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October 22, 2008

News & Opinion: Do you eat Stonyfield Yogurt?

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 4:29 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

GOOD magazine devoted 32 pages to business in their November/December issue. To start the section off is an interview with Gary Hishberg, dairy king, founder of Stonyfield Farm and author of Stirring it Up: How to Make Money and Save the World. Here's a link to the interview.
Also, check out the manifesto Gary wrote for ChangeThis.
This past month we've been working on our yearly magazine, In the Books (our second edition is due out in January!). My research project was on sustainability and business and the business books written about that intersection. One of those books was Stirring it Up.
In the interview, GOOD asks Gary what's the holdup in companies pursuing sustainability? Gary answers that the selling point of sustainability is not "your company is better morally if it's sustainable"; rather it's, your company can be more profitable when it is sustainable. Morality doesn't sell. Increased profits does. As Gary tells it:

We need to shine a very bright light on the inherent un-profitability on depending on non-renewable fuels and conventional agribusiness. Waste is really too expensive now. The concept of waste doesn't even exist in nature. Nevertheless, we've allowed it because it's been cheap. The reality is that all businesses use non-renewable fuels, all businesses generate waste. But waste can be food; waste can be energy. It will have to be for us to have any hope for our children. The idea of waste is a flawed concept. We have to re-engineer our thinking.

In architecture, exists the study of biomimcry. The idea of copying various elements of nature to build stronger (and more varied) structures. Gaudi did this in Barcelona with many of his buildings, churches and parks. In business, understanding nature and copying its lessons is a good starting point to begin re-engineering our thinking about sustainability, as Gary suggests.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.