How “Doing Good, Works” With Frontier Co-op

Frontier Co-op’s CEO Tony Bedard dropped by to talk about the organization’s philosophy “doing good, works.”

Frontier Co-op is a 40,000-person member-owned herbs, spices, and botanicals cooperative founded in 1976. Since then, it has been a leader in social impact and employee-focused initiatives. 

In today’s episode, EFG’s Alli Murphy chats with Frontiers’ CEO, Tony Bedard, about the organization’s philosophy, “doing good, works.” In 2021, Frontier Co-op committed $225,000 over three years to continue its partnership with Willis Dady Homeless Services. 

The program is part of Frontier’s 2022 Halo Award-winning initiative Breaking Down Barriers to Employment. It identifies individuals returning to society who are eager for a second chance after being incarcerated or facing other challenges, such as homelessness or lack of transportation, and provides them with the resources to overcome these systemic barriers to employment. 

The program has directly impacted Frontier’s business, solving its hiring needs by hiring 20% of its production employees through its second-chance hiring practices. In addition, more than 140 individuals have gone through the apprenticeship program thus far.

Aside from this initiative, we also dive into the Co-Op’s word-wide sourcing and international development projects. Tony has traveled the world to visit small-scale organic growers, led more than 25 humanitarian missions to El Salvador and Haiti and has supported dozens of community building and business building projects in the Co-op’s grower communities.

In today’s episode, we’ll explore:

  • How to evaluate employee and societal needs to create a program that’s equitable and impactful
  • The genesis of the Breaking Down Barriers to Employment initiative
  • How partners that are subject matter experts are crucial for true impact
  • What Tony learned while developing Breaking Down Barriers to Employment
  • How their CSR work extends to a global scale
  • Tony’s advice for marrying business and societal needs

Links & Notes

Elevate Your Social Impact

  • (00:00) – Welcome to Engage for Good
  • (02:20) – Introducing Tony Bedard
  • (05:42) – Progressive Values, Breaking Down Barriers, Unemployment
  • (08:01) – Returning Citizens
  • (13:30) – Partners in Action
  • (14:44) – Lessons Learned
  • (22:15) – Buying In to the Purpose