25. Sara Burnett, Burnett Strategy and Communications

Sara Burnett has more than 18 years experience developing brand-building strategies and campaigns. As Vice President of Food Beliefs, Sustainability & Public Relations at Panera Bread, Sara was responsible for the company’s policies on food issues ranging from sustainability to food additives. She also provided menu labeling and education to inform customer choice. Throughout her career, Sara expertly blends her communication skills with a deep understanding of policy, social responsibility, and sustainability, authoring, and managing bold ESG strategies. She is currently the Principal at Burnett Strategy and Communications.

Sara Burnett: “As food professionals, we can all find a way to convince ourselves that we're not part of the problem and we're not part of the solution. And we see it on both ends of the spectrum. When you're at a big food company, you're saying, oh man, it's hard to move this behemoth of an organization... [On] the small side of things, you might say, my voice isn't that big. But the reality is it is a very complicated and connected food system, and there is a role for everyone. So whether you're small or big, you're private or public, you're an NGO or a government… [we] all have an impact, and collectively we can do a lot more together.”

00:27 Intro to Sara
01:27 Sara’s career shift from health and wellness to sustainability 
03:05 Collective action and impact: critical elements to a truly sustainable food system
05:15 Coolfood menu labeling to nudge better-for-you choice
07:54 How post-purchase education influences future decisions
10:25 The surprising indirect impacts of calorie menu labeling 
14:06 Building trust with customers by working with credible partners 
17:04 The levers to support choice: transparency, demonstrating material impact, pursuing authentic solutions
19:40 Merging emotion and science for successful change management
23:20 Why a clear business plan can support resiliency and longevity for sustainability professionals
26:56 Takeaways for changemakers


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*The views expressed by the guests in this podcast don't necessarily represent the host’s views, nor those of his employer.

25. Sara Burnett, Burnett Strategy and Communications
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