Chairman, President and CE-YO
Stonyfield Farm, Inc.
We are in the business, for sure, to make a profit, but we are in the business to do far more than simply attain a positive financial goal. We are in the business to change the world.
Gary Hirshberg, “Profits with a Conscience,” Leader to Leader, Winter 2002.
Gary Hirshberg is chairman, president and CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s largest manufacturer of organic yogurt. The environmentally conscious company started in 1983 with seven Jersey cows, founder Samuel Kaymen’s yogurt recipe, and Hirshberg’s energy and foresight. In 2005, Stonyfield Farm reached $210 million in annual sales and ranked the #3 yogurt in the nation. Each year it gives away 10 percent of its profits to organizations and projects that work to protect and restore the earth. Hirshberg is also the founder and Chairman of O’Naturals, Inc., an organic and natural fast food chain. In 2005, he also created Stonyfield Europe, a new joint venture between Stonyfield U.S. and Groupe Danone, and he is the Managing Director of this new firm. Hirshberg has become a role model for values-based and socially responsible organizations that can still be profitable.
Hirshberg, who grew up in New Hampshire, the home state of Stonyfield Farm, first found work as executive director, writer and water pumping windmill specialist at the New Alchemy Institute, a leader in the study of organic agriculture. Later, Hirshberg became director of The Rural Education Center (TREC), a nonprofit that promoted organic farming, founded by Kaymen and his wife in Wilton, N.H. It was in 1983 that Kaymen and Hirshberg made their first 50-gallon batch of yogurt. Today Stonyfield Farm sells over 30 million cases of yogurt a year and employs 350 people.
Hirshberg’s vision to “make the world a better place to live, work, and breathe” has been instrumental in shaping the environmental and social mission of Stonyfield Farm, which includes making products that are healthy for the individual and for the planet, sourcing from family farmers, and closing the gaps between people and their food system. Hirshberg’s understanding of both environmentalists and business executives makes him a prominent speaker on the future of business and agriculture in America.
Stonyfield Farm has won numerous awards, including: The Robert Rodale Environmental Achievement Award for personifying the quest for better public health and heightened environmental responsibility; National Award for Sustainability in the Category of Atmosphere and Climate from the President’s Council on Sustainable Development and Renew America; Climate Wise Achievement Award, from the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Corporate Environmental Steward Award from the Council on Economic Priorities.
Hirshberg has received five honorary doctorates and has won numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership. He serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards of organizations involved in organics, and he founded the Social Venture Institute, which educates other community-minded entrepreneurs.
"It is with a monumental dose of humility that since 1983 I have dedicated my life to building a business that can change the world. The greatest—and probably, only—hope that our children will enjoy a healthy, livable planet lies with business. If the nation’s and planet’s business communities don’t embrace the goal of a sustainable earth, it will never happen."
Gary Hirshberg, “Profits with a Conscience,” Leader to Leader, Winter 2002