforts garnered Steve a regional Southern California Edison energy-efficiency award and Vallarta’s recognition as a finalist for the Los Angeles Better Business Challenge. Steve holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Mark Koppang serves as Raley’s director of sustainability. In this role, Mark focuses on exploring existing and emerging technology to further expand Raley’s commitment to sustainability with actions that are most meaningful to team members, customers, and the communities Raley’s serves. Prior to joining Raley’s in July 2020, Mark accumulated twenty-two years of experience in flexible packaging and leadership, with a background in manufacturing, packaging, recyclables, and elected office.
Tristam Coffin is the Co-Founder and COO at Effecterra. He has worked in the sustainability field for over 14 years across multiple disciplines including transportation, corporate sustainability, packaging and supply chain, and green building. Prior to entering the consulting world, Tristam spent the majority of his career leading sustainability initiatives for Whole Foods Market. Most recently, he was a Director of Sustainability & Facilities where he led a team that oversaw the implementation of environmentally responsible programs, sustainable engineering initiatives, and facility management. Tristam is a LEED AP, sustainability leader and holds a broad array of environmental expertise in areas including high performance buildings, refrigeration systems, renewable energy, and waste diversion.
Paul Delaney has been an energy and energy-efficiency professional for forty-two years, most recently serving as a technology lead supporting the food industry at Southern California Edison. Paul is also a former vice president for the American Utility Network and national account manager for Edison Source.
A strategy consultant since 1993, Scot Case helps for-profit, not-for-profit, and government organizations develop winning strategies and successful solutions for complex global challenges. He makes it possible for individuals and organizations to thrive in a rapidly changing future. Throughout Scot’s career as a strategist, consultant, and sustainability expert, he has worked with organizations such as the White House; World Bank; Walmart; Johnson & Johnson; Disney; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and federal, state, and local governments around the world.
Mike is a retired cooperative wholesale president and chief executive officer and a well-known food industry leader with over forty-five years of hands-on experience in retail, wholesale, and independent business ownership. He has served as a board director for many years on seven national and regional industry organizations and was inducted into the 2010 Griffin Report Industry Hall of Fame. He received the Massachusetts Food Association’s 2016 Person of the Year, Milton W. Segal Distinguished Service Award. Mike currently serves as the managing partner of BHR&T Consulting and Sustainable Solutions, LLC.
Ratio Institute connects industry leaders and experts to further leading-edge strategies that support food retail sustainability.
Explore opportunities for innovation, partnership and insights that advance sustainability.Contact Us