Ice cream and a social mission. Not many know how much consideration and care the business behind the popular ice cream company, Ben & Jerry’s, has taken into account. So grab a spoon and a pint of your favorite flavor and get ready to be surprised.
Ben & Jerry’s began in an old gas station in downtown Burlington, Vermont in 1978. Back then it was a simple homemade ice cream scoop shop. Ben and Jerry met in 7th grade gym class in New York and have apparently been together ever since. In 1980 they rented space in an old spool and bobbin mill and began packaging their ice cream in pints to distribute through mom and pop grocery stores in the area. The first Ben & Jerry’s franchise opened the next year. The company has come a long way since then, but its small start and laid-back creators may be why they are listed in the top ten best companies on the Better World Shopper website.
Ben & Jerry’s is big on social change. The ingredients used in the ice cream are consciously chosen to induce change. The brownie used in the pints come from the Greystone Bakery, who give jobs and teach trade skills to people who would otherwise be unemployed. The bakery’s prophets go to the Greystone Foundation, which provides child care, housing, health care, job training and computer training for people in the Yonkers, New York area with low income. The milk and cream Ben & Jerry’s uses comes from a farm that has pledged not to use recombinant Bovine Growth Hormones. The popular ice cream company is also now featuring new organic and fair trade flavors. Look for them on the shelves of your local grocery store.
Any manufacturing creates waste. Ben & Jerry’s works to keep its impact on the environment to a minimum. To accomplish this, Ben & Jerry’s focuses on the things that can be changed to reduce the amount of waste and energy in their packaging, agriculture and energy consumption.
One goal the company has is to change the pint packaging to be made of completely renewable resources. The pint containers are made of paper, and the company is now working with a global environmental organization to help them choose renewable resources that come from suppliers and forests that practice the best forest management and respect and benefit the land and the people in surrounding areas. With the package change, Ben & Jerry’s will be eliminating 1,000 tons of waste that the previous packaging material generated.
Only sustainable agriculture is used to make Ben & Jerry’s products. Sustainable agriculture includes farms that work with the earth’s natural systems such as air, water, energy and nutrients to sustain its natural resources. Sustainable dairy farms strive to protect the natural environment, the welfare of its animals, and the local communities as it works to provide a higher quality of life for its farmers and their families.
That was a lot of information to swallow, but it’s easy to see that this company does more than just provide delicious pints of “Vermont’s finest” to our watering mouths. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream no longer needs to be a guilty pleasure, at least when it comes to what your dollar is supporting. Bon appetit!
Learn more about this awesome company on their website.