Multilingual, multi-cultural builder of international brands, Jorge Gotuzzo has digitally transformed Pace International—and offers his insights to avert the food crises in 2050.

A thought leader and innovator, our colleague, Jorge Gotuzzo embraces technology in an industry that’s been slow to digitize: produce. He’s traveled extensively, lived in multiple countries, and managed diverse food-related brands around the globe, always focused on sustainability and shared responsibility. Since 2014, he has been applying his skills as Global Marketing Director at Pace International, the world’s leader in post-harvest produce solutions, in order to do his part to help prevent a global food shortage.

Pace International is a subsidiary of Valent BioSciences Corporation (of Sumitomo Chemical Company) and the leading provider of postharvest solutions for produce, Pace International works to improve the quality of fruits and vegetables through innovative solutions and services.

I recently connected with Jorge to discuss food production in today’s world, and how we can avoid world hunger in 2050.

Mary Olson

You’ve said that the world is in danger of running out of food, and I believe you, since you understand today’s food production systems better than anyone I know. I wanted to dive into root causes.

For example, we Americans have been conditioned to select fruits and vegetables that appear cosmetically perfect. How might that impact us in the decades to come?

Jorge Gotuzzo

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), when you measure all produce from harvest to consumer usage, more than 45% of all fruits and vegetables go unused. That is almost half our global production!

7 billion people are alive today. By 2050, that number is expected to reach 9 billion. The question isn’t just how we produce more food to feed the growing population, but how we reduce overall waste. The looming crisis requires both food production innovations and changes in consumer behavior.

We must do much better. Imagine if the discarded product can get distributed to food programs in poor communities, rather than going straight to landfill? Imagine replacing processed snacks at schools with healthy and nutritious food, made from fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be thrown out. Just these things alone would be game changing.

Earthquake devastation in Haiti. Alltech 2010

Mary Olson

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It was devastated by a 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 160,000 and displaced 1.6 million people.

At the time, you were with Alltech—and living in Port-au-Prince. For a decade, you managed marketing initiatives in dairy, beef, and aquaculture on behalf of this global biotech company working to boost the health of plants and animals using nature and science.

After the earthquake, you led the Sustainable Haiti Project, and Alltech adopted a small school. What can you tell us about your experience there? How did the widespread devastation affect your views on humanity, corporate philanthropy, and the need for sustainability?

Gotuzzo, speaking of his mission in founding the Sustainable Haiti Project.

Jorge Gotuzzo:

While at Alltech, I was able to spend three months working with Haitian children and helped develop a sustainable coffee project. After the earthquake, Alltech adopted a small school to resume education—in spite of the widespread devastation. All of these experiences were life altering for me.

At that time, the company was the title sponsor of the World Equestrian Games (WEG2010) and our dream was to put together a children’s choir and to bring it to the U.S. for the opening ceremony performance. We wanted to show Haiti to the world through these beautiful little voices—and raise awareness about the recovery efforts.

Three months later, in time for start of the games, I found myself in Lexington, Kentucky with 26 children, two teachers, and one Catholic nun. That experience changed my life forever and helped me understand how lucky we are and how grateful we should be every day we’re alive.

Mary Olson

That’s beautiful, and very inspiring.

Data allows us to listen, engage, communicate, and act faster—and with greater accuracy. But the food industry’s been slow to adopt it—and embrace the digital advances available today.

You recently led a holistic online rebranding effort—and introduced an innovative digital product catalog that stands out as a “first” among all Sumitomo Chemical companies. How did you help Pace International break the mold of slow adoption?

Jorge Gotuzzo

Culturally, Pace International is all about innovation and technology. We are always looking for new ways of supporting our customers, their consumers, and the industry overall.

But there was a disconnect between our digital efforts and the day-to-day business. The digital experience we offered the customer was falling behind—and causing the company as a whole to miss out on our best opportunity to engage. To stay current, we had to step up our game and create a digital face-lift. We committed to this—and elevated the entire brand experience.

I enjoy operating in an ever-increasing complex digital realm. I look forward to putting my energies toward innovations that sustain the world and meet people’s needs. It’s a win for me, a win for my company, and a win for society. I hope.

Feel free to connect with Mary Olson or Jorge Gotuzzo for further information.

Mary Olson
Phone: 917.656.1856

Jorge Gotuzzo

Pace International Website
Wikipedia – Haiti Earthquake
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


My new interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2014 includes experts in technology, the arts, marketing, and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; others are creating game-changing paradigm shifts in their market segments.

Scott Mitchell discusses his professional background, current focus, and insights about how the world is emerging.

Profile: A 20 year Sumitomo Chemical Group Company employee, Mr. Mitchell is working to grow the Sumitomo Chemical business in the Americas with a focus on enhancing the Sumitomo Chemical brand, improving the efficiency of administrative functions and developing new business.

The company’s diverse business categories include basic chemicals, petrochemicals & plastics, IT-related chemicals, health & crop sciences, and pharmaceuticals.

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Sumitomo Chemical’s corporate values and business philosophy extend to the Group Companies of the Americas by contributing solutions to the problems facing the global environment and society, and the enrichment of people’s lives. 

In order to accomplish these global needs and challenges, Mr. Mitchell is working to achieve a balance of profitable business operations, the preservation of the environment, safety, health, product quality and social activity.

Scott exemplifies the concept of harmony between the company’s interests and those of the public through his long time engagement in the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work. 

Scott is also an active member of a number of United Nations Advisory and Workgroups. These are consultative groups that support the UN Global Compact and Global Compact Lead organizations and engage corporate CSR sponsors to work toward alleviating poverty and sustainable global development.

Through the company’s endeavors in these critical areas, Scott hopes to play a significant role in building a sustainable society and realizing the corporate goals.

Mary Olson: How have your views changed as you look back on your experience?

Scott N. Mitchell: I have enjoyed an exceptional career. I have been on an exciting trajectory for the past twenty years with Sumitomo Chemical Company.

Our philosophical business history is grounded in the concept of harmony between the company’s interests and those of the public including the environment and our global society. I have always taken my stewardship of business ethics and change and innovation to heart.

I am turning fifty in a few weeks. I have a long perspective of global business, social responsibility, and the driving forces of change.

I like to understand everything about change. I especially like to explore the points at which ideas, trends, and behavior cross certain thresholds. What illuminates the best decisions to initiate change?

Although I do not feel that my view is changing radically, I think I am becoming more practical about my/our actions.

Looking back, I was more willing to swing for the fences on every hit. I think I am more reserved and willing to accept smaller steps toward progress.

Having said that, more and more speed is necessary to stay ahead with a brand that faces today’s challenges to meet global needs and enrich people’s lives.

…if you choose to be in the race, you need to lead with change and innovation.

MO: How do you see the way the world is emerging?

SNM:It is an exciting time to be alive! Especially whenever and wherever people share responsibility for each other.

I think the world is emerging with greater complexity.

I believe the world is becoming more multi-modal. We face significant implications based on all the options available.

There are extreme cross-overs between normal and dysfunctional variances controlled by businesses, societies, and governments.

This is a time when moral competitive business processes are challenged by companies who do harm to the environment and our fellow human beings.

Globalization requires a markedly greater need of illuminated corporate cultures that society can trust.

In the global context, there are exceptional companies and individuals demonstrating responsible focus and leadership in every category, on every front.

Through my work at the United Nations, our advisories and consultative groups engage corporate social responsibility (CSR) sponsors to work toward alleviating poverty and sustainable global development.

I am encouraged on another level, because mutual well-being and respect for the public good is capturing the attention of my sons’ generation (Gen Z).

MO: What are your thoughts as you look forward?

SNM: I think we must be open to change…and not just the surface, but real change. Change requires clarity and understanding. Most ignore change because it is very difficult. But we need to make a choice. Not choosing is a choice. There are major implications of change and how we view our businesses and lives.

Defining and/or redefining ourselves (companies, products, people) is required today for going forward.

I wish we had more perfect information to make our choices, but we do not… it is the speed thing again. We must have our antennae up and our eyes open.

It is an exciting time for those of us who have an intense interest in change and innovation and producing new adaptive value—for ourselves and the brands we manage.