Yogurt CEO blazes green path
Check out Joel Makower on Gary Hirshberg, founder and head of Stonyfield Yogurt. Stonyfield was bought by French food conglomerate Danone last year, at which I point my kneejerk dirty hippie-ism kicked in and I assumed they’d sold out.
Apparently not, though:
All of which further empowered Hirshberg to pursue, and align, his dual missions of commerce and environmental sustainability. His $300 million-a-year company — built with almost no traditional advertising — has been carbon neutral since 1996, the first company to do so, long before it became corporate chic. And it’s not just by writing a check to offset its emissions. Over the past decade, the company (via the tireless efforts of Hirshberg’s sister, Nancy, Stonyfield’s VP of Natural Resources) has reduced its facility energy use and the associated carbon emissions per pound of product by one-third. Stonyfield’s products are 100% organic, and it has helped hundreds of family farms convert from conventional farming. The company has worked to minimize waste, going so far as to collect used yogurt cups and lids and recycle them into useful products. And it uses its product labeling for activism, devoting precious real estate on yogurt lids to advance environmental causes.
Hirshberg’s company has been an ardent supporter of such causes. Stonyfield’s Profits for the Planet program has given 10% of company profits to organizations "that help protect and restore the environment." Hirshberg got Danone to agree to maintain the program for at least 10 years after he leaves the company, whenever that is; he has no plans to do so.
Worth reading the whole thing. And check out Hirshberg’s new book, Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World.