NEW YORK - December 4, 2007 - Fast Company magazine announced today that Organic Valley, the nation's largest organic farmers cooperative, is a recipient of the fifth annual Social Capitalist Awards.
This year's awards feature 45 organizations that use the tools of business to solve the world’s most pressing social problems - ranging from poor healthcare in developing nations to unequal education access, homelessness, unemployment and substance abuse in the United States – and who have demonstrated a consistent and unusually large impact on society.
"We're honored to celebrate this Social Capitalist award among so many forward-thinking organizations leveraging their energy and capital to create social change," said George Siemon, CEO for Organic Valley. "This award comes at a great time for Organic Valley, as our cooperative prepares to celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2008, and reflect on our growth from seven farmers in 1988 to nearly 1,200 farmer members today. The social aspects of a conscious consumer and the value of a family farm culture is the foundation of our cooperative."
Organic Valley was selected as one of this year's Social Capitalist Award recipients for its sustainable approach to agriculture, which has helped family farms and rural communities survive. Today, Organic Valley is one of the largest organic brands in the nation, but despite its growth, remains true to its roots and mission: to build a model that is sustainable for the environment; economically sustainable for family farms; and based on values that evolve as the co-op's awareness grows. As part of this model, the family farmer members elect a farmer board that sets a stable, sustainable pay price for the membership. Being farmer-owned and independent has kept Organic Valley at the heart of the organic revolution and allowed the co-op to remain true to its original mission of keeping family farmers farming.
For five years, Fast Company has partnered with global consulting firm Monitor Group to identify, evaluate and celebrate top-performing nonprofit organizations. The Awards assess social entrepreneurial organizations of different sizes and ages across social sectors as an explicit effort to further performance measurement and accountability in the social sector in a highly rigorous, data driven, comparative approach.
Organizations are rated on five critical components: social impact, entrepreneurship, innovation, aspiration and growth, and sustainability, based on an application that included two years of operating and audited financial data, a statement of mission and objectives, and answers to a survey to assess strategy and activities. Winners were selected by an independent advisory board of sector experts.
"This year we've seen an explosion of diverse experiments, many of them engineered by onetime Wall Street heavies, that attempt to bring new capital - and capital-market dynamics - to the realm of social good," said Fast Company Contributing Writer Keith Hammonds. "Through these deals, social entrepreneurs and businesses are raising the stakes, creating both business and social impact, and changing old-style capitalism as we know it."
The winners are featured in Fast Company's December/January 2008 issue (on newsstands Dec. 4 - Jan. 22, 2008) and will be recognized at a ceremony at the Westin Washington D.C. City Center on Jan. 8, 2008.
Complete information on this year's Social Capitalist Awards winners, including expanded profiles and links that let visitors make donations to the groups they find most compelling, can be found online at www.fastcompany.com.
About Organic Valley Family of Farms
Organic Valley is America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,170 farmers in 32 states and one Canadian province, and achieved $334 million in 2006 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces more than 200 organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.com and the cooperative's farmers' website, www.farmers.coop.
About Fast Company magazine
Founded in 1996 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, LLC, award-winning Fast Company magazine (www.FastCompany.com) covers the ideas, trends and visionaries that are sparking change and creating the future of business. With a total paid circulation of 746,161, Fast Company explores the profound innovation, creative breakthroughs, best and "next" practices that are driving the business world.
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