And, refreshingly, it isn’t all talk with Ben and Jerry’s: despite being owned by global conglomerate Unilever, the company have stayed true to their initial values. In fact Ben and Jerry’s can serve as a model of how a business can remain committed to sustainability and ethical practices despite impressive growth. Their status as an ethical powerhouse was cemented in 2012 when they became a Certified Benefit Corporation (or B Corp); a network of businesses that meet ‘the highest standard for socially responsible businesses’.
Ben and Jerry’s commitments fall into 3 distinct areas: social, product and economic. The company created three mission statements early on and decided that, no matter what happened, they would stick to these principles, using them as a guiding point for any decisions that were taken in the future. These mission statements have now been in action for over 25 years. They are:
Social: to operate the company in a way that actively recognizes the central role that business plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally.
Product: To make, distribute, and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and Environment.
Economic: to operate the Company on a sustainable financial basis...
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Here are some ways Ben & Jerry’s focuses on ethics, the environment and social responsibility:
Ben & Jerry’s has always been focused on the communities in which they serve. In the UK, they have a bus that travels through the streets during festivals selling ice cream. The profits gained are used to support charitable causes in the local community such as “Childline” and “Trees for Cities”.
The company offered stock options to its hometown of Vermont where it began when it decided to expand into other cities. Ben & Jerry’s wanted the community who supported its beginning to be the first to benefit from its success.
Ben & Jerry’s uses certified humane cage-free eggs in their ice cream products in Europe. In the US, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products are 99% cage-free. The existing 1% is in the novelty ice cream bars sold in the US and Asia.
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