Leading organic and natural food companies and brands General Mills, Stonyfield Farms Tea are among the winners of the third annual National Co+op Grocers Climate Collaborative Awards.
The Climate Collaborative launched in 2017 as part of an effort to leverage the strength of the $200 billion natural and organic products industry to reverse climate change. National Co+op Grocers (NCG), founded in 1999, is a business services cooperative.
The awards recognize companies, co-ops and individuals nominated by their peers “for their innovative contributions to climate change reduction.” The companies, co-ops and individuals were nominated in at least one of the nine commitment areas identified by the Climate Collaborative as the most essential routes for the natural products industry to take action to reverse climate change.
Outstanding Company Awards
Outpost Natural Foods
Milwaukee, Wis.-based Outpost Natural Foods maintains four locations. Founded in 1970, the chain of coop grocery stores has a new commitment to eliminate their use of petroleum-based single-use plastic in their stores by 2022. Outpost offsets 101 percent of its store electricity use and, in the past year alone, reduced their emissions by 13 percent.
Stonyfield has a new Science Based Target (SBT) to reduce emissions across their operations and value chain 30 percent by 2030. Half of Stonyfield’s emissions come from agriculture, so the company is focusing on helping farmers improve soil health and increase carbon sequestration through the development of an open source online platform their farmers can access to collaborate and share success. Called OpenTEAM (Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management), the platform is projected to potentially help Stonyfield’s farmers sequester up to 1 ton of CO2 per acre—resulting in up to 70,000 tons of CO2 sequestered annually. OpenTEAM will be shared widely with any farmers looking to transition to more climate-friendly soil health practices.
Outstanding Value Chain Awards
“General Mills has made the largest commitment to developing and testing regenerative farming practices made by any company to date,” NCG said. The owner of the organic brands Annie’s, Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen plans to increase soil carbon sequestration rates on over 1 million acres of farmland by 2030.
Hummingbird Wholesale is known for its full line of organic foods, delivered in reusable containers since 2003. The company’s returnable packaging program has resulted in over 125,000 pounds of plastic containers and 93,000 pounds of glass containers reused – a 76 percent return rate overall. Check out Hummingbird Wholesale’s sustainability initiatives.
Imlak’esh Organics sources ingredients from the rainforests of Central America and seeks to restore the region through agroforestry, which involves the growing of perennial crops, like sacha inchi and cacao, underneath the rainforest canopy. Working to transition cooperative farmers in coastal Ecuador to regenerative methods, Imlak’esh pays a regenerative premium – up to 12 percent higher than a fair trade, organic premium – aiming to fund 200 farmers’ transition to regenerative in 2020 and 350 more in 2021. Imlak’esh also partners with the Regen Network to provide blockchain data.
Outstanding Influencer Award
Numi Organic Tea
Since 2011, Numi Organic Tea has offset over 4,000 metric tons of CO2e through renewable projects in India, China and the Amazon and they are currently advancing regenerative agriculture in their growing communities to sequester even more carbon. Co-founder Ahmed Rahim is a co-founder of OSC2, a coalition of leaders from natural product industry and co-founding organization of the Climate Collaborative.