Need some inspiration for the New Year to eat better and get your work down more ethically? Then consider the case of an upstart yogurt company from New Hampshire that profoundly changed the face of business.
Gary Hirshberg explains exactly how he did it in his recent book Stirring It Up (Hyperion). Hirshberg's company, Stonyfield Farm, is a $300 million-per year annual business that to many is synonymous with the words "organic yogurt." It makes the number-one selling brand of organic yogurt and number-three overall yogurt brand in the U.S. Today the company is 85% owned by France's Group Danone, which has been committed to sticking with Stonyfield's winning combination of quality and ethical green business.
In Stirring It Up, Hirshberg presents enough facts and figures to back up his central point -- that boosting efficiency, slashing waste and doing right by the environment leads to higher profits, as well as a clean conscience -- but he writes with a down-home accessibility that should engage all those who wouldn't normally pick up a "business book."
Stirring It Up not only details how Stonyfield perfected its crowd-pleasing formulas and worked to cut carbon emissions along every step of its impact (the book itself is even offset by a farm-based manure digester), but it reads like a who's who of green business. Hirshberg fills considerable pages outlining how other companies have reaped rewards from going green, from Patagonia to Clif Bar, Flor, Seventh Generation, Honest Tea, Timberland, Eileen Fisher and even Wal-Mart (yes, Wal-Mart).
Writing about the early stages of the organic food revolution, Hirshberg explained, "What began as a philosophical fondness for dishes like brown rice and seaweed eventually matured into a tasty cuisine that attracted talented chefs, notably my friend Alice Waters, who called organics 'the delicious revolution.'" These days of course, organic food is one of the fastest growing segments of the entire world of eating, and folks are flocking to local and humane diets in record numbers. Greener, healthier fare is now available at fast food joints, 5-star restaurants and corporate cafeterias alike, as well as practically everything in between.
In an age rocked by corporate scandals and economic uncertainty, doing right by the planet and worker and consumer health seems more delicious than ever. Clip the coupons from the back of Stirring It Up from major green retailers, and find out for yourself how much better products can be.
Personally, I'm looking forward to trying Stonyfield Farm's new organic Greek yogurt, since I recently discovered how delicious strained yogurt can be (thanks to friends living near authentic Greek markets in Astoria!).
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