How SGS Produce is Leading the Way to a More Sustainable Food Industry

Shapiro-Gilman-Shandler Co. was awarded for the second year with the Gold Level status under the TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) certification system. Administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), TRUE helps facilities to define and achieve Zero Waste goals while becoming more resource efficient. After a couple of years in full commitment to Zero Waste practices throughout corporate culture and operations, SGS Produce shows the importance of leading the way when it comes to sustainability in the food business.   

Carole Shandler, President of SGS representing the 4th generation ahead of the family business, has always run her company with sustainability in mind. “The small businesses are an essential part of the environmental movement that will benefit the whole society, and I want SGS Produce to serve as a role model”, Carole says. She and her team have generated enthusiasm in vendors and customers who would, in the past, resist simple changes such as replacing the old check payment and its envelope waste for ACH payments or coffee cups for individual mugs. 

With so many changes in the work environment due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the digital culture more incorporated, SGS Produce has seen an opportunity to encourage partners’ engagement as staff slowly returns to the workplace. “Less paper, less touch”, said Carole. 

“In previous years we sent countless emails and letters to ask our vendors to change to the ACH payments, but most of the time we never heard back. After we became Gold Level certified, that started to change; we rewrote our letters and placed the focus on Zero Waste. While not everyone has made the switch yet, it’s become clear that people value a greener, cleaner world”, said Tristen Farley, Accounting Clerk at SGS Produce. 

The TRUE certification process takes several months of examining, auditing, and verifying all business processes and operations, from products used internally to the types of inbound vendors selected to source goods, to coming alongside customers to advocate sustainable choices. SGS was required, as are all TRUE Certified businesses, to show preference to vendors and customers who embrace Zero Waste.

These are the TRUE Zero Waste Certification standards:

1. Implementation of an in-place Zero Waste policy

2. Achieving an average of 90% or greater overall diversion from landfill, incineration (Waste-To-Energy), and the environment for solid, non-hazardous wastes for the most recent 12 months. Diverted materials that are reduced, reused, recycled, composted, and/or recovered for productive use in nature or the economy

3. Meeting of all federal, state/provincial, and local solid waste and recycling laws and regulations. Compliance with all air, water, and land discharge permits required for collection, handling, or processing of materials

4. Data documenting a base year of waste diversion and measurements since the base year that adjusts for changes in size, type, and nature of business

5. Does not exceed a 10% contamination level for any materials that leave the site

6. Submission of 12 months of waste diversion data to GBCI annually to keep the certification current

7. Agreement to submit a case study of Zero Waste initiatives to be published on the GBCI web site

Through extensive communication and persistency SGS Produce is transforming an entire ecosystem of businesses and helping them to save money and space, to protect their employees, to feed their communities and yet, to contribute for a more sustainable planet. 

Visit to learn more or talk with PR Manager Andrea Alves.