Britt Lundgren, Senior Director of Sustainability and Government Affairs at Stonyfield, discusses the company’s commitment to addressing climate change and its efforts to reduce carbon emissions, transition to renewable energy, and improve packaging sustainability. Britt also highlights Stonyfield’s support for farmers affected by flooding and the positive impact of organic farming on flood resilience.
The conversation explores the transition to organic dairy farming, Stonyfield’s commitment to B Corp, the value of the B Corp community, and appreciation for the B Corp community.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([00:00].37)
your full noun, full name, your pronouns, and then the company you work at and the position that you would like us to put into your intro.
Britt Lundgren ([00:12].229)
Sure, I’m Britt Lundgren. My pronouns are she, her. I’m with Stonyfield and I’m the Senior Director of Sustainability and Government Affairs.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([00:22].83)
awesome. And when I write your intro and record it, I will send it to you so you can proof it before it goes live. But I’ll use that in your intro. Okay, so then this will be the episode. Welcome, Britt, to the Responsibly Different podcast. I’m so excited to have a fellow Britt on the podcast. Yeah, so Britt, for our audience, why don’t you
Britt Lundgren ([00:45].834)
Thank you. I’m excited to be here.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([00:52].526)
Tell us a little bit about yourself. And I’m particularly interested to hear, maybe what’s a personal passion of yours that isn’t widely known? And I guess, is that passion connected or influenced by your work?
Britt Lundgren ([01:06].825)
Yeah, sure. I have a lot of things that keep me busy outside of work. I play the violin, I’m in a band, we play like old time Americana music and it’s a ton of fun, kind of keeps me going and gives my brain something else to do. But a thing that I’ll share that I’ve gotten into more recently is mushroom foraging.
I’ve always spent a ton of time out in the woods, but in recent years, you know, with climate change, for better or worse, we sometimes have these really rainy summers. And when that happens, like the mushrooms just kind of explode everywhere in the woods. And that happened maybe it was like 2019 or 2018. And it’s happened. It happened again.
this year and it really has piqued my curiosity about what’s growing out there. And so I’ve started studying and expanding my knowledge of what I can identify and what I can eat and going for walks with people who know way more than I do on this subject. And it’s just been a really fun way to get out in the woods in a different way, kind of slow down and observe nature in a different way.
I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. And as a side benefit, if you’re lucky, you find something really tasty to eat too.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([02:33].622)
That’s so cool, wow. I’ve always kind of thought about wanting to understand mushrooms a little bit more, so that’s cool that you’re pursuing that passion, but I love what you said about how it’s teaching you to kind of slow down in nature and like, re-appreciate something that has always been there. So that’s really fun. I’m happy for you and that’s cool. Thanks for sharing that. Okay, so Britt, you are at Stonyfield, and let’s…
Britt Lundgren ([02:56].258)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([03:02].97)
maybe back up and say, what is Stonyfield? Some of our listeners might not be already familiar with you. So what key aspects or values would you like our listeners to understand about Stonyfield’s identity and mission?
Britt Lundgren ([03:19].085)
Yeah, well, Stonyfield just at the very basic level, we’re an organic yogurt company. Stonyfield was founded back in 1983 as an organic farming school in Wilton, New Hampshire. So not too far from where we’re headquartered today. And at that point in time, making yogurt was just a way to bring in some extra money for the business. So Samuel Kamen, our co-founder.
was experimenting with fermenting different things in his kitchen and he was making yogurt and kimchi and beer and lots of things that like most people were not making at home in 1983. And for whatever reason, he and Gary decided, Gary Hirschberger, other co-founder, they decided that yogurt maybe had the most commercial potential out of all of those things. And so they decided to start selling it and the rest is history.
It took a long time for their business venture to be successful, but I think pretty early on, they made the decision that the business was going to be able to have a bigger impact on the world than they ever could just teaching people how to be organic farmers. And so they left the farming school behind and focused on the yogurt business. And that…
Initial mission focus is still really with us as a business today. So we have grown a lot since those early days. And in many cases, you know, when you look at the business world and companies grow, they change and sometimes they move away from what it was that originally animated them as a business. But for Stonyfield.
That mission has always been really core to who we are and it has become a part of our identity as a brand. And I think that a lot of people love Stonyfield for that mission commitment and are still loyal to our brand today because of that mission commitment. And so it’s always been very important to us to make sure that we’re doing the work to keep that mission alive and keep.
Britt Lundgren ([05:26].061)
taking action on climate and making farming more sustainable and all the things that make us unique as a business.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([05:34].102)
Mm. And I love I love kind of what you said right there at the end, too, because to me, like, I really only use Stonyfield or sorry, I only think of Stonyfield as a yogurt company when like really you are so much more than just a yogurt company. And I’m excited to kind of dig into that a little bit, too. Like, like, what else are you all doing that people can connect with and learn from? So.
I mean, with that, let’s dive right in. And I feel like one thing that I’ve learned to really appreciate about Stonyfield is you all have a really strong dedication to addressing climate change. And I’m wondering with your role, could you maybe share some insights into how the company believes that climate change is urgent and how the urgent factor is informing some of your values and actions that you’re taking today?
Britt Lundgren ([06:31].969)
Yeah, this is another place where I feel really fortunate to be at a company like Stonyfield, where our co-founders understood that climate change was real back in the 80s. I think there are many businesses that have more recently realized that climate change is something that’s going to be impacting them and their future. And it’s something that they need to take action on. And I think it’s great that we see a lot more businesses stepping up to take action today. But
For Stonyfield, this has been something that we’ve been methodically working on over the years. Back in the 90s, Stonyfield was the first company to offset all of our energy emissions from our manufacturing facility, which is in New Hampshire. And at the time, we had to figure out how offsets might work and how you would do this. And the folks at Stonyfield who led this work actually ended up
collaborating with Union of Concerned Scientists to write a guide for other companies on how to offset their emissions. And today it feels kind of quaint to tell this story because offsets are like, they’re subject of so much questioning and criticism now, right? People wanna know like, well, can you really trust that you’re gonna get those emissions reductions if you buy an offset? But like back at that point in time, it was a really innovative move. And so we’ve tried a lot of things over the years and I think it’s given us.
In some ways, it’s given us a lot of room to experiment. And we’ve learned a lot along the way. But I think we’ve also become a lot more sophisticated over the years in how we approach reducing our emissions. And we’ve gone on to do things like setting a science-based target and really focusing on how we get at emissions reductions across all the different areas of our own activities so that we can really make concrete real reductions. But.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([08:01].245)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([08:22].911)
Britt Lundgren ([08:27].845)
I think our action over the years has always been driven in part just by a general concern that this is like a thing that all businesses need to do to step up and be a part of creating a future that we all want to live in. So there’s always been that mission orientation. But today, for better or worse, we also see these impacts in our supply chains as a business. So we see climate change.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([08:53].291)
Britt Lundgren ([08:55].161)
having an impact on agriculture. I don’t think you can name a single crop that’s being grown in the world and not be able to point to a way in which climate change is impacting production today. And frankly, it’s a little bit scary, right? There’s a lot of instability that could happen in our food supply in the future if we don’t take action on climate. And so as a food company today, I think if you are thinking,
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([09:12].338)
Britt Lundgren ([09:24].161)
you know, 10, 20 years into the future, you have to be thinking about how you’re taking action on climate change because climate change is going to be taking action on your supply chain.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([09:36].018)
Yeah, very well said. I shouldn’t laugh. It’s not funny, but it’s very, like sometimes it’s just so cut and dry and you’re very right to say that you can’t, there’s no food that exists out there that isn’t being affected and I do, I do see this urgent commitment that you all have made and it’s
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([10:06].23)
it’s honorable to see that you guys are making it such a driving force in your everyday decisions. And with that, I guess I want to a little bit dive into the commitments that you all have made and how you’re pushing these out in your marketing and on social media, which I’ve seen. So let me just read the commitments that you all have made and then…
I would love to take a moment to actually dive into each one of the commitments. And for you just to share and elaborate for us, like maybe what already has been done or what you’re hoping to do and where the commitment stands. So I’ll read them off. I’ll read all of them right now just so everybody can hear them. And then we’ll go back and dive into each one. So the first one is working towards having all packaging be entirely made of recycled content.
or bio-based content by 2030. The second one is 30% reduction in your carbon emissions by 2030. The third one is 100% renewable electricity for your dairy supply chain by 2025. The fourth one is carbon positive dairy supply chain by 2030. And the fifth one is 100% renewable electricity.
for your Londonderry, New Hampshire manufacturing facility by 2025 by supporting the construction and operation of seven solar arrays in purchasing of wrecks. Okay, so let’s just go back up to the top and work our way through them. So working towards having all packaging be entirely made of recycled content or bio-based content by 2030. What does that mean to you and where are you guys at?
Britt Lundgren ([11:57].785)
Yeah, you know, packaging, to be totally honest, is probably our toughest sustainability challenge, right? We are a yogurt company. We sell a food product in a plastic cup. And people are always asking me, like, oh, why don’t you sell it in glass? Like, I would love to buy my yogurt in glass, and then I know I could recycle it. But the hard thing about glass is that it is so heavy.
that it actually ends up being worse from a climate perspective than plastic. So depending on which resource concern you’re managing for glass really doesn’t come out ahead in most analyses. So we have instead chosen to focus on how do we improve the sustainability of our plastic packaging? And in the long run, we think that’s making sure that it’s recyclable and making sure that it is.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([12:33].582)
Britt Lundgren ([12:55].865)
made from recycled content and or bio-based content. We see those as the two most promising avenues. Our first real project on improving packaging sustainability has been with our pouches, which is a really popular format, especially for babies and kids. But if you think about a pouch format, it’s a relatively small serving of yogurt with a, you know,
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([13:15].99)
Britt Lundgren ([13:23].961)
that pouch packaging, which in many cases is multi-layers of different kinds of packaging material, and then a big plastic cap that you screw on the top. And so there’s some big recycling challenges there and some material challenges as well. And so we were fortunate to get a grant from the Dairy Business Innovation Center last year that provided us with some funds to put this project into high gear. And we have transitioned
all of our baby pouch packaging to be what they call mono material. So instead of different layers of different types of plastic and aluminum, it’s now all the same type of mono PE plastic, which means that theoretically it could be recycled if you can get it into a recycling chain. And Toms of Maine has actually done this with their toothpaste tubes recently and we’re following that work really closely because
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([14:11].864)
Britt Lundgren ([14:22].217)
it’s a similar type of package and a similar challenge from a recycling standpoint. They have an advantage in that toothpaste is essentially in the recycling world toothpaste would be categorized as detergent, which means that you could like wash it out, you know, easily in the recycling stream instead of having food on the inside. So there’s still, you know, some leaps to getting to a place where a pouch…
for food would be recyclable in the supply chains we have today, but the first step is just getting it so that the material could be recycled. The other thing that we’ve done with the pouches is we’ve taken plastic out of the cap. So we’ve light-weighted that cap. And together between the switch to mono material and the light-weighting of the cap, we’ve gotten to about a 14% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per pouch.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([15:03].683)
Britt Lundgren ([15:15].397)
from those two changes. So again, it’s not huge, right? Like these are all gonna be incremental steps along the way, but for us, it was the first step towards getting that format to a place where we could feel better about it from a sustainability standpoint. And now that we’ve done that, you know, now we have to look to say, okay, well, what’s next? How do we look at, say, our courts or some of these other bigger product lines where we can reduce the amount of plastic or start switching out materials?
to get to a more sustainable format.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([15:50].014)
Wow, I mean, I’ve never been on the inside of a company the way that you’re describing this like packaging issue, but it is so cool to also know that when I’m buying my Stonyfield yogurt, like you all are putting the thought into the packaging that like you’re putting around the yogurt and that I’m buying every day. So it’s cool to hear that.
that there’s so much thought that goes into this and on all of your products. So thanks for sharing that. It’s kind of fun to see behind the curtain. Okay, so then the next goal that you guys have set is 30% reduction in your carbon emission by 2030.
Britt Lundgren ([16:26].231)
I’m gonna go to bed.
Britt Lundgren ([16:37].485)
Yeah, so that’s our science-based target. The science-based target initiative is a third party verification program where companies work to submit, basically you look at what is your contribution to global warming and then how much would each company need to reduce their contribution in order for us as a world to stay under one and a half degrees warming total. So.
Our science-based contribution to that is a 30% reduction in our emissions by 2030. And underneath that, we’ve had to outline a whole number of strategies that would get us there. So we have strategies on agriculture. Agriculture represents over half of our total emissions profile. So it’s our biggest impact and our biggest area of opportunity. Packaging, energy, waste, and oh my gosh, I’m going to forget.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([17:25].538)
Britt Lundgren ([17:36].1)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([17:37].802)
No, you’re fine. Packaging energy waste.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([17:44].798)
Would is water part of one of those?
Britt Lundgren ([17:49].215)
No, it’s not water.
Oh my God, I say this all the time.
Britt Lundgren ([18:00].334)
waste, energy, packaging.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([18:02].328)
Britt Lundgren ([18:08].182)
Yeah, it might be transportation.
Britt Lundgren ([18:15].205)
Um, should we just go with that? I’m sorry.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([18:18].762)
No, no, you’re fine. You also could just could just I just don’t want you to sound uncertain in the podcast So you could just say it’s packaging energy and waste
Britt Lundgren ([18:25].753)
Right, right. Yeah, okay. Let me, yeah, let’s just go back and do that again. And I’ll just list the ones that I remember and we’ll go from there.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([18:32].278)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([18:36].522)
Yeah, yeah, just say like some of our top three.
Britt Lundgren ([18:39].461)
Okay, so our 30 by 30 target is constructed through the Science Based Target Initiative. And the Science Based Target Initiative requires companies to identify what is their contribution to global warming and how much would they have to reduce their emissions in order to collectively put us on a path to be below one and a half degrees of warming globally.
And so Stonyfield’s contribution to that would be a 30% reduction by 2030. And so with the Science-Based Target Initiative, we have submitted strategies around our areas of biggest emissions. So that’s things like agriculture, which represents over half of our emissions, packaging, energy, and waste are all big areas of focus for us with our Science-Based Target. And…
Britt Lundgren ([19:39].193)
Sorry, we’re gonna have to pause again. So you’re looking for me to just say, what is the 30 by 30, right? Like I couldn’t stop there.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([19:41].774)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([19:47].038)
Yeah, honestly, I think you can stop right there. Because then I think we’re gonna get into energy with the next one.
Britt Lundgren ([19:50].987)
Britt Lundgren ([19:56].028)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([19:57].95)
Okay, awesome. And then your third ambic, ambiguous goal is 100% renewable electricity for your dairy supply chain by 2025. And I gotta say this one is intriguing to me because it’s not just your renewable electricity, you’re saying for your entire dairy supply chain. So talk to me about this one.
Britt Lundgren ([20:26].285)
Yeah, well, when we set our science-based target and we looked at the areas where we could have impact, we also asked ourselves, what are the areas that are going to be meaningful in multiple ways? So one of those was like, what is gonna help improve viability at the farm level? In, when you look at a dairy farms emissions profile, energy emissions only represent like,
4 to 8% of the total emissions on a dairy farm. So they tend to be like a much smaller slice of the overall impact that a dairy farm is going to have on climate change. But when you think about the impact of transitioning a dairy farm to renewable electricity, you’re not just talking about reducing their impact on climate change, but you’re also talking about helping that farm get to a place where they’re not subject to volatility in energy prices.
We know that is, you know, it’s already a concern and something that could become an even bigger concern over time. And so by helping our farms transition to renewable electricity, our hope is that we get to a place where that’s a more financially stable position for them in the long run. So basically what we’ve done there is,
We have made resources available to our farms to make sure that they are connected to different alternatives for how they could become renewably powered. And we’ve then started assisting them with grant writing. So there’s a program that USDA has, for example, called the Renewable Energy for America program, known as REAP. And REAP provides
pretty substantial cost share on installing solar on a farm. And so we wanna make sure that our farms have help in writing that grant application so that it’s really seamless for them to apply for the program and become enrolled. And now with the Inflation Reduction Act, bringing a lot of funding towards advancing renewables, especially in rural America, there’s a lot more money available for our farms to take advantage of. So,
Britt Lundgren ([22:47].661)
We still have quite a ways to go when it comes to actually being successful at this goal, but we are, you know, and it really is a farm by farm process. I think when we initially set this goal, like many years ago, we thought that there might be some like power purchase agreement type solutions where we could sign a whole bunch of farms up to receive electrons from a solar installation that might be offsite.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([22:49].666)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([23:14].402)
Britt Lundgren ([23:15].705)
but because of the sort of jigsaw puzzle of utilities and types of transmission lines. So like, do you have single phase power or three phase power? You know, it’s like all these questions that I just didn’t even understand when we first set this goal, learned a lot, but it makes it so that it really has to be a farm by farm solution. And so we’ve realized the best way is to just like put the tools in the hands of the farmer and help them figure out what’s gonna work.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([23:34].694)
but it makes it so that it really has to be a part of my farm, so it’s a good shift. Yeah.
Britt Lundgren ([23:43].737)
for their operation. And it actually all started with energy efficiency. So every single farm in our direct supply has had a free energy audit, which has provided them with a whole list of recommendations on equipment upgrades that they can make and other actions that they can take on the farm to really help them just lower their overall energy usage before they transition to solar so that then they can maybe need a smaller system when they put that in.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([23:48].693)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([24:09].444)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([24:13].938)
Right, right. It’s all about the three R’s, reduce, reuse and recycle. So you got to reduce the energy before you can totally offset it. So I love that. And I got to say, like going back to my solar energy days, the fact that you all are helping your farmers write grants for the reprograms, like that was a huge barrier for a lot of people. And I know
Britt Lundgren ([24:20].491)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([24:42].618)
the solar company that I was working with, we would always help write those grants as well. But the fact that you all know the ins and outs of the dairy world a little bit better than maybe a solar company can, I’m sure having your help writing those grants is doing a lot for the community. So it’s really cool to just keep hearing how Stony Field is integrating itself into the community and your
Like I said at the beginning, like you’re so much more than just a yogurt company to me, like you’re a staple in your community and it’s showing through, through all of these goals. So it’s, it’s so cool to hear this. Um, so if I can keep going, we have, we have two more and I’m just such a nerd about this. So I hope everybody also is, um, enjoying this as much as I am, but, um, your fourth goal is carbon positive dairy supply chain.
Did I just, I’m gonna re-say that. I don’t know if I said that right. Your fourth goal is carbon positive dairy supply chain by 2030. I’m curious to hear more.
Britt Lundgren ([25:47].477)
Yeah, you know, in the big picture, agriculture is one of the only industries that I know of that is currently a part of the climate problem, but could be a part of the climate solution. Like if you’re a fossil fuel company, like the best thing you can do for climate change is to just go away, right? But like agriculture can’t go away. We need it.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([26:07].172)
Britt Lundgren ([26:12].157)
But we also know that it doesn’t have to be a net source of emissions. Soil carbon is the largest carbon sink, terrestrial carbon sink that we have on the planet. I mean, obviously there’s oceans and they store a huge amount of carbon. But in terms of the landmass that we have, soil has this incredible power to store carbon. And the really great thing about that is that when you,
store more carbon in the soil, you’re improving soil health, which means you’re improving nutrient availability in the soil. So you’re going to improve the quality of your pastures or the yield of your crops if you’re growing crops or vegetables. So there’s really no downside to trying to store more carbon in the soil. It may take, you know, changing your practices a little
Britt Lundgren ([27:11].381)
at the end of the day, it’s going to come out as a net benefit for the farm to work on improving soil. And so that focus on soil carbon is really at the heart of our carbon positive goal for our dairy supply chain, but it’s also not the only piece that we’re working on. So when you look at emissions from a dairy farm, obviously a lot of people think of methane emissions from cows and methane.
happens in two ways on a dairy farm. And one is through what we technically refer to as enteric fermentation, otherwise known as burping or farting. But enteric fermentation is that process in the cow’s room and that’s digesting their food and it releases methane in that process. And so we’re very interested in how we can reduce those methane emissions without having an impact.
cow health or on milk production. So that’s one area that we are also focusing on. And then, um, methane emissions also come from manure management. And this is like a really interesting thing here in New England, because historically, well, and it’s not just a New England issue, but historically we have worked with livestock operations as a country.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([28:09].05)
Britt Lundgren ([28:34].649)
to help them reduce the impact that their manure has on water quality, because we know if manure isn’t stored properly, or if there’s too much manure out in a field, that it can run off and it can cause water pollution. And here in New England, our best example of that is the phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain, which has led to big algae blooms and huge problems with water quality in that lake over time. And so in the state of Vermont,
watched the state and the USDA really encourage farmers, dairy farmers, to put their manure in pits so that it would not run off and cause these problems in the lake. And that has been a pretty successful effort. They’ve made progress over time on the water quality issues, but it turns out when you just take all your manure and you store it in a liquid form in a pit instead of
in say a dry stacked form or spreading it more frequently on the landscape, that liquid in the pit is going to have what we call anaerobic fermentation. And so it’s actually going to release more methane into the atmosphere as a result of being stored in that pit. So we are focused right now on working with our farms. There’s a huge variety of manure management systems in small dairy farms like
only maybe, I don’t know, 20, 25% of our farms even have a manure pit. So there’s a lot of other ways that they’re managing it. But kind of like the solar, we’re looking at farm by farm. What are the steps that could be put in place to improve that manure management system in a way that both reduces methane and avoids any negative impacts to water quality. And USDA has a fair bit of funding available to farms to help them.
upgrade systems so that they can make an impact on things like this. But USDA typically gives that money out in a way that they think is going to have the most environmental impact, which means that they prioritize the farms that are currently the worst offenders when it comes to the environmental impact they’re having, which means they prioritize like much larger confinement operations that have a lot of manure that is typically stored in one place.
Britt Lundgren ([30:54].669)
The farms that we work with tend to be smaller. So we have an average herd size of about 80 cows amongst our supply. And those firms don’t rank well in the USDA conservation system. And so they always have a hard time when they go in and try to get funds from the agency. And so just this past year, we partnered with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and we put in an application.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([31:04].614)
Britt Lundgren ([31:20].473)
to a USDA program called the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. And they just allocated $10 million to dairy farmers in the state of Vermont with a priority for small organic and grass-based operations to help them improve their manure management systems. And Stonyfield will be providing some matching funds for that. So we put in about $400,000 to match that. And we’re not guaranteed.
that all of these funds are gonna go to farms that we work with, right? So it’s a bit of a gamble on our part to say, okay, we’re gonna put some funds in here and we’re gonna ask our farms to go in and sign up and hopefully they’ll be able to take advantage of it. We don’t know that for sure, but we do know that it’s gonna be a big infusion of funding and focus towards farms that haven’t typically gotten as much assistance from USDA on solving this problem. So just one example of like…
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([31:53].158)
Britt Lundgren ([32:18].277)
power zeroing in on that particular type of emissions in our supply chain.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([32:24].07)
Yeah, that is, I mean, I hope people are hearing these stories that you’re telling and understanding that everything is just so connected and like one little piece of the puzzle does have an impact on the larger puzzle. It’s like…
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([32:46].922)
Everything that you’re saying like really does make a difference and it matters. And it’s so cool to hear that like Stonyfield is thinking about each little individual thing and how they can help. So.
Britt Lundgren ([33:01].665)
Yeah, there’s a lot of moving parts when you try to address greenhouse gas emissions at a food company, right? I mean, there’s so many different places that you can tackle it and none of them are going to fix the whole problem, right? So you have to have a lot of irons in the fire if you’re going to make progress.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([33:07].134)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([33:15].929)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([33:19].502)
Yeah, yeah, and that’s exactly it. Yep. Okay, and for our last one, we have 100% renewable electricity for your London Dairy New Hampshire manufacturing facility by 2025, by supporting the construction and operations of seven solar arrays in purchase of wrecks.
Britt Lundgren ([33:42].709)
Yeah, so we, you know, as I said, like we’ve been looking at how do we deal with our facility energy emissions since the 90s? And we’ve done, you know, we’ve done things on efficiency. We’ve tried offsets. We’ve done a number of things over the years. But a couple of years ago, we decided we wanted sort of a more like straightforward and permanent solution so that we wouldn’t have to like continue buying offsets or things like that. And we don’t have room at the plant to put in enough solar that we could just have like, you know.
on-site solar that offset our full electricity load. So ultimately we decided to partner with some solar projects in the Midwest, as well as work through a New Hampshire program that we purchase the energy from that program. And as part of that, we get rebates from the state of New Hampshire, and we use those rebates to purchase the renewable energy credits from these projects in the Midwest.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([34:14].265)
Britt Lundgren ([34:41].057)
So it allows the solution to be a little bit more economical than just a straight ahead renewable energy credit purchase. But essentially, at the end of the day, it’s a combination of power purchase agreements and renewable energy credits that are getting us to 100% renewable electricity. And of course, then the next big thing for us to tackle there is our natural gas usage. So we use natural gas to generate heat.
And it’s a lot more challenging to move away from natural gas than it is to move away from fossil fuels in electricity. So we are exploring a number of things on that front, but nothing concrete that we’re ready to tell the rest of the world about yet. So we’ll have to keep at it.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([35:29].598)
Yeah. I love that. Amazing. It’s really cool to hear how Stonyfield is approaching each one of these and how the work that you’re all doing is pushing the commitments forward and fulfilling them. So I’m excited to see the journey continue as we continue into the new year here.
So I do wanna just take a moment to kinda say that oftentimes in the battle towards protecting Mother Earth and this push of the climate change is so urgent, I feel like sometimes we forget to slow down and to celebrate the successes that we are seeing and we are doing. So I kinda love to just take a moment to ask maybe.
Can we slow down and focus a little bit on the successes that Stonyfield has seen and maybe what on your list have you achieved or what can you celebrate with our audience?
Britt Lundgren ([36:39].225)
That’s a great question. And I actually, my mind goes to like a bigger picture shift that I’ve seen in the course of my career. Before I started at Stonyfield, I worked at Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, DC, and I did policy analysis and lobbying for them. I started out working on the farm bill, but then I pretty quickly moved into working on
cap and trade legislation because that was moving through Congress at that time. So this is back like 2008, 2009 timeframe. And when the Waxman-Markey legislation was happening. And because I was specializing in agriculture, I had this opportunity to jump in and work on how agriculture fit into that climate change legislation. And at the time,
The whole agriculture community was just full on opposed to the idea that we would have any kind of climate change regulation in America. And politically speaking, there were a really big obstacle to getting that bill across the finish line. It did pass in the House, but ultimately it failed in the Senate. And agriculture, the Farm Bureau and other agriculture groups were a big part of the reason that it failed. And…
there was a lot of fear from the agriculture community that legislation would be used against farmers and it would be used to force them to reduce emissions in ways that might put them out of business. And at the time, sort of the mood in the environmental community was that you just couldn’t talk to farmers about climate change. And it was like…
completely alienating. Like if you were gonna sit down with a farmer and talk about something, you could maybe try talking about how the weather was changing because they would notice that. But you weren’t supposed to mention the words climate change, right? And this wasn’t like that long ago. And now today, I feel like the agriculture community has really done like full, you know, full about face on this topic. I, you know, a couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to see
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([38:42].25)
Britt Lundgren ([38:56].649)
Al Gore on stage with Zippy Duvall, who’s the president of the Farm Bureau. And they’re both sitting up there saying, yes, agriculture needs to be a part of the climate change solution. And I was like, wow, if I could only have shown my younger self that this was coming, I never would have believed it. But we have USDA taking really meaningful action to help farmers take action on climate change. So USDA put
$3 billion last year into their partnership for a climate smart commodities grants program, which has launched, you know, many, like I think hundreds of projects around the country that are directly involving farmers in changing their practices to reduce emissions and increase soil carbon sequestration. And we have the Inflation Reduction Act bringing an additional $20 billion into the conservation programs to help.
farmers further with emissions reductions. So, you know, I mean, not all of these things are gonna be perfect. They’re not all gonna work right away. But I feel like the tide has really turned agriculture and more and more farmers are like curious about what they could do and curious about how they could measure it. So there’s, you know, not only have they come around to say, yeah, this is something we need to care about, they’re…
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([40:06].625)
Britt Lundgren ([40:23].577)
personally interested in becoming part of the solution. And I see that like at the national political level. And I also see it when I talk to the farmers that we source our milk from. They are excited to work with us on all these different projects that we have going on and interested in demonstrating to the world that they can be a part of the solution. I think they want people to see that they really are out there protecting the landscape, trying to make the world a better place.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([40:54].403)
I love that perspective. I love this look back to kind of keep going forward. So yeah, thanks for sharing that perspective. So kind of getting maybe into how climate change is affecting us like right here in New England, I’m deeply aware of the fact that we had a pretty significant impact this summer with some flooding in Vermont.
And it, I mean, it affected our businesses pretty largely. And I feel like I heard a ton about that, but I didn’t really hear about how maybe it affected our, the farming community, um, in Vermont. So I guess I’m.
I’m on, I’m sorry. I’d love to maybe understand from, from your perspective. Um, how, how did Stonyfield help and extend to helping hand to the community during this challenging time? And I guess did a lot of the Stonyfield farmers get affected by the, the flooding and what was the effort to rebuild if they did?
Britt Lundgren ([42:02].401)
Yeah, the floods this year in Vermont and to some extent in New Hampshire were definitely, they definitely had a big impact on agriculture. We just had intense rainfall to the point where the soil became saturated and anytime we had additional rainfall that rain had nowhere to go. And so there were some big events that just led to a lot of
flooding, especially across the state of Vermont. And the farms that were in the river valleys were definitely the most impacted by that. So when you think about agricultural soils, areas that have historically been subject to flooding over time actually have some of the more fertile soils, like the Connecticut River Valley has.
some of the most fertile soils in the country. There’s just incredible agricultural soils there. Makes a great place to grow vegetables because you have that great farmland, but it also can be risky because then, you know, flooding can still happen. And that’s when the flooding hit this year, it hit really at the height of vegetable production season. So farmers had a lot of things growing, a lot of…
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([43:08].243)
Britt Lundgren ([43:26].445)
berries that had set fruit but hadn’t ripened yet. And even when the floodwaters receded, if those plants were still there and still alive and maybe still had fruit on them, the farmers still couldn’t use those because they had been surrounded by that floodwater and there could have been contaminants in that floodwater. So from a food safety perspective, those things were no longer able to be used.
So at Stonyfield, we saw what was happening. We had impacts in the very near term when the flooding was actively happening because there were so many roads shut down in the state of Vermont that milk trucks couldn’t get from one place to another. I mean, there were some milk trucks that literally were stuck in one location for days because bridges were out in every direction and they just had to wait until the state got around to.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([44:19].032)
Britt Lundgren ([44:24].097)
making a corridor for them to get out. So we were in really close communication with the state when the flooding was happening to let them know when our milk trucks were having, or the milk trucks that we work with, were having a hard time getting to a farm or getting from the farm to our plant. And the state was really good about working with companies like ours and all of the other dairy processors.
to make sure that those supply routes got opened up as quickly as possible. And we did have a handful of farms that had to dump some milk during that time because they only have two or three days of milk storage in a tank on a farm. And so if they have to hold the milk for longer than that, they just don’t have anywhere to put it. So we did have some farms who had to deal with that. And we made sure that we just continued to pay them for all the milk that they produced, even if we weren’t able to pick that milk up because we didn’t want them.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([45:09].887)
Britt Lundgren ([45:19].033)
to have a loss as a result of those events. And then we also donated funds to both the NOFA Vermont, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, and NOFA New Hampshire had emergency relief funds for farmers that were impacted by the flooding. So we donated 25,000 in Vermont and another 10 in New Hampshire. And then those organizations ran programs where farmers could apply for.
funds to help them with flood recovery if they didn’t have insurance to do that. But by and large, I think we got by really easily. Our farms got by easily compared with a lot of the vegetable operations, and there’s a couple reasons for that. One is that organic soils tend to be healthier. They tend to have higher amounts of soil carbon in them.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([45:51].082)
Britt Lundgren ([46:15].925)
And when you build soil health, the soil starts to act more like a sponge. And so it can absorb more precipitation and it can also hang on to that precipitation longer in periods of drought. And so when we have these heavy rainfall events, we are starting to be able to observe in real time that organic farms with healthier soil tend to have…
less immediate impacts from these heavy precipitation events to a certain point, right? Like if you’re in the flood zone of a river and the water is going to come over the top of the river, it doesn’t matter how healthy your soil is, like it’s going to get saturated and maybe washed away. But if you’re like up on a hill and you have really healthy soil, your farm can handle a little more in terms of how much precipitation it can absorb before it starts to run off and have erosion and things like that. So,
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([46:48].535)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([46:54].924)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([47:09].792)
Britt Lundgren ([47:11].629)
By virtue of being organic, that did help some of our farms weather this better. But then the other thing is just, there’s like geography involved here in this curious way that over the past couple of decades, as farms have transitioned to organic in this region, they were largely drawn to becoming organic farms for financial reasons, right? I mean, most farm…
dairy farms don’t convert from conventional dairy to organic for ideological reasons. They do it because the pay price for organic is higher and more consistent over time. And so those farms that were maybe struggling financially in this region in the past that were motivated to transition were often what we call hill farms. And that’s, you know, literally in Vermont, you have all these like hilly mountainous regions.
And you had people trying to run a dairy farm like up in those hills, and it’s very hard to grow corn or other conventional crops on a hill like that. But it’s not that hard to grow pasture and hay. So it’s much easier in some ways to manage a dairy organically in a situation like that. And so over time,
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([48:20].535)
Britt Lundgren ([48:29].333)
A lot of the farms that have become organic dairies in the state of Vermont are these hill farms. And as such, they’re at the top of the hill and not at the bottom. So they just didn’t get flooded quite as much as the vegetable operations did. So there’s a little bit of like geography that helped our farms out in that situation too.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([48:37].499)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([48:45].069)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([48:51].082)
Wow. I mean, that’s cool. It’s cool to, I mean, not cool to hear that the veggie farmers were impacted because everybody, yeah, like you said, when the flooding in Vermont happened this past year, it was at the height of veggie production season. And I’m sure a lot of veggie farmers lost a lot of their crops and were affected by not bringing in that income. But to think about geography wise in the history of how dairy farms.
have maybe moved up to the hilltop. That’s very fascinating. I love kind of hearing about history and geography and in that sense. So yeah, just again, thanks for educating me because you’re doing a lot of that today. Well, okay, so Britt, I guess my final question for you and maybe one that our audience is waiting for because it’s one that I ask almost every guest. But Stonyfield is a B Corp and we are…
Britt Lundgren ([49:32].485)
Thanks for watching.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([49:49].294)
so glad to have Stonyfield in the B Corp community here in New Hampshire. So I guess I want to kind of just pick your brain. What continues to inspire Stonyfield to make the commitment to the B Corp community? And you all are almost up for recertification in the next few years. So what does that look like for you all? How do you keep the conversation going to stay in the B Corp community?
Britt Lundgren ([50:18].593)
Yeah, you know, we were not a first mover on B Corp by any stretch. And, you know, despite our long commission or our long commitment to our mission, um, we’ve always been certified organic. Well, we’ve been certified organic since 2007 and we’ve done all sorts of other things to try and publicly demonstrate our commitment to sustainability. But at a certain point we realized that.
as more and more companies look to talk to consumers about their mission and look to use that as part of their brand identity, that it was important for us to have some third-party validation of our mission commitment and have some way of showing the rest of the world that the depth of our commitment to these different actions on sustainability.
And B Corp was just the perfect vehicle for that. So that’s initially what brought us to B Corp certification. And I think still an important motivator for us is just that you can’t just tell consumers to trust you when it comes to sustainability anymore. You have to have some way of like demonstrating and having transparency around that commitment. But as we’ve been a B Corp and I’ve started, especially since the end of the pandemic,
or such that it is, and being able to get out into the world and interact. Again, I personally have had the opportunity to go out and go to some more B Corp events and start to get to know some other B Corps around the region in New England. And I have started to realize the value of the B Corp community as a resource for our business across different aspects of our business. And so one thing I’m really interested in.
building out in this coming year is opportunities for other people around the business who are not on our sustainability team to take advantage of this B Corp community and learn from that B Corp community. Whether it’s HR or marketing or supply chain, I think that we all have a lot to share with each other and I think it’s really empowering when you get other B Corps together.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([52:18].393)
Britt Lundgren ([52:37].405)
in an environment where everyone is focused on learning together and helping each other out. It’s this really awesome pre-competitive spirit that you don’t encounter a lot in other places in the business world. And I think it helps people feel good about where they work when they have those kinds of opportunities to be a part of their community and work together on that. So I’m really excited to see where we can take that with our company.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([53:05].626)
Mm. I love that. Yeah. And I, I always think it’s so fun when maybe somebody who works at a B Corp, but doesn’t play an active role in usually like the beekeeping is what I maybe call them. And then they come to their first B Corp event and they’re like, wow, this community is so cool. And it’s like, yeah, and you’re an employee at a B Corp. Like you should be here. And I always think it’s fun to like pull in employees from
Britt Lundgren ([53:30].338)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([53:34].986)
like you said, different parts of the company, because in the B Corp world, we have those HR subsections, we have those operations subsections. It’s not just like, how can you be as sustainable as you can be? So I would push and encourage other companies that maybe haven’t thought about how to get different parts of their company involved in the B Corp community to see.
who’s that person that maybe is eager to learn and send them on over to a B Corp event because we’ll have them.
Britt Lundgren ([54:10].657)
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([54:13].082)
Well, Britt, I appreciate you spending so much time with me and diving headfirst into all of the sustainability initiatives that Stonyfield is working so hard on. It’s truly cool and so valuable for me to be able to see behind the curtain and hear from you who’s like working on the front lines what it looks like day in and day out. So thank you for being so vulnerable, so open and honest with the work that you’re doing.
Before we move any further, is there anything that I missed that you were really excited to share with our audience that you wanna circle back to?
Britt Lundgren ([54:53].561)
I don’t think I have any other stories to focus on today, but I just want to say thanks to you for being such a champion of this B Corp community and creating this space where we can all share what’s happening and share the exciting and positive things that are going on in the world. So I think it’s so important that we have that opportunity to be reminded there’s lots of good stuff happening and lots of opportunities to learn from each other. So thanks for.
making this space.
Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([55:24].398)
Oh, I appreciate it, Britt, of course. Well, thank you so much for joining, and I hope everybody enjoys the episode.