Identify a retail brand that you believe is socially or ethically responsible.
Ben and Jerry’s was founded in 1978 in Burlington, Vermont by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. This company has grown from humble beginnings to a huge multinational corporation. And when it comes to ice cream, it’s possibly the best in the world. They have about 46 flavors, including my personal favorites of Strawberry Cheesecake and Chocolate Fudge Brownie. But great tasting products are only one aspect of what makes this brand so amazing because they’re also socially responsible. In fact, their sole mission is to make and sell quality all natural ice cream while promoting business practices that respect the environment (“Ben & Jerry’s,” n.d.).
How do you believe the company conducts business in a socially responsible way? Support your answer by discussing specific examples.
This company conducts business in a socially responsible way by purchasing sugar, cocoa, vanilla, coffee, and bananas through Fair Trade, which is a global organization that works to secure a better deal for farmers and workers in developing countries. This practice is essential because it allows small-scale farmers to make it in our extremely competitive global market. Ben and Jerry’s is also socially responsible through community-based projects, such as the Vermont Dairy Farm Sustainability Project. Here, the brand was able to create methods that could be used on typical dairy operations to safeguard water quality from nitrogen and phosphorus run-off all while ensuring the farm maintained its economic viability.
Has the company ever been involved in any incidents in which they were accused of not conducting business in an ethical or socially responsible manner? If so, briefly discuss the legal issues related to the incident(s).
Ben and Jerry’s have done some great things for people and the environment, but unfortunately, they have been accused of not conducting business in an ethical manner. This occurred last year when ten out of eleven samples of their ice cream tested positive for low levels of glyphosate, which is a herbicide that is utilized in agriculture. The company did not get into any legal trouble over this though because the amount did not exceed the limit set by the FDA. The issue, however, did spark a big corporate headache in which the company responded by saying that none of its plant-based ingredients come from genetically engineered crops where this chemical is used in production (Strom, 2017). Essentially, they had no idea how this happened. Nevertheless, since this incident, Ben & Jerry’s have moved to cut all glyphosate-tainted ingredients from its production chain, and there’s even talk of them going organic.
Do you feel the company is “green” for profit or “green” for the environment?
This company is most certainly “green” for the environment, and year after year they’ve made the list of top twenty organizations that demonstrate social responsibility. And who can forget the many steps they’ve taken to help with the historical issue of global warming? Not only has Ben & Jerry’s launched a carbon offset program for their manufacturing plants in Vermont, but they also ran a campaign to help combat this issue, which brilliantly featured the Dave Matthews Band. And since then, they’ve been further investing in their facilities, supply chain, and ice cream shops in hopes of shrinking their carbon footprint. If you’re still not convinced that this company is socially responsible, check out the new flavor of ice cream that they created just to send out an SOS for our planet. All I can say is well done Ben & Jerry’s, well done!
Ben & Jerry’s Corporate Social Responsibility. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://bjsocialresponsibility.weebly.com/
Strom, S. (2017, July 25). Traces of Controversial Herbicide Are Found in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/dining/ben-and-jerrys-ice-cream-herbicide-glyphosate.html