Tony Bedard honored for global vision and personal dedication to “Doing Good, Works” through the cooperative business model
NORWAY, Iowa, January 19, 2024 – The USA’s Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) announced Tony Bedard, CEO of Frontier Co-op, a leader in sustainably sourced and organic spices, herbs, botanicals and plant-based products, will be inducted into CDF’s Cooperative Hall of Fame on October 3, 2024.
CDF recognized Bedard for championing the idea that doing good in the world and growing a financially successful business is not mutually exclusive. Bedard has dedicated his over 30-year tenure at Frontier Co-op to growing a purpose-driven cooperative that maximizes value and positive impact in the communities it serves. Under his leadership, Frontier Co-op grew from $36.5 million in net sales to $235.9 million in 2023 and contributed more than $10 million to philanthropy worldwide.
“Among his peers both within and outside of the cooperative community, Tony consistently champions the idea that business can be a force for positive change and that doing good can improve a company’s performance,” said Ravin Donald, EVP of Operations at Frontier Co-op. “His leadership approach has always been to find novel ways to achieve goals, regardless of what others are doing, how much it may cost, or how things have done before.”
Bedard has been at the helm driving toward the Frontier Co-op’s purpose, “Doing Good, Works,” leading the company to create life changing opportunities for its growers, employees and greater communities. His commitment to ensuring that Frontier Co-op has a lasting, positive impact on its partners led to the formation of the Well Earth impact sourcing program. Through this program, Frontier Co-op has led dozens of community- and business-building projects around the globe, including a recent collaboration with USAID’s Cooperative Development Program.
To address systemic challenges related to employment and economic mobility, Bedard spearheaded the company’s Breaking Down Barriers to Employment program, starting with adopting second chance hiring practices. Alongside local non-profit partners, they designed an apprenticeship program to provide the training needed for success at Frontier Co-op and other manufacturing environments. Since its inception in 2018, the company has adopted and advocated for second chance hiring practices and built out additional services like on-site subsidized childcare as well as transportation, savings matching and English as Second Language programs to support its employees. Today, 20 percent of Frontier Co-op’s production employee hires come through their Breaking Down Barriers to Employment program.
Established in 1974 by the National Cooperative Business Association, the Cooperative Hall of Fame honors distinguished individuals whose contributions to cooperative business have been genuinely heroic. Individually and collectively, they have enhanced and advanced cooperative enterprises, empowered people through their association with cooperatives, and contributed to the broader acceptance of the cooperative model in the U.S. and around the world.
“This year’s inductees represent the breadth and inclusiveness of the cooperative sector in addressing the needs of communities,” said Rich Larochelle, Chair of the Cooperative Development Foundation’s Board of Directors. “From supporting farmers around the world through fair trade practices, to helping people gain access to financial services, to affordable housing, to advancing co-op innovation and knowledge through training, research and education, these inductees have dedicated their lives to helping people and communities through cooperatives.”
Tony Bedard is one of five cooperative leaders who will receive the U.S. cooperative community’s most prestigious honor this year, including Cooperative Industries of Washington, D.C. Co-founder Nannie Helen Burroughs; Southern New Hampshire University Educator and Researcher Dr. Christina Clamp; Everything Co-op Host Vernon Oakes; and National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Inclusiv) Retired President and CEO Clifford Rosenthal. More information about this year’s inductees and the Cooperative Hall of Fame event is available here.
About Frontier Co-op
Founded in 1976 and based in Norway, Iowa, Frontier Co-op is a 40,000 member-owned cooperative offering a full line of products for natural living under the Frontier Co-op, Simply Organic, and Aura Cacia brands. Products include culinary herbs, spices and baking flavors; bulk herbs and spices; and aromatherapy products — with a wide selection of organics. Frontier Co-op's goal is to provide consumers with the highest-quality products while supporting and promoting social and environmental responsibility. For more information, visit the co-op's website at www.frontiercoop.com.