- PCC Community Markets announced Thursday the launch of its Inclusive Trade Program, a product certification program designed to increase the visibility of businesses owned by individuals part of “historically and currently excluded communities.”
- Participating vendors and suppliers of the program will be highlighted in PCC stores and online, allowing shoppers to select businesses and products from communities they identify with and want to support.
- The Seattle-based co-op’s new program builds on other product standards it has established around sustainability and natural ingredients.
PCC’s Inclusive Trade Program furthers its Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) commitment, according to the community-owned grocer’s announcement. The initiative seeks out businesses that are woman-owned; Black, Indigenous and person-of-color (BIPOC)- owned; LGBTQ-owned; veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned; and persons with disabilities-owned.
Already, more than 60 businesses representing over 615 products have opted into PCC’s program, with the grocer anticipating onboarding more brands. Some of these businesses include OrcaSong Farm, Tieton Farm & Creamery and XOBC Cellars, the press release listed.
Vendors can apply to enroll in PCC’s program by completing an affidavit verifying the business meets the requirements, which include it being at least 51% legally owned, operated and controlled by individuals who identify within a community that is historically and currently excluded. While non-local vendors need certification from an agency to verify this, to avoid enrollment barrier, PCC does not require local vendors to be certified, but only to fill out the certification checklist.
PCC added that new suppliers under the Inclusive Trade Program will still have to meet the chain’s standards for sustainability and ingredients. However, PCC said it will work with suppliers to meet those standards.
This is the co-op’s latest effort to promote diversity in its store and its product lineup. Earlier this spring, PCC’s first-ever statement of equity and inclusion debuted in the 2022 Co-op Purposes Report. PCC’s JEDI Advisory Council developed the statement to acknowledge a “commitment to justice-centered change within the co-op and community food systems.”
This statement is now a guideline for the Inclusive Trade program, PCC noted in its announcement.
PCC stated that its program closely follows one founded by the National Co+op Grocers in 2022. In addition, a number of other grocers have worked to attract a more diverse selection of vendors through similar initiatives.
In January 2022, Meijer hosted its third event focused on supplier diversity and asked “certified minority-, LGBTQ-, woman-, veteran- and disability-owned business” with eligible products or services to apply for a partnership with the grocer.