One on One with Rich Cohen


CEO, Distant Village Packaging, 2011 Winner: Best in 3sClass – Most Innovative Program

Here is an interview by Wanda Lopach, Chair of the GSC3S Awards, with Rich Cohen, founder and CEO of Distant Village Packaging, winner of the special “Best in 3sClass – Most Innovative Program” Award in 2011.  Distant Village is an award-winning sustainable design and production firm producing handmade packaging and products from natural materials.  Innovative design, socially-responsible fair trade business and triple-bottom-line sustainability is at the foundation of everything created at Distant Village.

WL:  What was the significance of this recognition for Distant Village?

RC:  As one of the early pioneers in sustainable packaging, the recognition we receive from this award is especially valuable.  It validates businesses and people care about packaging which is authentically sustainable, specifically the direct and positive impact we have had uplifting small artisan communities.  We proudly display our award and announce it broadly.  The award has increased the attention and focus on Distant Village’s mission beyond the beauty and elegance of the amazing sustainable packaging we are producing for premium brands.

WL:  What prompted you to participate last year in the GSC 3s Award Program?

RC:  A friend encouraged me, and we decided to enter after much prodding.  Of course, we were happy we decided to join!

WL: The 2011 GSC 3sA winners have received a modest cash awards to advance their 3s Programs.  Can you please share with us how Distant Village has utilized the award?  What are the results/outcomes?

RC:  As a small business we have fundamental operational needs that require funding.  As we develop new product lines, enter new markets, and engage in more online marketing and social media, the cash award was helpful in funding activities in these areas.

WL: Please unveil for us, what is on the agenda of Distant Village for the incoming year?

RC:  The big news for the coming year is the rapidly growing interest in our Wild Grass Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Labels, called PURE Labels.  Businesses are seeking to establish more sustainable packaging and labels are no exception.  We are the world’s only producer of this style label and we expect tremendous growth in the coming year.  In addition to our orders in the USA, we have already shipped labels to Europe, Australia, and Canada. □


Rich Cohen is the founder and CEO of Distant Village Packaging, a specialty packaging and design company with an established reputation in sustainability since 2000.  Mr. Cohen has lectured at Loyola University, Bradley University, and University of Illinois Chicago on topics ranging from sustainability to international strategic planning.  Every chance he can, he enjoys running with his family in forest preserves and sharing whatever he can about nature and social responsibility to the future generations.  You may contact him at