Clemson Food Waste, Sustainability Initiative Expands Collaborations under New Leadership

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

Clemson University has tapped a new leader for its food waste and sustainability initiative, Sonoco FRESH. Anne Barr will serve as the executive director of Sonoco FRESH, which is part of the university’s Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics.

She will report to Windsor Sherrill, Clemson’s associate vice president for health research, and will work with academic partners across the university to develop interdisciplinary collaborations with industry leaders in packaging and the food supply chain.

Barr joins the team with more than three decades of experience in strategy and development, six of those as a leader in corporate relations for Clemson University Development and Alumni Relations. She has also been a key partner in the university’s food waste initiative since its earliest stages through the Clemson Forever campaign.

“In my time at Clemson, I have had the opportunity to work across departments to develop high-impact strategies that engage multiple industries, including packaging,” said Barr. “I have a passion for establishing partnerships to build collaborations between industry and academia to drive real-world solutions.”

“With the leadership of Anne Barr, Clemson is providing a strategy to position its food waste and sustainability initiative for success,” said Sherrill. “Anne has earned a reputation among industry and academic partners for being a highly effective strategist, relationship builder and project manager. This is the right time, the right topic and Clemson is the right university to tackle food waste.”

Thanks to the generosity of Sonoco Products Company, the FRESH initiative was funded as a complement to its existing partnership with the Sonoco Institute as a pathway for partners to join in addressing global food waste. From agriculture to materials science, transportation, packaging, consumer behavior and more, Clemson’s diverse capabilities provide a unique opportunity for food security and sustainability leaders to respond to the alarming statistics around food waste. According to the USDA, 30 to 40 percent of all food in the U.S. is wasted.

As part of her responsibilities, Barr will create an annual summit beginning in fall 2020 to connect thought leaders from across the fresh food supply chain and tackle the tough conversations surrounding food waste. The food waste and sustainability summit, Sept. 22-23, will feature keynotes from leaders in packaging, sustainability and food waste.