SVN Honours Most Influential Green Businesses

SVN Honours Most Influential Green Businesses

25 members to be recognized at gala celebration Nov. 13 in New York City

The Social Venture Network (SVN) has announced its second round of Hall of Fame honourees as part of its 25-year anniversary celebrations, recognizing five of its members for setting the bar on sustainability while building industry-leading companies.

Hailed as “environmental evangelists” the inductees are Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Farm; George Siemon, founding farmer of Organic Valley; Myra & Drew Goodman, co-founders of Earthbound Farm and Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder of Seventh Generation.

SVN executive director Deb Nelson says the winners prove that businesses would be more responsible and successful if they focused on a triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit.

Each of the awardees have created enterprise of over $50 million in annual revenue, and in doing so helped sow the seeds for the modern organic food and sustainable business movements.

It was 1983 when Hirshberg started his now international yogurt company Stonyfield Farm as a means to fund a farming school teaching sustainable agricultural practices. The yogurt became so popular Hirshberg and co-founder Samuel Kaymen realized that a successful yogurt company could make a bigger difference for family farms and the environment than the school.

Stonyfield Farm now supports hundreds of family farms, keeping over 200,000 agricultural acres free of persistent pesticides and other chemicals commonly used on nonorganic farms. The company was the first U.S. manufacturer to offset 100 percent of its carbon-dioxide emissions from its manufacturing facility and its Profits for the Planet (PFP) program has gifted $15 million to support thousands of organizations caring for the earth.

When founding farmer of Organic Valley Siemon saw the extinction of family farms in Southwestern Wisconsin, he called upon his neighbor farmers to form a co-op dedicated to a new, sustainable approach to agriculture. Not only did the brand they create, Organic Valley, become the No. 1 source of organic milk in America, the co-op bases every decision on the health and welfare of people, animals, and the earth.

Earthbound Farm was created from Myra and Drew’s passion for preserving California’s Carmel Valley. The 27-year-old company has grown to be the largest grower of organic produce and is committed to being a catalyst for positive change.

In 2012 alone, Earthbound’s organic farming operations, set on nearly 40,000 acres, will keep over 14 million pounds of synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides out of the environment, absorb the equivalent carbon dioxide of taking more than 9,200 cars off the road annually, and save 74,165 gallons of water by using 100 percent recycled plastics (PCR PET) for packaging.

Earthbound Farm funds academic scholarships for the next generation of environmentalists, delivers farm-fresh organic products to local schools, supports local food banks, and each month gives to an employee nominated charity.

When Hollender created Seventh Generation in 1988, he was driven to deliver healthy solutions for the air, surfaces, fabrics, pets, and people within each home — and for the community and environment outside of it.

Under Hollender’s leadership the company’s has gleaned its way to become the nation’s leading brand of household and personal care products that help protect human health and the environment.

Environmental Evangelists is the second category of Hall of Fame inductees to be announced in addition to Workplace Champions. SVN is announcing its Hall of Fame winners in stages building up to the final awards ceremony were all winners will be present held at Gotham Hall in New York City Nov. 13, 2012.

For more updates on the SVN Hall of Fame celebration or to buy tickets, click here.

Axiom News provides Stakeholder News to SVN. A version of this article originally appeared at

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Camille Jensen's picture
Camille Jensen

Camille Jensen is an employee share ownership consultant with ESOP Builders, Canada’s largest provider of employee share ownership plans (ESOPs) for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Prior to joining ESOP Builders, Camille was a generative journalist and team member at Axiom News. She credits her time at Axiom as fundamental to her understanding that business is one of the best opportunities to make a difference in the world.

Camille is a B.C. Partner for Social Impact and volunteer with Okanagan Changemakers.

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