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Co-op Heritage

Born a Co-op, Still a Co-op

We’re proud of our co-op roots!

Since our founding in 1976, Frontier has been a member-owned co-op dedicated to supporting and advocating values of the cooperative community. We remain firmly committed to our founding values of integrity, openness, social responsibility, and respect for the environment.

Co-ops around the world are bound by a set of seven principles. Originally developed in the 19th Century, these Co-op Principles have changed little since and remain the core values of co-ops everywhere. They guide Frontier to do business with integrity and responsibility as representatives of the tens of thousands of member stores (many of them co-operatives themselves) and buying clubs that are our owners.

We have always thought of the way we do businessas an essential part of our success — advocating environmental sustainability and ethical business practices — and we consider it a requirement of our future success that we grow and prosper by contributing to the world rather than exploiting it.

Frontier Co-op is owned by our wholesale customers. These customers provide the capital for the business to operate and take responsibility as member/owners of Frontier through an elected Board of Directors.

We feel this special relationship of ownership is at the heart of our success. Not only do we have unique insight into natural products by having our member/owners in direct contact with the consumers of the products, the co-op structure has fostered our honest, responsible business practices that are increasingly valued in the marketplace.

A sentence that came out of one of Frontier's earliest planning sessions expresses one of our most important commitments: "In all that we do, at all times and with all people, we will conduct our affairs and the affairs of the company with absolute integrity." We apply this test to everything from our product ingredient decisions to the sharing of information with our customers.

We're proud to be a co-op and happy to provide a successful example of this exciting way of doing business. Although co-op membership isn't open to our retail customers, you benefit from our cooperative structure in several ways:

• The natural products stores that are part of the Frontier co-op give us valuable feedback on what you, the customers, are looking for — helping us consistently provide innovative and popular new products.

• Because our member/owners have to personally stand behind our products in their own businesses, they support the tough quality standards and thorough testing that make Frontier the quality leader in natural products.

• Frontier's member/owners insist on integrity and principled business dealings from the company they own, of course, whether those dealings are with themselves or others.

• The value of social responsibility is also clearly one that is shared with the vast majority of our member/owners. Our long-standing support for organic agriculture, fair dealings with small suppliers, community and environmental programs, and donations to responsible organizations gives our member/owners — and you — the satisfaction of knowing the purchase of Frontier products contributes to the well-being of the planet and it's inhabitants. (In one case, the contribution is very direct — one percent of all Simply Organic sales goes to organizations that support and promote organic agriculture.)

In short, we're pleased to run an honest, responsible natural products business, and we believe that's how the people who own Frontier — and the people who use our products, as well — want it to be run.

NCBA logoIf you would like additional information about cooperatives, visit the National Cooperative Business Association's website at www.ncba.co-op. NCBA's mission is to develop, advance, and protect cooperative enterprise. NCBA provides services and information for and about all types of cooperatives.

In the U.S., co-ops provide $25 billion in wages and benefits, and nearly one million jobs. (More on the impact of cooperatives on the U.S. economy.)

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