National Co+op Grocers announces Climate Collaborative Awards

A chain of co-operative grocery stores in the Milwaukee area is among the winners

National Co+op Grocers (NCG), a US co-operative owned by food co-ops, announced the winners of its annual Climate Awards, for initiatives that contribute to tackling climate change.

In the Outstanding Company category the winners were Outpost Natural Foods and Stonyfield Organic. A chain of community grocery stores in the Milwaukee area, Outpost Natural Foods is owned by 23,000 members, who are local residents. The co-op has committed to eliminating the use of petroleum-based single-use plastic in its stores by 2022, working with the Plastic-free Milwaukee Coalition and Wisconsin state government. In addition to its efforts to reduce plastic waste, the co-op also offsets 101% of its store electricity use and, in the past year alone, reduced its emissions by 13%.

With half of its emissions coming from agriculture, Stonyfield Organic is helping farmers improve soil health and increase carbon sequestration through the development of an open source online platform their farmers can access to collaborate and share success. The business is also sharing its Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management platform with any farmers wishing to adopt more climate-friendly soil health practices.

The Outstanding Value Chain Awards category features three winners: General Mills, Hummingbird Wholesale and Imlak’esh Organics. Just like Stonyfield Organic, these are not co-ops; but they help co-ops in agriculture adopt environmentally friendly practices.

General Mills has been developing and testing regenerative farming practices and plans to increase soil carbon sequestration rates on over 1 million acres of farmland by 2030. Similarly, Imlak’esh Organics helps farmers in Ecuador and their co-op to transition to regenerative methods. The company pays them a regenerative premium which is up to 12% higher than a Fairtrade, organic premium, in order to fund 200 farmers’ transition to regenerative farming in 2020, and 350 more in 2021. 

Hummingbird Wholesale produces wildflower honey, which it delivers by bicycle in completely reusable packaging. The company runs a returnable packaging programme, which has resulted in over 125,000lbs of plastic containers and 93,000lbs of glass containers reused. Its products can be found in a number of US co-op retailers.

The Outstanding Influencer Award went to Ahmed Rahim and Reem Hassani, co-founders of Numi Organic Tea. Since 2011 the company, which works with Fairtrade-certified tea co-operatives, has offset over 4,000 metric tons of CO2e through renewable projects in India, China and the Amazon.

The awards are run in partnership with Climate Collaborative, a coalition of companies with a shared goal of climate action of which NCG is a pioneering supporter.

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