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Triple Bottom Line: Kashi

Written by Nadia Hosni, Tonic
Published: May 18, 2010

The 25 year old company had its humble beginnings in the picture perfect Californian coastal town of La Jolla. If you've ever been to southern California you know that the place is filled with beautiful scenery and people that are dedicated to a healthy lifestyle. This is where Phil and Gayle Tauber started mixing a variety of different grains in their kitchen, looking for the perfect combination to create a balanced breakfast cereal. After a few months they landed on it — a cereal that consisted of seven grains plus sesame.

Ever wondered where the name came from? The name Kashi is a hybrid of a few things. After the first choice of "Gold'n Grains" was officially taken by a pasta company the couple went back to the drawing board and started with a few things that were close to their heart. Drawing inspiration from the founder of American Macrobiotics Michio Kushi and the word "kashruth," a set of Jewish dietary laws meaning Kosher or pure. The name Kashi is a synthesis of the two.

In 2000, Kashi was acquired by Kellogg and folded in to their portfolio of products. Kashi has continued to operate on the company's original mission, bringing a healthy and nutritious lifestyle to the consumer. And thanks to Kellogg's distribution channels, Kashi reaches even more people. Their financial success has brought some great opportunities to this company of less than 70 people, whose personal and professional mission is "to make high-quality all-natural foods to help people live healthier lives." Partnerships with Terracycle and RecycleBank are just the tip of the iceberg — see below for some highlights of Kashi's triple bottom line:

People

Darzana is Sanskrit for meet, observe and understand. Started in 2008, this annual think tank gathers for two days to exchange ideas about how to improve and progress the natural living movement. Participants are leaders in the field of natural living and over the past two years have used this forum to establish an industry-wide definition of "natural" and develop educational materials on sustainability.

Day of Change Events: Launched in 2006, Day of Change events were founded on the premise that one day can change a person's life and encourage a healthy lifestyle. At these nationwide events participants have access to cooking demonstrations, yoga lessons and natural living education classes. Check out the site to see what the 2010 schedule is and make a promise to take a small step to live a better life.

Planet

The "People Planet Committee" was created to make large and small changes internally to promote sustainability from within the company. They established a revolutionary program called SpArk (Sustaining the Planet and retaining Kashiness). Through this program the company has created an office compost, replaced water delivery with UV filtered water solutions, and they support their local farms by being part of community-supported agriculture.

Reducing packaging: In 2008 after redesigning the packaging for their frozen meals Kashi successful reduced the packaging by 11 percent, saving 227 tons of packaging waste per year. The company has more packaging reductions planned for 2010.

Profit

Charitable Giving: Kashi supports many organizations both monetarily and with volunteer time and resources. Those partnerships include the United Way and Operation Frontline. In the 25 years Kashi has been around the company has given over $10 million to charity.

Whats next?

Kashi continues to work with the farmers they source from to develop more sustainable agricultural practices. These challenges include protecting the soil and making the farming process more efficient. To Kashi sustainability is not a goal that can be attained it is a constant journey that the company is continuously challenged to improve upon, and these earth loving naturalists are in it for the long haul.


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