The fair-trade label is coming to milk, cheese, and yogurt near you--and it's all thanks to  Chobani.

The $1.5 billion private yogurt company is working with nonprofit group Fair Trade USA to create a process for identifying dairy products from farms that treat both workers and animals humanely, according to a recent New York Times report. The nonprofit will vet farms across the country, inspecting herds and interviewing workers, and Chobani will reportedly pay a 2 to 4 percent premium for milk from farms that earn passing grades.

The company doesn't plan to increase consumer prices, according to the Times.

This announcement comes just weeks after a video, which published in June, went viral. In it, workers abused calves on a farm that supplies milk to Fairlife, a Chicago-based brand distributed by the Coca-Cola Company. For both Chobani and entrepreneurs, the message is clear: You can only trust your suppliers so much.

A fair-trade label on Chobani's products could additionally help the company's marketing efforts. High-profile startups and private companies are increasingly making sustainability a key goal, from Patagonia and Allbirds to younger businesses like TemperPack (which was featured on Inc.'s Rising Stars list in April). 

Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant who founded the company 14 years ago in South Edmeston, a town in upstate New York, has long been known for his commitment to humanitarian issues. He criticized the Trump administration's travel ban in 2017, and 30 percent of his company's workforce is now made up of refugees.

Published on: Jul 2, 2019