Helping the environment is all well and good, but Gary Hirshberg has another reason for companies to maintain environmentally sound businesses. “Going green is not just the right thing to do morally. It's by far the most profitable.”
Hirshberg's new book, Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World (Hyperion), lays out a simple theory: taking measures such as reducing a company's climate footprint, cutting down on trash and packaging, and converting waste to energy actually helps companies save money. Hirshberg speaks from experience: his company, Stonyfield Farm Yogurt, is a $300 million—a—year business that incorporates environmental principles and practices into its everyday operations.
Considering Hirshberg's career and message, and that he drives a Prius and lives in a house powered entirely by solar energy, it isn't surprising that the production of Stirring It Up was 100% green. The book's text was printed on New Leaf Pioneer 100 paper and its jacket was printed on Neenah Environment 100. Both papers are made with 100% post-consumer waste fiber. Hyperion estimates the book's production method saved 67 trees, 28,769 gallons of water, 49 million BTU of energy, 3,209 pounds of solid waste and 6,322 pounds of greenhouse gases. Hirshberg is visiting more than 20 cities to promote the book, and is renting Priuses along the way. Plus, since Stonyfield knows how much CO2 it uses in shipping yogurt to any place in the country, Hirshberg and his colleagues measured his carbon footprint for the book tour, and offset 100% of the carbon emissions by making an investment in a manure digester at the Wanner Family Dairy Farm in Narvon, Pa.
The premise of Hirshberg's book is what drew Hyperion president Bob Miller to it. “The idea that being environmentally friendly makes you more money got me excited,” Miller says. And as he points out, individuals can only do so much when it comes to saving the environment: “Businesses are where decisions are made that affect the environment on a large scale.”
Hirshberg's intent to make his book entirely green was clear when Hyperion bought the rights to publish it, and once Miller and his production department began figuring out the logistics of producing the book that way, that line of thinking began to seep into other projects at the house. “We learned a lot from Gary in the course of his request for how the book would be produced,” Miller says. Miller also acknowledges that producing a green-themed book in a green way does raise a question: “When publishers do books about the environment, they produce them in an environmentally friendly way—but why not all of [the books they publish]?” Hyperion now makes sure its vendors are FSC certified, and it is working toward having 30%—50% of its titles printed on some sort of recycled stock by the end of the year.
Hirshberg is taking his message to all kinds of businesses. “There is not an audience anywhere that this is not applicable to,” he says.