When most people think of financial advisors, they picture a money-oriented professional whose goal in life is to generate and accumulate as much wealth as possible. But one of America’s most successful financial experts said he studied finance in college because he wanted to make the world a better place.
After four decades of leading one of the largest privately held firms in the world, Sheldon Lavin can say, “Mission accomplished.” As the majority owner and CEO of OSI Group, Sheldon Lavin has built one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly companies within the world’s food sector.
OSI Group is a processor of beef, pork, chicken, turkey and other products. It’s perhaps best known for being the legendary supplier of McDonald’s. OSI’s fresh beef patties unique flavor and texture helped make the company famous. The relationship between OSI and McDonald’s dates to the 1950s. OSI Group leveraged its relationship with the burger giant to implement rapid growth over the decades.
But under Sheldon Lavin’s leadership, OSI Group has gone well beyond being a “McDonald’s-centric” operation. Today the company produces a remarkable array of products for thousands of clients all over the globe. OSI has nearly 70 facilities in 17 countries. It employs 20,000 people worldwide and reports annual revenue north of $6 billion.
Meat processing is an inherently energy-intensive business on my levels. For example, enormous electrical power is needed to run massive refrigeration units to hold meat at optimal temperatures for maximum safety. Another major resource requirement is fresh water.
Sheldon Lavin recognized early on that food operations like his would need to make sustainability a core value and a primary principle in supporting ongoing production. To that end, OSI has embraced alternative sources of energy, including wind and solar. It has adopted low-flow faucet and other water conservation measures. That’s just for starters.
In fact, it is Sheldon Lavin’s long-term goal to make OSI Group a zero-carbon-footprint company. That means it will produce no net greenhouse gas emissions in the course of carrying out its mission. It has already made significant progress toward that goal. OSI’s Sheldon Lavin receives Global Visionary Award