START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

It Pays To Be Sustainable

It Pays To Be Sustainable

 

Note: In honor of Social Venture Network’s 25-year anniversary, the network is inducting 25 of its most innovative and influential leaders into its hall of fame Nov. 13 at Gotham Hall in New York City. To recognize these sustainable business pioneers, SVN’s news program, ‘Sustainable Solutions,’ is interviewing the hall-of-famers to celebrate their accomplishments and learn what more needs to be done. Read the whole series here.

It’s a credo business is embracing, and one Social Venture Network (SVN) member George Siemon helped pioneer: sustainability pays.

The founding farmer of Organic Valley, a farmer-owned co-op, is being recognized with a SVN Hall of Fame Impact Award as an environmental evangelist, proving that respecting the environment can also be good for business. Siemon shares some of the trends he’s seeing in socially-responsible business and what more can be done.

“With respect to the environment, people are realizing that doing things right the first time or (what we call) sustainability are all financially, economically viable. It’s the right path, sustainability pays,” says Siemon.

“Hiding from an environmental cost that’s going to come back and get you later, it used to be the school of thought, but now people are realizing we just need to deal with everything as it happens, and we need to be transparent.

“It’s not just doing it because it’s the right thing, it’s an economic model,” he adds.

This is something Siemon can attest to. Since founding Organic Valley in 1988, the farmer-owned and operated co-operative has grown to represent 1,723 farmers in 35 states and three Canadian provinces. It’s the largest organic farmer-owned co-operative in North America, the No. 1 organic milk producer in the U.S,  and it has achieved $715 million in 2011 sales.

Crucial to Organic Valley’s success has been its business model, says Siemon. The farmer-owned co-op makes decisions democratically based on the interests of family-owned farms, their communities and the planet.

“A co-op is uniquely focused on serving their mission and serving the community, so it’s quite a different model,” he says.

When asked about his greatest hope for the socially-responsible business sector, Siemon says it’s seeing greater uptake of the co-op model. He says 2012 is International Year of Co-operatives, and as a result he’d like to see greater embracing, respect and engagement for a model that offers an alternative to business as usual.

While many business leaders focus on making a lot of money, Siemon says the co-op structure is also a more equitable option.

“The co-op structure is a little bit of a contrary to the concept of the big payout, it’s an opposite thing,” he says.

“People would see that making millions of dollars is a handy thing but maybe making one million is enough.”

This article written by Axiom News is part of a Social Venture Network series engaging its Hall of Fame honorees.

 

Related Stories:

Using Business for Environmental Change

From the Field: Keeping Farms Green and Growing with Cover Crops

Genetic Engineers Blast GM Crops

 

Read more: , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

37 comments

+ add your own
10:22AM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

thank you!

4:50AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

something to think about

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSsOw9Gc84c

10:52AM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

it shows economy and ecology can stay together. thanks Mr. siemon

9:34AM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

Thanks,,,,

5:23AM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

Thanks

5:39PM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Thank you Mr. Siemon for making a difference!

4:53AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

It's a good thing when someone can identify when enough is enough and be happy with their decision.

1:40AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Thanks!!

11:55AM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

thanks

10:45AM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

Thank you!

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

so we get to sit back and watch the games and B S flow again for another couple of years . all I can…

Fabulous news! Wouldn't it be great if the good news stories about the environment outnumbered the bad…

Thank you for saving these beautiful beings from the savagery of the human race.

ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.