“Stirring it Up” by Green Entrepreneur Gary Hirshberg

For decades Gary Hirshberg has been a true leader of the green business world, producing top notch yogurt that is tasty, healthy for consumers, and good for the environment.  As the Ce-YO of the organic yogurt producer Stonyfield Farm, he has proven that making money and doing the right thing can and do go hand in hand.  For any of the doubters still remaining out there, questioning whether green business works, all they have to do is see what Gary and other’s have done.  The proof is in the yogurt.  The Stonyfield website tells the story of their sustainability efforts: (www.stonyfield.com)

Gary Hirshberg chronicles his journey and the lessons he learned in his book “Stirring It Up”:

http://www.amazon.com/Stirring-Up-Make-Money-World/dp/1401303447

This book is a great read on many levels.  First off, it’s just plain well written, engaging, and a good read.  Second, Gary does not just tell us what the problem us, but shows many examples, himself included, of how entrepreneurs can successfully build businesses that do the right thing for the planet. 

Finally, the lessons he describes are valuable for present and future eco-entrepreneurs. 

For example, Gary emphasizes quality as the key feature of their yogurt.  By never sacrificing quality, and being committed to the environment as well, they created a loyal base of customers who spread the word about their product and kept coming back for more.  He describes this as “the handshake”, reaching out to each consumer and forming a unique link that stays with them, connecting them to the brand.  Having a brand they can believe in helps, one that allows consumers to feel as though they are also part of the story, helping to make the change.  By focusing on their product, and how it is made, Stonyfield does not have to spend the massive sums on advertising that many food products do, decreasing their costs so they can continue to produce a great product rather than cutting corners to spend more on ads.

Which isn’t to say that Stonyfield doesn’t promote themselves - they just find clever and relatively low cost ways to do it, reaching out to their consumers through avenues other than expensive media ads.  Their lids always tell a story, and when money was precious they grabbed attention by bringing camel manure to disc jockeys or by pumping tires to help people save fuel. 

The efforts at Stonyfield, and at the other companies profiled, include waste reduction, using renewable energy, cutting carbon emissions, energy efficiency, using organic material, and many other ways to go green.  Their promotional efforts extend beyond the yogurt they sell to promoting a greener way of doing business and living.

The bottom line is that Gary and the other green entrepreneurs in Stirring It Up have built a variety of businesses in many fields while helping the planet.  And if they have done it, you can too. 

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