Stonyfield Team Cheering In Front Of Plant

 

Stonyfield has always been committed to a Healthy Planet and that compels us to address climate change.  As an organic food company, we’re close to our supply chain, and we know that food and farmers are on the front lines of climate change impacts.  There is near global consensus on the urgency for action.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international group of scientists convened by the United Nations, reported this week on the urgent need to prevent further degradation of land by humans, and emphasized that agriculture and the food system are key to global climate change response.  Here at Stonyfield, we are taking action that is right for our business, our employees, the farmers we rely on, our consumers, and the world.

Addressing climate change by transitioning to a low carbon economy is an opportunity – one that will make us a stronger, more resilient and innovative business.   We can improve efficiency and drive cost savings.  We will reduce risk by transitioning away from fossil fuels and their volatility.  We can improve farmer viability through soil health and carbon markets.  We can inspire and empower employees through a shared vision.  In doing so, we also hope to inspire consumers and exceed their expectations for how business can contribute to solving the climate change challenge.  So really, the question is why not?

Our New Commitment

 We Are Still In Logo

In 2017 after the announcement that the U.S. would be pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Stonyfield joined with thousands of others to say “We Are Still In”.  In 2018, we dug deeper into measuring our carbon footprint, advocated for clean energy policy in DC and our home state of New Hampshire, and developed a partnership with organic dairy and educational farm, Wolfes Neck Farm to advance technologies that will enable farmers to measure and reduce emissions and build soil health while sequestering carbon. More than half of Stonyfield’s greenhouse gas emissions are associated with agriculture and our new project called OpenTEAM will help us turn that around so that farmers can be part of the solution.

Now Stonyfield has announced that we have made a commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of our operations and supply chain by 30% by 2030, even while we continue to grow.   Our goal has been validated by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) to be consistent with reductions required to keep global warming to 2°C, the key objective in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Science Based Targets Logo

A 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is no joke. Our actions must meet the scale of response needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the point where we stabilize Earth’s climate.  Stonyfield is proud to be among a small group of global business leaders who have committed to a science-based target. Fifty U.S. businesses have targets validated by SBTi and we need many more to step up to plate.  SBTI aims to make science-based target setting standard business practice and if successful, corporations around the globe will be fully committed to playing a major role in addressing climate change.

Farther, Together

We know we can’t achieve this feat alone.   We’re working with coalitions of other businesses to raise the bar on sustainability and climate including the Ceres Policy Network, known as Businesses for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (NHBSR), B Corps, and the Climate Collaborative.

We invite businesses and organizations of all kinds to answer the call and see the unique opportunities they have to transition to a low carbon future. You can even start carbon farming in your own backyard! Planting gardens and trees can help draw carbon out of the atmosphere and into the soil. Check out our tips on healthier lawns and gardens.

Together, we can solve climate change and create a healthier, safer, cleaner world.

At Stonyfield, we’ve been concerned about climate change for 35 years. Our co-founder, Gary Hirshberg, studied climate change in college in the late 1970s and it was a main motivation for him in joining the New Alchemy Institute after college to advance renewable energy, as well as the board of the Rural Education Center that ultimately grew to become Stonyfield. So it’s in our roots, our bones, our DNA to care about our impacts and to act on climate.

To learn more about the steps we’ve taken to improve sustainability, click here.

The announcement earlier this year that the United States would be pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement was and still is devastating. The historic Paris agreement was more than 20 years in the making; a very hard fought win after two decades of stalemate. It is the result of a unique moment when the world came together in unanimous fashion to envision a new future for our global population.

Many of the people most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are not on our shores, but in other parts of the world where the very poor struggle to survive and climate change is compounding existing challenges. And farmers, both nearby and around the world, are facing increasing pressure from insect pests, increased extreme precipitation events and drought among other consequences of climate change.

But at Stonyfield, we are optimists by nature. We think about the future and challenge ourselves to do better for our consumers, our employees, our suppliers, our communities and the Earth. We were the first US manufacturer to offset the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the energy use of our manufacturing. We built the largest solar electricity system in our state in 2005. We were the first dairy company to use plant-based packaging. And today, we’re joining with hundreds of other U.S. businesses, investors, cities, states and universities in telling the World that we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.

We’re still in!

While we disagree with the direction the current administration is taking, we see hope and opportunity in many other directions. US businesses have been increasing commitments to developing new renewable energy projects in record setting numbers. 40 members of Congress, including 20 Republicans, have joined the Climate Solutions Caucus. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets to march for climate, including many of our own employees!

And farmers have many tools at their disposal to reduce emissions through improving soil health and increasing carbon sequestration in their soils. Organic farmers, who already focus on soil health, are uniquely well positioned to help create a future where carbon is a net sink, instead of a net source, of GHG emissions.

At Stonyfield, we are actively developing solutions to assist farmers with increasing their soil carbon sequestration to both reduce their impact and create new sources of income.

Our country, and our global community, has a great opportunity to respond to climate change through innovation, and we’re so excited to see that many businesses, cities, and organizations are already doing so. Those who came before us were innovators. Our ancestors found great agricultural and industrial opportunities and efficiency gains from the use of fossil fuels but didn’t understand their consequences. But now we know.

The question remains open: What will we do with this knowledge? Instead of being shackled to 20th century fuels, infrastructure and farming methods, we’re helping build a new world. We will continue to move forward. Stay tuned……

And you? What are some easy ways to fight climate change as an individual or family?

We like this full list – but here are four easy ways to fight climate change on your own:

  1. Reduce emissions: walk, bike, or take public transportation when you can!
  2. Be thoughtful at home: never leave appliances on standby. When you can, adjust your home temperature by just 1-2 degrees. You may not notice a big difference and doing so will save energy.
  3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. In that order.
  4. Eat locally when you can, and visit your farmers market to consumer what is in season.