Monday, February 4, 2008

Monday's Green Books Series: Stirring It Up

Today on our Monday's green books series, I have the pleasure of introducing a new book written by one of my role models in the field of green business: Gary Hirshberg, CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm.

Our book for today is:

Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World

Author: Gary Hirshberg

Gary Hirshberg is the Chairman, President and CEO (or CE-YO as he calls it) of Stonyfield Farm, the leading manufacturer of all-natural and organic yogurt in the US. For the past 25 years, Gary has overseen Stonyfield Farm's phenomenal growth, from its infancy as a 7-cow organic farming school in 1983 to its current $330 million in annual sales.

In 2001, Stonyfield Farm entered into a partnership with Groupe Danone, and in 2005, Gary was named Managing Director of Stonyfield Europe, a joint venture between the two firms with brands in Ireland, the UK and France with more in development.

In the early days of the company, Gary wore many hats - from yogurt maker to bookkeeper. He even doubled as Director of the Rural Education Center, the small organic farming school from which Stonyfield was spawned. Prior to Stonyfield, Gary served as the Executive Director of The New Alchemy Institute, an ecological institute devoted to organic agriculture, aquaculture and renewable energy systems.

Gary has won numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership such as the 1999 Global Green USA's Green Cross Millennium Award, inspired by Mikhail S. Gorbachev, for Corporate Environmental Leadership. Gary was named Business NH Magazine's "Business Leader of the Year" and the U.S. Small Business Administration's "NH's 1998 Small Business Person of the Year ".


Published in: January 2008

What it is about (from the
publisher's website): A true force for change, Gary Hirshberg has been at the forefront of movements working for environmental and social transformation for 30 years. From his early days as an educator and activist to his current position as President and CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s largest organic yogurt company, Hirshberg’s positive outlook has inspired thousands of people to recognize their ability to make the world a better place.

In Stirring it Up, Hirshberg calls on individuals to realize their power to effect change in the marketplace – “the power of one” – while proving that environmental commitment makes for a healthier planet and a healthier bottom line. Drawing from his 25 years’ experience growing Stonyfield Farm from a 7-cow start-up, as well as the examples of like-minded companies, such as Newman’s Own, Patagonia, Wal-Mart and Timberland, Hirshberg presents stunning evidence that business not only can save the planet, but is able to simultaneously deliver higher growth and superior profits as well.

Hirshberg illustrates his points with practical information and advice, as well as engaging anecdotes from what he calls ‘the bad old days’ of his yogurt company: how a power outage left him milking cows by hand, how a dumpster fire revealed the need for better packaging, and his camel manure taste test challenge to a local shock jock.

He also describes hands-on grassroots marketing strategies - printing yogurt lids with provocative, politically charged messages, handing out thousands of free samples to subway commuters to thank them for using public transit, and devising the country’s first organic vending machine - explaining how these approaches make a much more powerful impact on consumers than traditional advertising.

Why you should get it:
1. Hirshberg is one of the best teachers to learn from about almost every aspect of green business: vision, leadership, marketing, entrepreneurship, how to successfully compete with 'regular' big companies operating in your field, and more.

One of these interesting lessons is the unique relationship he established with Danone, which bought 80% of Stonyfield Farm, to keep the Stonyfield's original green spirit. Even though Danone own the Stonyfield, they left Hirshberg the control of the board and he also maintains unique programs like Stonyfield's
Profits for the Planet that gives 10% of company profits to organizations "that help protect and restore the environment."

2. The book is eco-friendly - firstly, it is printed on 100% post-consumer waste fiber (both text and jacket) and hence saving 67 trees (way to go!), 28,769 gallons of water, 49 million BTUS, 3,209 pounds of solid waste and 6,322 pounds of greenhouse gases.

Also, Through a partnership with
Native Energy, a privately held energy company, the estimated global warming gas emissions resulting from the production of the book and audio CD are being offset by an investment in a manure digester at the Wanner Family Dairy Farm in Narvon, Pennsylvania.

3. This book is not only about green biz lessons, but also a great story about Hirshberg's 25-year journey with Stonyfield.

What others say on the book:
"Gary Hirshberg has seen the future and it is green! Read how he did it, and follow his every word!" (Laurie David)

"Gary Hirshberg is the real deal. He not only talks sustainability, he does sustainability. Now, in Stirring It Up, he shares with great clarity both his wisdom and his penchant for action. Read and be stirred to take your own action." (Ray C. Anderson, Founder and Chair, Interface, Inc.)

If you want to get to learn more about Hirshberg and the book, you are welcome to listen or read the interview that Joel Makower had with him on
GreenBiz Radio.

Enjoy the book (here's a
list of online sources where you can purchase it), and if you're looking for the full list of green books reviewed and presented on our blog, check out our green books page.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: plant a tree for every book you read!