Gary Hirshberg is president and chief executive officer (or CE-Yo) of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s largest producer of organic yogurt. The New Hampshire company, which began as a small organic farming school, still abides by the original principals on which Gary and others founded it back in 1983: to make a quality product and earn a profit without harming the environment.
One of the company’s five missions is ‘to serve as a model that environmentally and socially responsible businesses can also be profitable’. For example, it was the first US processor to pay dairy-farm suppliers not to use artificial bovine growth hormone (rBGH). This hormone is not allowed per organic standards anyway, and since all of Stonyfield Farm’s line is now organic, it is not simply a choice - it is required for certification. The company also promotes various social issues on its packaging.
Gary spent much of the 1970s pursuing his interest in ecology and the environment. He learned how to build windmills, harnessing wind power for energy, and worked as an environmental education specialist for the US government. For a time, he even ran environmental tours in China. By the early 1980s, he was the executive director of the New Alchemy Institute, a non-profit research centre in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, that published studies on organic farming, aquaculture, and renewable energy sources. ...