GOLD AWARD: Darigold
Stan Ryan, president/CEO
“We use the word sustainability,” says Darigold CEO Stan Ryan. “Our farmers use the word stewardship. They see [dairy farming] as a bit of a higher calling. Conserving and preserving the land, the water, healthy cows, healthy environment and a healthy rural society, if you will — they see [all of that] as a bigger calling than sustainability. Their entire families, their lives [are in farming]. They’re attached to the land.”
Headquartered in Seattle, Darigold is a dairy cooperative owned by 458 dairy farm families across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Member-owners annually supply the cooperative with 8.7 billion pounds of milk, which is handled at 11 processing plants, making Darigold the sixth-largest dairy cooperative in the United States.
In 2005, Darigold initiated a corporate social responsibility program to ensure stewardship of cows and land, as well as to reduce environmental impacts. Since the inception of this initiative, Darigold has reduced energy use and carbon dioxide emissions, assured animal welfare practices, supported on-farm employee management, and invested in infrastructure, technology, people development and systems to drive even further environmental improvements. From 2005 to 2015, Darigold processing plants reduced electricity usage by nearly 6 percent and natural gas usage by almost 18 percent. Its overall carbon footprint was down 16 percent as of 2016. And, in the past six years, five Darigold farmers have won the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award.
SILVER AWARD: Woodland Park Zoo
Alejandro Grajal, president/CEO
Situated in Seattle’s Phinney Ridge neighborhood, the 92-acre Woodland Park Zoo is home to more than 300 animal species and 1,200 animals. Its Zoomazium building and living roof encompass the first national zoo project to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. In addition, its on-site composting program annually transforms 625 tons of manure and bedding from the zoo’s herbivore animals into Zoo Doo. The zoo also has one of the largest community solar projects in Washington, and its Humboldt penguin exhibit reuses all of its water on site through a combination of rainwater capture, mechanical filtration, biofiltration and geothermal heating.