- Identify a retail brand that you believe is socially or ethically responsible.
Ben & Jerry’s is a well known ice cream brand that holds itself to the highest standard of social issues. Over the years, this company has been very outspoken about a variety of social issues and causes, such as 1% for Peace, Artificial Growth Hormone? Not in Our Ice Cream!,
Contented Cows Make the Best Ice Cream, Rock the Vote, GMO? Thanks but No!.
Ben & Jerry’s has a 3 part mission that includes an Economic Mission, Social Mission, and a Product Mission.
Our Economic Mission asks us to manage our Company for sustainable financial growth.
To operate the Company on a sustainable financial basis of profitable growth, increasing value for our stakeholders and expanding opportunities for development and career growth for our employees.
Our Social Mission compels us to use our Company in innovative ways to make the world a better place.
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.
Our Product Mission drives us to make fantastic ice cream – for its own sake.
To make, distribute and sell the finest quality ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment.
- How do you believe the company conducts business in a socially responsible way? Support your answer by discussing specific examples.
The 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?
I believe that Ben & Jerry’s is definitely ‘green’ for the environment. Their main purpose is to provide a great tasting product of ice cream to its consumers but also stand firm in its beliefs as a company. 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. Ben & Jerry’s has also participated in the famous Farm Aid music festival, which promotes buying from local farmers and grow locally sourced food rather than import from other countries.