Stonyfield Farm’s Wide-Ranging CSR Initiatives are World Class

Stonyfield Farm’s Wide-Ranging CSR Initiatives are World Class

stonyfieldLondonderry, New Hampshire-based Stonyfield Farm is a fantastic example of a socially responsible business — not just because of its dedication to organic-only products, but because of the work it does to educate consumers about healthy food choices and environmentalism. Stonyfield’s “Why Organic” microsite offers great resources, starting with the basics such as a simple definition of the term “organic” and extending to information on humane animal treatment as well as videos of farmers explaining why they use organic products. The company’s website features in-depth information on Stonyfield’s conservation practices, including milestones, a corporate environmental mission action program, and resources to help consumers calculate their carbon footprints.

Stonyfield’s “The Buzz” blog is a treasure trove of material, most of which has nothing to do with Stonyfield products. Book reviews, climate change news and resources, farming news and best practice tips, and information on governmental regulation, are among the many topics covered there.

The yogurt-maker’s Profits for the Planet and Climate Counts initiatives are first-rate examples of corporate activism. To date, Stonyfield has donated more than $15 million to hundreds of organizations, and its marketing campaigns have historically been more evocative of fundraisers than product pitches. For example, Stonyfield’s “Know Your Food” campaign compelled consumers to educate themselves about food growth, ingredients and preparations. As part of the campaign, “Stonyfield Food Superheroes” urged consumers to create online health-conscious superhero personas. For every profile created, Stonyfield donated $1 to FoodCorps, a national nonprofit organization that works with schools in underfunded communities to address childhood food health.

The company also threw its support behind Just Label It!’s 2011 “Dining in the Dark” campaign, which called for government-enforced labels on genetically engineered food. In 2011, Stonyfield’s “Grant a Farmer’s Wish” campaign enabled consumers to vote for one of six innovative farming projects. At the end of the competition, Stonyfield granted one $10,000 grant, two $7,500 and three $2,000 grants to help fund the initiatives.

Stonyfield’s CSR (corporate social responsibility) approach has continually received industry recognition, not only as an example of generosity and responsibility, but also just good business. The organization’s work has been spotlighted on the Harvard Law School blog via a Conference Board Governance Center report. Stonyfield co-founder and chairman Gary Hirshberg gave a lecture to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business’s Center for Innovation entitled “Making Money While Going Green.” For the past five years, Stonyfield has been recognized as one of “The World’s Most Ethical” companies by The Ethisphere Institute. The company’s plant-based packaging was listed as one of’s “Editors Best of 2010.”

Stonyfield’s success is proof of the knowledge that properly executed CSR can actually increase profits.

From 2006-2010 Stonyfield achieved a 46% absolute reduction in transportation greenhouse gas, or a savings of roughly $7.6 million, according to the company’s mission action program. Each year, Stonyfield prevents 18 tractor-trailer loads of plastic, saving roughly $3.2 million. From 2007-2010 it reduced facility energy and greenhouse gas by 11% and reduced solid waste by 39%, a combined savings of roughly $2.5 million.

I recently wrote about Patagonia for the company’s dedication to CSR. Although the Reno, Nevada-based retail chain and Stonyfield Farm are two of the most championed CSR practitioners, there are hundreds of companies dedicated to using sound business practices and philanthropic initiatives to make the world a better place. If you’re interested in some of Totsy’s CSR initiatives, check out our “Being Green” program or read the Patagonia post. We’d love to hear from you about your experiences with Stonyfield, or if you’re interested in learning more about Totsy’s CSR goals, please leave a comment below.

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