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Guest Blog: Stonyfield Farm

Lisa Drake, natural resources director for Stonyfield Farm, is the fifth guest blog interview in our series highlighting the Charter Supporters for NativeEnergy’s latest, and largest, offset project: the Greensburg Wind Farm.

Lisa initiated Stonyfield’s relationship with NativeEnergy in 2002. “We’ve supported so many great projects over the past seven years and are thankful to NativeEnergy for the opportunities that they’ve provided to us to help support farmers, Native communities, and more.” Indeed, they have supported several of NativeEnergy’s offset projects including the Alex Little Soldier Wind Turbine, the Wanner Family Dairy Farm Methane Project, and the Mains Family Dairy Farm Methane Project.

Stonyfield’s commitment to sustainability began more than 25 years ago. The company grew out of an organic farming school in Wilton, New Hampshire, and has grown over the years to become the largest organic yogurt maker in the world. But as they’ve grown, Stonyfield has been very conscious of the impacts of its growth and the life cycle impact of its products —from the supply chain (the cow, in the case of Stonyfield) to the disposal of the consumed product (yogurt containers and lids). In other words, they mapped out their carbon footprint. To gain the most meaningful strategies for reduction, Stonyfield’s leaders turned to the people doing the work inside the company. They created a company-wide program, where nine teams were formed to study Stonyfield's major environmental impact areas and set goals for carbon and waste reduction. Employee compensation is partially tied to achieving these goals—now that is motivating! 

But Lisa explains, “In the mid-1990s we asked ourselves a simple question – how do we address the impact our energy use is having on the planet? And the obvious first answer is to reduce! But for what remains [after reducing], what can we do? Back in the mid-1990s,” she recalls, “almost no one had even heard of carbon offsets and we had to start from scratch. We did some research, got some good advice, and in 1997 we became the first manufacturer to offset 100 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions from facility energy use—both the electricity we purchase from our utility and the natural gas we use for fuel. And we continue to do so today. To date, our offsets have eliminated 65,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent of taking 12,000 cars off the road for a year.”

Lisa went on to say, “At Stonyfield Farm, we felt that The Greensburg Wind Farm was an inspiring example of a community coming together to create a clean energy future. Truly out of the rubble, this project is helping the community build a new future not only for themselves, but contributing to a better future for us all. If Stonyfield’s support helps enable that to happen, we’re thrilled to be part of it.” 

On offsetting in general, Lisa says, “We are convinced that the cost is well worth paying, not only for the good it does for the Earth and communities, but also to help demonstrate to all our yogurt eaters out there that we’re dead serious about being part of the solution.”

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