Loblaw, U of G Announce Chair in Sustainable Food Production

April 07, 2010 - News Release

Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) and the University of Guelph today announced the creation of The Loblaw Companies Limited Chair in Sustainable Food Production. The chair was made possible by a $3-million gift from Loblaw and will be the centre of U of G’s research focus on creating robust food production systems. It will help lead change in food production systems through education, research, practice and outreach within the context of the essential elements of sustainability: the environment, communities and the economy.

“Issues related to food production and supply are among the greatest societal challenges of our time,” said U of G president Alastair Summerlee. “Accelerating the pace of change requires new ways of thinking, new approaches to teaching and sharing knowledge, and new definitions of innovation. This new chair is a critical first step in helping to develop long-term solutions for a healthy future.”

U of G and Loblaw are uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution to sustainable food production. U of G’s Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) is the largest and oldest in Canada, having been established in 1874. U of G has excelled in research. Loblaw, Canada’s largest food distributor, is committed to corporate social responsibility, respect for the environment, and food quality and value.

“Working together, we can address the very issues that are at the root of today’s global pressures around food sustainability,” said Galen G. Weston, executive chairman of Loblaw Companies Limited. “Through this initiative, we believe we can help to increase Canada’s capacity to produce food sustainably, train tomorrow’s industry leaders, contribute to policy development, meet consumers’ needs and nurture our environment. It represents the defining strategy for Loblaw over the next two decades.”

Among other things, The Loblaw Chair in Sustainable Food Production will pioneer approaches for dealing with the increasing challenges in agriculture and food production. This includes leading a national program in sustainable local food production, developing roundtables on the topic and creating an industry advisory group to guide novel curriculum development.

The chair will also assemble a core of researchers in agriculture and food production, lead collaborations in the public and private sectors, serve as a key resource for government food and agriculture policy development, and work to lead and advance the sustainability of agriculture and food production in Canada.

A search for the inaugural chair holder will begin immediately, and the position will be based at U of G’s OAC in the Department of Plant Agriculture.

"We are enormously pleased to partner with Loblaw in this new initiative,” said OAC dean Rob Gordon. “It will provide benefits to consumers, to Canada’s food industry and to the environment that we all share. We welcome the opportunity to apply our expertise, influence and experience to develop new solutions for existing and emerging challenges.”

OAC has more than 150 faculty members engaged in agricultural teaching, research and outreach. In addition, U of G has a long-standing partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, which fuels innovation in agriculture, food and environmental sustainability.

“Our agri-food research, teaching and service capacity will only be further enhanced by this new and innovative partnership,” Gordon said.

The Loblaw Chair in Sustainable Food Production is part of U of G’s ongoing fundraising efforts to cultivate teaching and research in areas that are essential for quality of life: food, water, animals, public health, the environment and communities.

About the University of Guelph

The University of Guelph is ranked as one of Canada's top comprehensive universities because of its commitment to student learning and innovative research. U of G is dedicated to cultivating the essentials for quality of life — water, food, environment, animal and human health, community, commerce, culture and learning. The University community also shares a profound sense of social responsibility, an obligation to address global issues and a concern for international development.

About Loblaw Companies Limited

Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food distributor and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ over 138,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian customers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice®, no name® and Joe Fresh Style® brands. In addition, the Company makes available to customers President's Choice Financial® services and offers the PC® points loyalty program.

For more information, please contact:

Julija Hunter
Vice-President, Public Relations
Loblaw Companies Limited
PR@loblaw.ca or 905-459-2500

Lori Bona Hunt
Associate Director (News Service)
Communications and Public Affairs, University of Guelph
519 824-4120, Ext. 53338

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1