Frontier Co-op is a cooperatively owned American wholesaler of natural and organic products, founded in 1976 and based in Norway, Iowa, US. It sells products under the Frontier Co-op, Simply Organic and Aura Cacia brands. Products include culinary herbs, spices and baking flavors; bulk herbs and spices; and natural and organic aromatherapy products. Frontier Co-op manufactures and distributes products throughout the United States and Canada.
Environmental and social sustainability
In April 2007, Frontier Co-op introduced the Well Earth sustainable sourcing program to develop ethical sources for its products. The program screens potential suppliers with an extensive questionnaire and on-site visits to evaluate product quality, operational sustainability, environmental practices and social responsibility. Suppliers accepted into the program work with Frontier to maximize agricultural, environmental and social initiatives, with ongoing financial incentives for improved performance in those areas. The Well Earth program also provides direct financial contributions as well as assistance with grants and other outside funding for environmental and social programs in grower communities.
In July 2004, Frontier Co-op announced the addition of five USDA Certified Organic bulk teas that are also Fair Trade Certified through TransFair USA. Frontier absorbed the additional costs of the Fair Trade certification and offered the five teas – Jasmine, Ceylon Orange Pekoe, Darjeeling, Gunpowder and Black Chai – without a price increase. Frontier Co-op currently offers over 36 Fair Trade certified products including herbs, teas, cocoa, sugar and vanilla. TransFair USA’s audit system, which tracks products from farm to finished product, verifies industry compliance with Fair Trade criteria. TransFair USA licenses companies to display the Fair Trade Certified label on products that meet strict international Fair Trade standards.
In October 2001, Frontier Co-op introduced Simply Organic, a line of certified organic foods. The company also offers organic spices and seasoning blends under the Frontier Co-op brand and organic essential oils and personal care products under the Aura Cacia brand.
Frontier Co-op has made a number of efforts to reduce energy consumption and waste reduction, including biodegradable and reduced-materials packaging.
In 2007, Frontier Co-op published its first sustainability report. The published report helps the co-op’s member-owners assess their commitment to sustainable business practices and helps the company identify wasted resources.
In February 2007, the company announced it had purchased renewable energy credits to cover 100% of the electrical energy used at its Iowa and Colorado facilities.
In September 2007, Frontier became one of the first distribution centers to provide 100% carbon neutral shipping by implementing a program to calculate the emissions of its order shipping by purchasing renewable energy credits through Bonneville Environmental Foundation.
Frontier Co-op has been involved in preserving wild herbs and native plant species by either physically rescuing plants in volunteer groups, financially supporting native plant rescues, re-establishing local tall-grass prairie and protecting plants from the practice of “wild-crafting” through sustainable cultivation methods.
Frontier Co-op is owned by its more than 30,000 wholesale customers called “member-owners.” Like cooperatives of all sizes, Frontier Co-op focuses on member needs and works for the sustainable development of its community through policies accepted by members.