Connect locally to leverage sustainable values

It all started when natural products industry veterans, Mark Retzloff and Paul Repetto, embarked on a search for organic milk and happened upon a cooperative of small organic dairy farmers in Wisconsin. The cooperative consisted of a handful of visionary dairymen and women who believed in organic values, exactly the ideals Retzloff and Repetto sought.

With the escalating demand for organic milk, one organic oasis would not suffice. In 2001, they established the Horizon Organic Producer Education (HOPE) program to help dairy farmers transition to organic farming. In addition to helping dairy farmers “go organic”, the program also aimed to co-create innovative practices with suppliers to ensure Horizon could guarantee its customer the quality they expected.

Leveraging the relationships with supplier and looking at smaller niches are all important ideas in an effort to be more innovative. This approach has made Horizon a $250 million brand with essentially no manufacturing at all, and it is through their suppliers that they are able to introduce new break-through products such as organic baby formula.

While you will open up possibilities in innovation whenever you look outside for ideas and inspiration, your chances of finding the right opportunity go up considerably if you have a good idea of your values and what you want.

As Louis Pasteur once said, “Chance favours the prepared mind.”

~Annelie

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