Stonyfield pursues open-source strategy

Since the launch in October of its new PLA-based f/f/s yogurt cup, Stonyfield Farm has pursued a policy of extreme transparency when it comes to sharing the research and technology that led to the cup’s development.

Stonyfield executives cite a couple of reasons for their willingness to share details on the project.

“First, it’s aligned with our values and our mission,” says Stonyfield vice president of sourcing and product development Rolf Carlson. “This is a good thing for the environment. Just imagine if we can get other CPGs to use this technology, we will be leveraging or multiplying the positive impact to the environment. We are not helping the environment or the world if we hoard this to ourselves.”

Company chairman, president, and CE-Yo Gary Hirshberg adds that by sharing the technology, Stonyfield hopes to advance the science of bioplastic feedstocks other than corn. “The only way that we are going to get to the more desirable materials is to open-source our process here, to encourage more users of polystyrene to join us,” he says. “With more users, we can get enough volume that we can move more quickly toward cellulosic or other kinds of fiber.”

Concludes Carlson, “I think a lot of CPGs need to realize that by being innovators and leaders they will get the recognition and appreciation from their peers and consumers. But when it comes to environmental or sustainability initiatives, there has to be a higher level of openness, collaboration, and sharing.”

Find a comprehensive list of Stonyfield’s multipack packaging suppliers online at packworld.com/video-30879.

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