Year 12 | 26 January 2020 | TO ENTER | TO REGISTER

New consultancy reduces food waste and makes Philadelphia firms more green

A new sustainability and change management consulting firm has joined in the movement to “green Philadelphia” with innovative solutions that help organizations reduce waste, increase operational efficiencies, build partnerships and transform cultures. ResponsEcology helps companies secure a competitive advantage by focusing on the triple bottom line - people, planet and profits.

When asked about the company name, co-founder and managing director, Steven Finn, a former executive of a global blue chip industrial supplier, commented, “The ‘Response’ portion connotes the need for responsibility to future generations and the importance of responsiveness and urgency. The word ‘Ecology’ indicates our intention to address major environmental concerns in our area. The combined name brings these two themes together and stems from our belief in the need to respond to environmental problems at multiple levels of business and society without further delay.”

Finn’s interest in minimizing food waste while alleviating hunger was sparked after observing a butcher discarding numerous packages of high quality meat, and later witnessing a woman unable to pay for vegetables while listening to another claim that no one went hungry in their affluent community. These two events started a two-year journey to explore the topic during his Masters Degree work in Organizational Dynamics at University of Pennsylvania and his studies regarding stakeholder management and sustainability in France and Sweden. The initial result was a published paper on a framework for public-private initiatives to reduce food waste.

Finn then used this framework to pilot programs in the Philadelphia area, championing a project that built strong public-private partnerships and led to the capture and distribution of 40,000 pounds of nutritious produce from local farmers that would have otherwise gone to waste. Finn detailed his efforts in another published paper on sustainable food recovery programs that has garnered global attention.

Simultaneously Finn developed a proposal for a partnership that joined Delaware Valley College, Philabundance, and the Bucks County Opportunity Council in a charitable garden project that leveraged the strengths of all parties to help mitigate hunger in the Philadelphia area.

“It was Steve's ability to work across functional areas and bring people together to achieve real results that was critical to the success of the partnership between Delaware Valley College, Philabundance, and the Bucks County Opportunity Council,” said Russell Redding, the dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley College.

When asked about working with Finn on the charitable garden project, Mike Olenick, manager of the Food and Nutrition Network at Bucks County Opportunity Council shared: “It's easy to recognize his depth of knowledge and his drive and passion. Steve’s proposal provided the vision required for a project of this magnitude. The connections he facilitated were further enhanced at a countywide symposium on hunger – the ‘Hope of the Harvest’ conference. The symposium took the idea from the pages and into the community where it continues to gain momentum and will surely have a lasting positive impact.”

Finn’s work is clearly aligned with Philadelphia’s mission to be the number one green city in America and the Mayor of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability's Greenworks target focusing on food waste and hunger. He continues to explore and speak about the challenges of dealing with food waste, innovation and sustainability through his research and teaching and presentations at several universities in Pennsylvania. He is also an active board member of the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance.

Finn and ResponsEcology are currently supporting the University of Pennsylvania’s Bodek Lecture Series - “American Pie: The Politics of Food in the 21st Century” - which tackles issues related to global food security, sustainable agriculture and food waste in America. They are also organizing an intimate panel discussion for the next lecture.

ResponsEcology encourages anyone interested in sustainable agriculture to attend the next lecture on April 24th by Dr. John Ikerd, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri and author of Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense. The lecture is entitled “The Future of Food: Sustainable Agriculture is not Optional” and will be held at the University of Pennsylvania’s Claudia Cohen Hall. For more information or to RSVP for the event, visit the Bodek lecture series site.

To learn more about Steven Finn and his continued efforts to reduce food waste and hunger in the Philadelphia area, visit

by S. C.
26 april 2012, World News > America