The inaugural National Co+op Grocers Climate Collaborative Awards were handed out Wednesday at Natural Products Expo West.
The companies, co-ops and individuals were nominated by their peers for expanding the boundaries of industry practices in at least one of the nine areas identified by the Climate Collaborative as having the most potential to slow—or reverse—climate change. Those nine areas are focused on agriculture (carbon farming), increasing energy efficiency, reducing food waste, eliminating commodity-driven deforestation, reducing the climate impact of packaging, advocating for responsible policies, committing to 100 percent renewable power, reducing short-lived climate pollutant emissions and transportation-related emissions.
Outstanding Company Award winners
- Alter Eco for developing a scalable agroforestry model that regenerates farmland and compensates for carbon emissions within its supply chain.
- Community Food Co-op in Washington for improving energy efficiency in a retail grocery setting and fostering resilient, regenerative farming communities.
- Organic Valley for its innovative community solar program that will help Wisconsin increase residents’ solar energy use by 15 percent.
- Veritable Vegetable for its comprehensive and successful approach to reducing emissions throughout its fleet and warehouses.
Outstanding Value Chain Engagement Award winners
- Guayaki for producing more energy than its operations consume and maintaining a carbon-positive footprint for 22 years and counting.
- Lotus Foods for developing a model for—and educating their supply chain and customers about—the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) ecological rice production method.
Outstanding Influencer Award winners
- Albert Straus, founder of Straus Family Creamery, for his leadership in developing a long-term vision for carbon-positive organic dairy farming, including the first full-scale electric truck powered by cow manure.
- Clif Bar & Co. for its wide-ranging climate leadership, and particularly, for endowing the first domestic land-grant university chairs for organic research and providing renewable energy consulting to supply chain partners.
The awards are designed to inspire the natural and organic products industry to work together to reduce emissions through the Climate Collaborative. Since it launched in March 2017, over 200 companies have made more than 700 commitments to climate action.
“Part of the challenge that we embrace through our audacious mission to change how rice is grown around the world is how to approach problems with a fresh perspective to drive better solutions," said Caryl Levine and Ken Lee, co-founders and co-CEOs of Lotus Foods. "Holding ourselves accountable to our environmental commitments as part of the Climate Collaborative is one more way we are pushing ourselves to focus on the positive impact we can have on our growers, consumers and the planet.”
In addition to the award winners, National Co+op Grocers and Climate Collaborative named 10 finalists, selected from more than 40 applications, honored for their continued efforts and positive contributions.
Outstanding Company finalists
- Annie’s Homegrown
- Gaia Herbs
- Nature’s Path
- Organic India
- Outpost Natural Foods Co-op
Outstanding Value Chain Engagement finalists
- Happy Family Brands
Outstanding Influencer finalists
- Annie’s Homegrown
- David Bronner, Cosmic Engagement Officer, Dr. Bronner’s
The Sustainable Food Trade Association—a convening partner of the Climate Collaborative alongside OSC2—determined the finalists. A panel of judges that included Carlotta Mast of New Hope Network, Lara Dickinson of OSC2, Sheila Ongie of National Co+op Grocers, Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank and Catherine Greener of Xanterra selected the winners.