A LETTER FROM OUR CEO
In 2008, we celebrated our thirtieth birthday at Ben & Jerry’s. As part of the celebration, we put together an online scrapbook that captures some of the memorable moments in the company’s past. Scattered throughout are mentions of the company’s Social Mission partnerships and initiatives. As I flipped through the pages, it struck me how varied our Company’s activities and partnerships have been over three decades. We’ve opposed rBGH, the artificial hormone given to cows; we’ve championed government funding for children’s health care and education; we’ve opposed the U.S. entry into the first Gulf War. We’ve been a pioneer in managing our environmental impacts, from using unbleached paperboard in our pint packaging to using composting, methane digesters, and even pigs to handle our wastes. We’ve sought out unique suppliers who have a social mission that aligns with ours, such as Greyston Bakery and Fair Trade cooperatives. We’ve also played a key role in founding socially responsible business networks, such as Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility; 1% for Peace; Business for Social Responsibility; and the Social Venture Network.
It’s not an accident that we’ve been involved in so many different issues with so many different partners and allies. We have always tried to take a holistic approach to living out our Company’s Social Mission, believing that in the end, all things are indeed connected. So, we know that buying some of our ingredients from small farmers also has environmental benefits; supporting diversity in our workplace actually leads to a stronger team and financial success; and there are many more examples throughout our business.
But we also admit that sometimes we have stretched ourselves too thin. And today as we embrace our new identity as a global Company, we recognize that we must become more focused and strategic in order to achieve our Social Mission.
This is the insight that led us to convene our first-ever global Social Mission Summit in October of 2008 when Company leaders responsible for all parts of our business met and identified global priorities. We believe that these long-term goals are in line with our history and core values – and are also relevant to the Company we are today:
- Use our Company to further the cause of Peace and Justice.
- Harmonize our global supply chain and ensure its alignment with our Company values.
- Take the lead promoting global sustainable dairy practices.
We believe that by working diligently to achieve results against these three priorities, we will also make gains to satisfy a fourth priority, which transcends all the others, and that’s to give equal attention to all three parts of our Mission Statement – Product, Economic, and Social – and keep them in balance with each other.
I’ve seen the amazing impact that Fair Trade has on the lives of real people, and I am convinced it’s the single best investment Ben & Jerry’s can make to promote economic justice, social justice, and environmental protection through our global supply chain. That’s because Fair Trade is creating a system through which small farmers, laborers, and entire communities can compete and thrive in the global economy, by growing their crops the right way. It’s a vision of caring capitalism that is wholly aligned with what Ben & Jerry’s stands for.
These goals are, in a sense, not new for us. Indeed, many of our proudest accomplishments in 2008 were squarely aligned with these goals for the future, including:
- our Imagine World Peace campaign, which awarded leading Peace Pioneers in the United States and funded the development and launch of curriculum materials to teach peace in 3,800 schools in the United States.
- our efforts through the flavor ONE Cheesecake Brownie to build awareness of the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to end extreme poverty around the world by 2015 and promote prosperity and health for all the world’s people.
- significant progress in understanding the climate impacts of our global business and reducing these impacts through investments in efficiency and carbon offsets.
- our creation of another Fair Trade Certified flavor for 2009, Chocolate Macadamia, the first one that we will market globally, which will increase the volume of Fair Trade ingredients that we’re buying and increase our support for small farmers in the developing world.
- our progress towards a 2009 transition to Forest Stewardship Council paperboard for our U.S. pint packaging, which represents the gold standard of sustainable forestry practices.
- another successful year of growth for our Caring Dairy and Dairy Stewardship Alliance programs in Europe and the United States, which help our dairy farmers move toward more sustainable practices.
And that’s just the beginning. I hope you’ll take the time to read about some of our other highlights from 2008 in the full report that follows this letter.
I am invigorated by the goals we’ve set for ourselves. We’ve always believed that our Mission Statement is both a statement about how our business should operate – and a recipe for success that says simply, the way our Company will succeed financially is through long-term investment in making great ice cream and in making a positive social impact.
Most of all, I offer my thanks to the people of Ben & Jerry’s, past and present, who have given so much of themselves to keep us moving forward on this inspired mission.
Peace, Love & Ice Cream
Chief Euphoria Officer
HIGHLIGHTS IN 2008
Welcome to Ben & Jerry’s 2008 Social and Environmental Assessment Report. Here’s a glance at some of our most notable efforts from the past year to make positive change in the world through our business.
We’ve taken the additional step to have key sections of this report examined by anindependent auditor this year. Read the auditor’s opinion.
For 30 years, Ben & Jerry’s has been dedicated to a sustainable corporate concept of linked prosperity. Our mission consists of three interrelated parts: Product Mission, Economic Mission and Social Mission. Central to the mission of Ben & Jerry’s is the belief that all three parts must thrive equally in a manner that commands deep respect for individuals in and outside the company and supports the communities of which they are a part.
In 2008, Ben & Jerry’s took a big step forward in translating these three missions to our growing global business. In October, we brought company leaders from around the globe to Vermont and held our first-ever Social Mission Summit. The goals we set together will guide us over the next several years to make Ben & Jerry’s an even stronger force for progressive change from Sydney to London to Burlington, Vermont.
WE HAVE THREE MAJOR SOCIAL MISSION GOALS.
Use our Company to further the cause of Peace and Justice.
We believe that buying more Fair Trade ingredients is one of the ways we can support economic and social justice through our business practices. So we took the time in 2008 to develop our first-ever Fair Trade Certified flavor to be sold globally, Chocolate Macadamia, for a 2009 launch. The Fair Trade logo that will be on the pint means the farmers who grew the vanilla and cocoa for us received a fair price for their harvest and used environmentally sound techniques to grow and harvest their crops. Chocolate Macadamia will join three existing Fair Trade flavors in Europe and three more in the United States. We’ll keep looking for more ways to source ingredients in line with our values in the years ahead.
We began to build key alliances with leading-edge global partners in 2008 to activate our consumers on the issues of peace and justice.
- We launched Imagine Whirled Peace® in the United States, a new flavor named for John Lennon and dedicated to the cause of global peace. We celebrated the anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 Bed-In for Peace by re-enacting the event in New York City, and then we kicked off a national search for modern-day Peace Pioneers on our website. We named two winners, awarding their organizations each $10,000 to continue their work in the cause of peace.
- Globally, we established a partnership with Peace One Day, to help drive awareness of the United Nations’ annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on September 21, and for which the Company has helped underwrite curriculum materials to teach peace in 3,800 U.S. schools.
- We partnered with ONE.org in the United States and the Millennium Development Campaign globally to build awareness of the United Nations’ goals to end extreme poverty and AIDS around the globe by 2015. Employees in Vermont and a few of our scoop shop franchisees participated in global Stand Up Day in October, in which more than 116 million people around the world stood up together to call for stronger action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
We continued our financial support of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, which offers small grants to nonprofit, grassroots organizations throughout the United States working for progressive social change. In 2008, Ben & Jerry’s contributed $1,944,700 to the Foundation.
We gave our support to the men and women who own and operate franchised Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops for the positive impact they are having on their local communities. In 2008, our franchisees directly contributed almost $500,000 worth of time, product, and money in support of local community projects, and leveraged even more support for valuable projects around the country through their efforts. On Free Cone Day alone, our franchisees collected over $225,000 in donations for nonprofit allies.
Harmonize Our Global Supply Chain and Ensure its Alignment with Our Values
In 2008, we continued to use natural and humanely produced ingredients and deployed better standards across all products and regions. For example, we’ve been using eggs from free-range hens for 100% of our European production since 2004, and by year-end 2008, we were sourcing about 30% of the eggs used in our U.S. production from cage-free farms. We intend to complete a full transition to using only Certified Humane cage-free eggs in the U.S. by year-end 2010.
In 2008, we completed preliminary work to phase in more sustainable materials for our product packaging. In early 2009, we will begin converting to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paperboard for our U.S. pint containers. We’re a year later than we originally hoped, but still committed to the change. The FSC certification means that the paperboard comes from sources that meet Rainforest Alliance criteria for sustainably managed forests, including the protection of wildlife habitat, maintenance of biodiversity, avoidance of genetically modified tree species, and protection of traditional and civil rights. We will look to expand FSC sourcing for the packaging we use in other regions in the future.
In response to the challenge of climate change, we continued to study our Company’s climate impacts on a global scale so we can make informed decisions about how best to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. In Europe, we worked with HIER, a consortium of forty NGOs, to complete a life cycle analysis of our Company’s climate impacts from cow to cone. We then developed a detailed carbon emissions reduction plan, which includes aggressive plant efficiency upgrades and the purchase of Gold Standard carbon offsets, in order to meet HIER’s requirements for a ‘Climate Neutral’ claim for our entire European business. In the United States, we continued work on a carbon inventory of our operations to identify the best areas for reducing climate impacts. We continued to offset 100% of emissions associated with our Vermont manufacturing facilities for the seventh year — as well as employee air travel for the third year — with the help of Vermont-based NativeEnergy, a nationally recognized provider of high quality carbon offsets.
In Europe, we completed the third and final year of Ben & Jerry’s Climate Change College, a program that sponsored activists from each of eight European countries to follow their dreams to achieve greenhouse gas reductions in their own countries. These Climate Change Ambassadors received mentoring on their business plans, a research field trip to the Arctic and cash support from Ben & Jerry’s to develop their plans. Ambassadors launched efforts to help restaurants reduce their water use; to encourage green choices for do-it-yourself home improvement projects; and to recycle cooking oil, among other things.
In the United States, we partnered with Greenpeace to create a “Cleaner, Greener, Freezers” program to introduce environmentally friendly hydrocarbon (HC) freezers. We put fifty of the new HC freezers into service as a pilot test while we seek EPA approval for widespread commercial use, as the U.S. is one of the few developed countries that has not yet accepted this technology. If and when the EPA grants approval, we expect HC freezers will become widely adopted in the United States, as they are more efficient than today’s hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) freezers and don’t have the negative climate impacts of HFC gases.
Take the Lead Promoting Global Sustainable Dairy Practices
In 2008, we helped advance sustainable dairy production through two programs, Caring Dairy™ and the Dairy Stewardship Alliance. Caring Dairy™, now in its sixth year, promotes sustainable dairy farming practices with the farmers in the Netherlands who supply milk to Ben & Jerry’s — a total of 550 dairy farms that collectively care for 25,000 cows. In 2008, the program held 131 workshops for farmers and helped them evaluate and improve in 11 different areas of sustainable practices. The Dairy Stewardship Alliance, in its seventh year, helps Vermont farmers to self-assess and continuously improve their practices in ten areas related to farm sustainability. To date, 52 farmers have participated in this program and half of them have implemented changes to their farm operation. Expansion of this program is a high priority for 2009. Our long-term goal remains to engage all of our dairy suppliers around the world in sustainable dairy partnerships.
We continued to partner with a coalition of public interest groups in the United States to stand up for the right to put rBGH labels on dairy products. As a Company, we have always opposed rBGH, a genetically engineered hormone given to cows to increase their milk production, and we believe rBGH labels help consumers to make good choices about the foods they want to buy. But under pressure from biotech groups, many states considered laws or regulations that would restrict rBGH labeling in 2008. We intend to keep working until the challenges to rBGH labeling have been defeated.
We were also active in the movement to ensure careful oversight and regulation of cloned animals in the U.S. food supply in 2008, following Food and Drug Administration approval of these foods in January 2008. We support a national framework to track cloned animals so people and companies like us can have a choice to avoid cloned foods, and we’re watching the issue closely in Europe and elsewhere. We’ve talked to lawmakers, food safety experts, and the public via our website to build momentum for good policy in this area.
SOCIAL MISSION GOALS
The information on this page has been examined by an independent auditor.
SOCIAL MISSION GOAL 1:
Use our Company to further the cause of Peace and Justice.
One of our core Company values is to seek and support nonviolent ways to achieve peace and justice through our business. We intend to bring this to life over the next several years in the following ways:
1A and 1B. – Increase the purchasing of ingredients and raw materials from suppliers who are working for social and economic justice and a more peaceful world.
Ben & Jerry’s has three current sourcing initiatives that further the cause of peace and justice.
1. We are buying Fair Trade Certified/Fairtrade Certified ingredients.
For these ingredients, we have third-party assurance that farmers in developing countries are paid a Fair Trade minimum price for their harvest which reflects the sustainable cost of production, as established by an independent body. In addition, farmers growing Fair Trade crops are required to make social investments in their communities and meet standards of continuous improvement in sustainable farming practices. We believe that the Fair Trade model, which helps small farmers in developing countries compete and thrive in the global marketplace, is a path to creating social and economic justice. For more information on Fair Trade, visit Transfair USA in the United States or Fairtrade Foundation in the UK, or Max Havelaar elsewhere in Europe.
Fair Trade marketing standards are set by labeling organizations at the country level and therefore are not consistent globally. Even the name isn’t consistent – it’s ‘Fair Trade’ in North America and ‘Fairtrade’ elsewhere! In addition, Ben & Jerry’s produces a composite product, including many ingredients that are not available under Fair Trade certification. This makes it difficult to quantify Ben & Jerry’s Fair Trade sourcing on a global basis, so we have decided to present our 2008 Fair Trade status by region. We recognize that we need to develop a more sophisticated metric that can meaningfully measure our global progress on Fair Trade sourcing beyond the number of flavors that are Fair Trade Certified. We intend to work towards developing such a metric in 2009.
Fair Trade marketing standards are set by labeling organizations at the country level and therefore are not consistent globally. Even the name isn’t consistent – it’s ‘Fair Trade’ in North America and ‘Fairtrade’ elsewhere! In addition, Ben & Jerry’s produces a composite product, including many ingredients that are not available under Fair Trade certification. This makes it difficult to quantify Ben & Jerry’s Fair Trade sourcing on a global basis, so we have decided once again to present our 2009 Fair Trade status by region.
OUR STATUS IN 2008:
Four of 55 pint flavors produced in the United States carried the Fair Trade Certified logo in 2008 (Chocolate, Vanilla, Coffee, Coffee Heath® Bar Crunch), indicating that they contained some Fair Trade Certified ingredients. One of five minicups was Fair Trade Certified (Vanilla). One of five novelties was Fair Trade Certified (Vanilla bar). Four of 39 flavors produced in bulk for scoop shops were Fair Trade Certified (Chocolate; Vanilla; Coffee; Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz®). The Fair Trade Certified ingredients used in these flavors are vanilla, cocoa powder, and coffee extract.
Three of eighteen flavors produced in Europe in 500 ml tubs were Fairtrade Certified in 2008 (Vanilla, Vanilla Toffee Crunch, Chunky Monkey®), indicating that they contained some Fairtrade Certified ingredients. Three of seven mini-tubs; and three of 22 flavors produced in bulk for scoop shops were Fairtrade Certified as well (Vanilla, Chunky Monkey®, Vanilla Toffee Crunch). The Fairtrade Certified ingredients used in these flavors are: vanilla, cocoa powder, banana puree, sugar, toffee candy pieces, chocolate chunks and a chocolate coating for macadamia nuts.
None of our pints or bulk flavors produced in Canada were Fair Trade Certified in 2008, though some were made with specific Fair Trade Certified ingredients such as vanilla, cocoa, and coffee extract.
Ben & Jerry’s products marketed in Asia are produced in the United States and Fair Trade sourcing initiatives are captured in the data presented above.
Ben & Jerry’s will launch its first Fair Trade/Fairtrade flavor to be sold globally in 2009 and we currently plan to add new Fair Trade flavors in 2010 and beyond.
2. We are buying brownies from Greyston Bakery.
OUR STATUS IN 2008:
We purchased brownie inclusions from Greyston Bakery for seven of our U.S. pint flavors: Chocolate Fudge Brownie (ice cream, organic ice cream, and frozen yogurt), Neapolitan Dynamite®, Half Baked® (ice cream and frozen yogurt), and Dave Matthews Band’s Magic Brownies®. One pint flavor contains brownies (with a different specification) from another supplier. One of five mini-cup flavors also uses Greyston brownies.
We also purchased Greyston brownies for four of our U.S. flavors produced in bulk for scoop shops: Chocolate Fudge Brownie (ice cream and frozen yogurt) and Half Baked® (ice cream and frozen yogurt). One bulk flavor contains brownie inclusions with a different specification that we source from another supplier.
We purchased Greyston brownies for four of our 18 European 500 ml flavors: Chocolate Fudge Brownie (ice cream and frozen yogurt), Half Baked®, and Bohemian Raspberry™; as well as one of our seven mini-tubs. One flavor uses brownies (with a significantly different specification) from a different supplier.
We also purchased Greyston brownies for 3 of our 22 European flavors produced in bulk for scoop shops: Chocolate Fudge Brownie (ice cream and low fat ice cream) and Bohemian Raspberry™.
In all, Ben & Jerry’s decreased our total spend on Greyston brownies for European production from 2007 to 2008 by 39 percent. This decline is the result of a decision to discontinue one flavor in the European market that contains Greyston brownies.
Ben & Jerry’s has also supported Greyston Bakery with technical assistance to help improve their ability to deliver quality ingredients to Ben & Jerry’s and to improve their cost competitiveness over the long term.
We purchased Greyston brownies for three out of 13 pint flavors produced in Canada: Chocolate Fudge Brownie (ice cream and frozen yogurt) and Half Baked®.
In all, Ben & Jerry’s increased our total spend on Greyston brownies for North American production from 2007 to 2008 by 5 percent.
3. We are buying Cage-Free eggs/free-range eggs.
Ben & Jerry’s has been moving towards a policy to buy eggs from suppliers whose laying hens are not confined to battery cages (called ‘cage-free’ in the United States and ‘free-range’ in Europe). While some may disagree with us, we believe these egg production systems, when certified to meet third-party standards, allow laying hens more space to engage in normal behaviors and create better animal welfare outcomes than conventional battery cage operations.
OUR STATUS IN 2008:
In the fourth quarter of 2008, 30 percent of the eggs used in Ben & Jerry’s U.S. production, by volume, were purchased from cage-free suppliers. Approximately 85 percent of these cage-free eggs were third-party certified to the American Humane Certified or Certified Humane standard. Ben & Jerry’s is two years into a four-year project to achieve 100 percent sourcing of Certified Humane cage-free eggs for our U.S. production by 2010.
100 percent of Ben & Jerry’s European egg supply comes from farms meeting free-range standards for laying hens independently certified by Control Production Eiren (for Dutch farms) and KAT (for German farms).
We source conventional eggs for Ben & Jerry’s Canadian production.
1C. – Build key alliances with leading-edge global partners to activate our consumers on issues of peace and justice.
OUR STATUS IN 2008:
Ben & Jerry’s was involved in five active partnerships in 2008 connected to this goal.
- Globally, we established a partnership with the United Kingdom-based organization Peace One Day to help drive awareness of the United Nations’ annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on September 21. Ben & Jerry’s also provided significant underwriting for Peace One Day’s project to develop and roll out curriculum materials to teach peace in 3,800 U.S. schools. We featured Peace One Day on the Ben & Jerry’s website in September 2008 and funded their video production of the 2008 London Peace Day concert for broadcast.
- We partnered with ONE.org in the U.S. and the Millennium Development Campaign globally to build awareness of the United Nations’ goals to end extreme poverty around the globe by 2015. Our flavor ONE Cheesecake Brownie™ (in the U.S., Mexico and Asian markets) and Cheesecake Brownie (in Europe and Canada) launched in 2008, carrying a message about the Millennium Development goals on its packaging. We used promotions in Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops and on our website to raise awareness about the Millennium Development Goals. Employees in Vermont and a few of our scoop shop franchisees participated in Stand Up Day in October, in which more than 116 million people around the world stood up together to call for stronger action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, according to event organizers.
- We launched Imagine Whirled Peace® in the United States, a new flavor named for John Lennon and dedicated to the cause of global peace. We celebrated the anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1968 Bed-In for Peace by re-enacting the event in New York City, and inviting the public to nominate leading peace activists for a $10,000 grant. We made two grants to Aaron Voldman’s Student Peace Alliance and Robert Kent’s Peace Camp Initiative to continue their work in the cause of peace.
- We worked closely with Fair Trade organizations in the United States and Fairtrade organizations in Europe who share a mission to promote economic and social justice in the production and trade of agricultural products grown in developing countries and sold in developed countries. In addition to sourcing efforts we made to meet the requirements for Fair Trade/Fairtrade certification on several of our products, we paid licensing fees for the use of the Fair Trade/Fairtrade logo on our packaging. These licensing fees provided support for these organizations’ marketing activities to increase consumer awareness of issues related to trade justice and to build demand for Fair Trade/Fairtrade products. We also participated directly in Fair Trade month and Fairtrade Fortnight activities in the U.S. and in Europe designed to raise consumer awareness of Fair Trade.
- Our flavor Peace of Cake™, sold in the Netherlands, is the basis for a partnership with an organization called War Child, which runs programs that rehabilitate child soldiers from war-torn areas of the world and help to integrate them back into civil society. Sales of Peace of Cake™ ice cream in 2008 paid a royalty to War Child; Ben & Jerry’s hosted 25 Peace, Love and Ice Cream events in partnership with War Child; and, Ben & Jerry’s continued to operate a ‘pop-up’ scoop shop and run a ‘Peace Fridge’ rental program that provided additional exposure and funding for War Child. All these activities together helped Ben & Jerry’s acquire 2,210 new ‘friends’ for War Child in 2008.
SOCIAL MISSION GOAL 2:
Harmonize our global supply chain and ensure its alignment with our company values.
Ben & Jerry’s products are made in several different manufacturing plants in three countries. We remain committed to social and economic justice, sustainable and safe foods, environmentally friendly practices, and respect for people in all parts of our supply chain as we continue to grow. We intend to extend these commitments in the coming years in the following ways:
2A. Phase in sustainable packaging materials for all pint/500 ml containers.
Ben & Jerry’s plans to convert all of our pint/500 ml containers to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified paperboard in the coming years.
OUR STATUS IN 2008:
We worked with our packaging suppliers in 2008 to complete the audit process required to achieve FSC certification. We will begin to purchase FSC-certified paperboard for our U.S. pint containers in the first quarter of 2009 and expect to phase them in for all U.S. production by the end of 2009.
We are studying the feasibility and evaluating plans for converting our Canadian pint package and European 500 ml package to FSC-certified paperboard.
2B. Understand our climate impact from cow to cone and develop achievable plans to make positive change.
In the era of climate change, we believe we must find ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions even as our business grows globally. We intend to study our value chain carefully to help us understand where the best opportunities are to make and sell our ice cream with the lightest climate impacts.
OUR STATUS IN 2008:
Ben & Jerry’s has been collecting data on — and actively seeking to reduce — our climate impacts for many years. We have measured the carbon dioxide emissions associated with our Vermont manufacturing plants (which represent more than 80% of our total U.S. production) since 2001, and we have purchased offsets for all of these emissions annually since 2002. We also purchased carbon offsets for all employee air travel in 2008 for the third year in a row. In 2008, Ben & Jerry’s Vermont manufacturing emissions and employee air travel totaled 5,452 tons of CO2, which we offset through NativeEnergy, a nationally recognized provider of high quality carbon offsets.
In the United States, in order to better understand our climate impacts, we are in the middle of a project to complete a carbon inventory of our Company’s activities. We are working with carbon offset provider NativeEnergy to assist us in completing this inventory. We are using the widely accepted guidelines of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol developed by the World Resources Institute/World Business Council for Sustainable Development to measure Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions associated with production at our two Vermont manufacturing plants, which represent more than 80% of our total U.S. production; the transport emissions associated with the ingredients we buy, from the suppliers’ shipping dock to Ben & Jerry’s; the emissions associated with the dairy farming operations that supply our milk and cream; and the emissions associated with the refrigeration and distribution of our products to retailers’ warehouses where Ben & Jerry’s relinquishes ownership. Ben & Jerry’s products made in other Unilever plants in the U.S., representing less than 20% of our total production, are outside the scope of our current inventory. Preliminary results indicate that our primary climate impacts come from dairy farm operations and distribution. Additional information on Ben & Jerry’s emissions and offsets is available here.
In Europe, Ben & Jerry’s has partnered with a consortium of 40 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Netherlands known as the HIER Campaign to complete a full carbon life-cycle analysis (LCA) of Ben & Jerry’s greenhouse gas emissions from ‘cow to cone.’ The scope of the analysis includes the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of raw materials, manufacturing operations in our plant in Hellendoorn in the Netherlands, distribution, and end use. The project also included extensive consulting with the environmental engineering organization Ecofys and the Dutch Nature Conservancy to develop a detailed greenhouse gas reduction plan for our European business, which Ben & Jerry’s signed a contract to implement over five years from 2007-2011. We hired a Sustainability Manager for the Hellendoorn plant to manage the improvement projects within the factory.
Based on this analysis and the reduction plan and our Company’s pledge to purchase Gold Standard carbon offsets for unavoidable emissions through 2011, Ben & Jerry’s European business received HIER’s ‘Climate Neutral’ certification in May 2007. In 2008, we offset 26,600 tons of CO2 equivalents (based on a calculation of 1.03kg CO2 per 500ml of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and covering emissions from the period from May 1 through December 31, 2007) through provider South Pole Carbon Asset Management. Additional data on Ben & Jerry’s European climate impacts can be found in the background section of this report or on our European website.
Going forward, Ben & Jerry’s is committed to continued efficiency improvements in our U.S. plants and purchasing carbon offsets for all of the manufacturing emissions in our Vermont plants and employee air travel, as we have done since 2002. Our intention is to use the information from our carbon inventory study to determine additional future steps, which may include a lifecycle analysis of specific ingredients, efforts to influence changes on dairy farms regarding carbon emissions, and efforts to reduce emissions associated with distribution.
In Europe, we are committed to maintaining our Climate Neutral status as certified by HIER through the completion of our emissions reduction plan, additional efficiency improvements in our manufacturing operations, increased use of renewable energy and the purchase of Gold Standard VER carbon offsets.
In the United States, Ben & Jerry’s is also involved in a project to seek Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval of alternative hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerant gases that could reduce the climate impacts of our Company’s freezers and pave the way for wider acceptance of this technology. HC freezers have already been approved and widely deployed in Europe, as they are more energy-efficient than the previous generation of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) freezers — and they eliminate HFCs, which are a potent greenhouse gas. With support from our parent company, Unilever, we introduced fifty Ben & Jerry’s branded HC freezers in the United States in a pilot project while we seek EPA approval. If and when EPA approval is granted, we believe HC technology can significantly reduce the climate impacts of refrigeration in the United States.
SOCIAL MISSION GOAL 3:
Take the lead promoting global sustainable dairy practices.
One of Ben & Jerry’s core Company values is to support sustainable and safe methods of food production that reduce environmental degradation, maintain the productivity of the land over time, and support the economic viability of family farms and rural communities. Since ice cream is mostly dairy, we have made sustainable dairy programs a Social Mission priority.
3A. Develop a leading Sustainable Dairy program that acknowledges regional issues and incorporates regionally relevant models.
Working with partners in the Netherlands and in Vermont, Ben & Jerry’s has established two closely related Sustainable Dairy initiatives that help farmers to continuously improve practices on their farms.
OUR STATUS IN 2008:
In Vermont, we developed an On-Farm Assessment toolkit in 2006 as a part of our ongoing Dairy Stewardship Alliance program in collaboration with the University of Vermont, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, and our primary dairy supplier, the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery. The toolkit gives farmers detailed resources to evaluate their practices in ten areas of environmental, social, and economic performance. In addition, summary data allows farmers to compare their practices to other participating farms. By the end of 2008, 52 Vermont farmers had participated in the pilot program, having completed the toolkit a first time and identified changes to make on their farm. Fifty-five percent of these farmers actually implemented changes and completed the toolkit a second time to evaluate their progress towards more sustainable farming practices. The program has been funded largely by an $86,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture — Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education fund that was received in 2006.
In the Netherlands, where we source dairy for Ben & Jerry’s European production, we created a program called Caring Dairy in 2004 that helps farmers evaluate and continuously improve their practices against 11 sustainability indicators, which are based on the principles of Unilever’s Sustainable Agriculture program. After a pilot stage of building the program with eleven farmers, in 2007 we started a partnership with CONO Cheesemakers, allowing the program to scale up to 550 farmers. In 2008, 93 percent of CONO’s total dairy volume was covered under the Caring Dairy program. In return for a premium on their milk, participating farmers committed to an annual sustainability audit, participation in three workshops a year, and implementation of the improvement plans arising out of the workshops. Caring Dairy offered 131 workshops in 2008 on different topics related to sustainable practices, with a maximum of twelve farmers per interactive session. Also in 2008, we rolled out customized ‘Muddy Boots’ management software to all farmers to enable full program administration and to track performance improvements.
3B. Engage all our dairy suppliers globally in our Sustainable Dairy programs.
We intend to achieve this long term goal by building on the success of our Dairy Stewardship Alliance in Vermont and the Caring Dairy programs in the Netherlands.
OUR STATUS IN 2008:
In the United States, Ben & Jerry’s purchases milk from three suppliers. More than 80 percent of our total volume of production happens in our two Vermont plants in Waterbury and St. Albans, Vermont. In addition, some Ben & Jerry’s single-serve novelties are made in Hagerstown, Maryland. These three plants are supplied by the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, which is our partner in the Dairy Stewardship Alliance (DSA) program (see Goal 3A above). Participation in the DSA program is voluntary, and open to all Vermont farmers. By 2008, 52 farmers in the St. Albans Coop had participated in the DSA pilot program, which represents more than 10 percent of the Coop’s members.
We do not have sustainable dairy programs in place for the suppliers of milk and cream for Ben & Jerry’s products produced in Henderson, Nevada; or Sikeston, Missouri, which represent less than 20 percent of our total U.S. production.
We do not have a sustainable dairy program in place for our milk supply in Canada. Such a program has been difficult to implement in Canada because the dairy market is controlled by a federal supply management system.
In Europe, Ben & Jerry’s purchases milk and cream from one supplier, the CONO Cooperative. In 2008, 93 percent of the dairy volume CONO supplied to Ben & Jerry’s came from farmers enrolled in the Caring Dairy program (see Goal 3A above). We aim to achieve 100 percent participation by 2012.
We intend to further align the Dairy Stewardship Alliance and Caring Dairy initiatives in the future, possibly using the same indicators of sustainable performance; a common approach to continuous improvement via small interactive workshops; and common management software to track and eventually report on improvements. Detailed content of the programs, however, will continue to differ based on the different issues, legislation and market environment on both sides of the Atlantic.
3C. Activate consumers on issues related to sustainable dairy production and the preservation of family farms.
OUR STATUS IN 2008:
In 2008, we were active in our longstanding opposition to recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a genetically engineered growth hormone given to dairy cows to increase their milk production. All Ben & Jerry’s packaged pints and several of our single-serve novelties (where we had enough room on the label) carried a message that states “We oppose recombinant bovine growth hormone. The family farmers who supply our milk and cream pledge not to treat their cows with rBGH.” We have used this label language on our products since 1997.
In 2008, we partnered with a coalition of public interest groups in the United States to stand up for the right to put rBGH labels on dairy products. We believe rBGH labels help consumers to make informed choices about the foods they want to buy. But under pressure from biotech groups, many states considered laws or regulations that would restrict or ban rBGH labeling in 2008.
Ben & Jerry’s top management sent letters to the Governors of Kansas and Ohio, and state legislators and/or Agriculture Department officials in Kansas, Ohio, Missouri, Utah, New Jersey, and Indiana in 2008 to oppose restrictions on rBGH labeling. We sent email messages to Ben & Jerry’s fans in many of these states, and we used Ben & Jerry’s website to connect consumers in several states to our nonprofit partners on this issue. We intend to keep working until the challenges to rBGH labeling have been defeated.
We were also active in the movement to ensure careful oversight and regulation of cloned animals in the U.S. food supply in 2008, following FDA approval of these foods in January 2008. At a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., with several nonprofit partners, we publicly supported a national framework to track cloned animals so people and companies could have a choice to avoid cloned foods. We’ve talked to lawmakers, food safety experts, and the public via our website in an effort to build momentum for good policy in this area.
Neither recombinant bovine growth hormones nor cloned cows have been approved in the European Union. We are paying close attention to the regulatory response to cloned animals to look for opportunities to make our voice heard if necessary. But so far, our view on these technologies has been mostly in line with policy makers.
How We Work
Ben & Jerry’s has been making the finest all natural ice cream since 1978 when grade school buddies Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened their first scoop shop in Burlington, Vermont. Though we’ve never strayed from the boys’ original dream — to create unique and euphoric ice cream flavors while making a positive impact along the way — we have grown and changed in all sorts of ways.
Today, Ben & Jerry’s is owned by Unilever, and our packaged ice cream and novelties are sold in stores across the United States and in 29 other countries around the world. Our products are produced in pints, quarts, 500 ml cups, 2.4-gallon tubs, single-serve cups and individual novelties and are distributed in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, scoop shops, restaurants and other venues. Outside of North America, Ben & Jerry’s products are marketed and distributed by affiliated companies within Unilever, and a third-party licensee in Israel.
Ben & Jerry’s global business is managed out of our Central Support office in South Burlington, Vermont. Within Unilever, we are grouped with the Breyers®, Klondike®, Popsicle® and Good Humor® brands in the U.S. Ice Cream division, managed out of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors
Our Chief Euphoria Officer Walt Freese receives feedback and counsel on the Company’s direction from an independent Board of Directors, established at the time of the Unilever acquisition. The Board is responsible for advising and supporting Ben & Jerry’s senior management in maintaining and strengthening the Company’s three-part Mission Statement and protecting Ben & Jerry’s brand equity. This Board, which meets quarterly, includes several former directors of the Company with longstanding ties to the brand. Once again in 2008, the Board played a significant role in advising Ben & Jerry’s senior management on a number of important decisions.
Ben & Jerry’s is founded on and dedicated to a sustainable corporate concept of linked prosperity. Our mission consists of three interrelated parts:
Product Mission 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 the Environment.
Economic Mission 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.
Social Mission 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.
Underlying the mission is the determination to seek new and creative ways of addressing all three parts, while holding a deep respect for individuals inside and outside the company and for the communities of which they are a part.
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for the North American market is made in our manufacturing plants in Waterbury and St. Albans, Vermont and in a Unilever facility in Henderson, Nevada. We make Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for the European market in a Unilever facility in Hellendoorn, The Netherlands and for the Canadian market in a Unilever facility in Simcoe, Ontario. Our frozen novelties are manufactured at Unilever facilities in Sikeston, Missouri and Hagerstown, Maryland.
At the end of 2008, Ben & Jerry’s employed 529 people globally, as compared to 508 in 2007. Unilever’s Hellendoorn manufacturing plant, which makes Ben & Jerry’s for about half of its production, employs approximately 200 people, and 21 additional Unilever employees across the globe work on sales, marketing, and related functions for the Ben & Jerry’s brand.
As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s reports financial results for the purpose of this report based on an annual revenue reporting range provided by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). For 2008, Ben & Jerry’s revenue was between $200 million and $500 million.
Leading with Progressive Values Across Our Business
We have a progressive, nonpartisan Social Mission that seeks to meet human needs and eliminate injustices in our local, national, and international communities by integrating these concerns into our day-to-day business activities. Our focus is on children and families, the environment and sustainable agriculture on family farms.
- Capitalism and the wealth it produces do not create opportunity for everyone equally. We recognize that the gap between the rich and the poor is wider than at any time since the 1920s. We strive to create economic opportunities for those who have been denied them and to advance new models of economic justice that are sustainable and replicable.
- By definition, the manufacturing of products creates waste. We strive to minimize our negative impact on the environment.
- The growing of food is overly reliant on the use of toxic chemicals and other methods that are unsustainable. We support sustainable and safe methods of food production that reduce environmental degradation, maintain the productivity of the land over time, and support the economic viability of family farms and rural communities.
- We seek and support nonviolent ways to achieve peace and justice. We believe government resources are more productively used in meeting human needs than in building and maintaining weapons systems.
- We strive to show a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.
In order to make ice cream that’s a force for positive change, Ben & Jerry’s continues to search for ingredient suppliers who are aligned with our Company’s mission and core values. These are suppliers who, through their business practices or through their products, are expanding economic opportunities for the disadvantaged, leading the way to a more sustainable environmental or agricultural practices, or serving the cause of peace and justice. We call this project “Values-Led Sourcing” (VLS).
At times, we’re unable to find the quality we need in such VLS ingredients; supplies might not be up to our specifications or costs exceed what we can sustainably afford, but we can say that in 2008, 38 percent of the raw material spend (i.e., ingredients, dairy, packaging) for our North American production went to initiatives that we believe are aligned with our values. In Europe, 42 percent of our total ingredient spend (figure excludes packaging) went to initiatives aligned with our values. We anticipate that next year’s VLS percentage will rise significantly after we complete the phase-in of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paperboard for our United States pint packaging and the transition of virtually all our European dairy purchasing to our Caring Dairy supplier. Next year will also mark the introduction of a globally Fair Trade certified Chocolate Macadamia flavor, which will feature several VLS ingredients.
Some of the Values-Led Sourcing companies, organizations and ingredients that are a part of our supply chain include:
Milk & Cream
The St. Albans Cooperative has been our partner and primary supplier of cream and condensed milk ingredients in the United States for many years. The Co-op is a Vermont organization made up of some 500 family farmers. Ben & Jerry’s pays a premium to farmers of the Co-op for a pledge not to treat the cows that produce our milk and cream with rBGH, a synthetic growth hormone.
We buy milk and cream for our European production from Dutch family farmers. In May 2008, we completed the transition to purchasing all of our dairy ingredients from farmers in the CONO Cooperative, our partner in Ben & Jerry’s Caring Dairy program. All of these dairy ingredients are supplied without the use of rBGH, since this hormone has not been approved for use on dairy cows in the European Union.
Taking the lead on sustainable dairy is one of our Social Mission priorities. Read more about how we’re working to accomplish our goals here.
The brownies in several of our flavors, including Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Half Baked®, Magic Brownies®, and Bohemian Raspberry® come from the Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, NY, our partner since 1988. The bakery is owned by the Greyston Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to support low-income people and families on the path to self-sufficiency. Greyston’s programs reach over 2,000 people a year!
Fair Trade Ingredients
The Fair Trade movement (called Fairtrade outside North America) is an effort to help small-scale farmers in developing countries compete and thrive in the global marketplace. Ben & Jerry’s believes that the idea of Fair Trade aligns nicely with our Company’s core value to promote social and economic justice. That’s why we’ve sought Fair Trade/Fairtrade certification for several of our products.
The Fair Trade/Fairtrade logo is an assurance that farmers who grow key ingredients used in our ice cream are paid a fair price for their harvest, are members of democratically organized cooperatives, and are pursuing sustainable farming practices.
- All of the coffee extract we use in our coffee flavors (Coffee, Coffee Heath® Bar Crunch, Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz®) is Fair Trade Certified and comes from the Huatusco Cooperative, in Veracruz, Mexico.
- The vanilla extract in Ben & Jerry’s Smooth Vanilla ice cream produced in the U.S. and Europe is made with Fair Trade/Fairtrade vanilla beans from farmers in India, Indonesia, Uganda, and elsewhere.
- Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey® ice cream produced for the European market is now made with Ecuadorian-grown and Fairtrade bananas from El Guabo Cooperative.
- The cocoa powder in Ben & Jerry’s Smooth Chocolate ice cream in the U.S. and in the chunks and coatings for our European flavors Chunky Monkey® and Vanilla Toffee Crunch are Fair Trade/Fairtrade Certified, from cooperatives in the Dominican Republic and West Africa.
- As it says right on the pint, all Ben & Jerry’s Fairtrade flavors produced for the European market are made entirely with Fairtrade sugar, grown in Manduvira Cooperative in Paraguay. In 2008, these flavors included Vanilla Toffee Crunch, Chunky Monkey®, and Smooth Vanilla, and we plan to grow the list in the years to come.
Some of the nut products we use in our ice cream in the United States are supplied by the Superior Nut Company of Cambridge, Massachusetts. This company has a strong environmental commitment, and has been recognized with an Environmental Merit Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its tropical forest plantation in Central America. The plantation sequesters as much carbon dioxide every year as the company emits in its manufacturing operations.
Ben & Jerry’s Berried Treasure™ sorbet in the United States is made with blueberries that come from Wyman’s, a family-owned Maine business. Wyman’s pursues leading environmental practices and is a member of the Sustainable Food Lab, a leading-edge industry group pursuing sustainable solutions in the food industry.
We are about one third of the way towards achieving our goal of using only Certified Humane Cage-Free eggs in the United States by 2010. We are already sourcing all of our eggs used in our European ice cream from third-party certified ‘free-range’ suppliers. These standards ensure that laying hens have wholesome, nutritious food, access to clean water, and adequate space to engage in normal behaviors, among other criteria crafted by veterinary professionals.
Some of the strawberries in our Strawberry ice cream sold in Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops were sourced from Stahlbush Island Farm in Corvallis, Oregon, or Mike & Jean’s Berry Farm in Skagit County, Washington. Both companies follow sustainable farming practices in the use of pesticides and herbicides and are excellent stewards of the environment. However, we discontinued these supplier relationships in 2008 and we do not have a VLS supplier to replace them for 2009.
Outside of our Values-Led Sourcing initiatives, all of the suppliers for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream are expected to follow practices consistent with the Code of Business Principles of our parent company, Unilever. This code includes: continuous improvement in managing environmental impacts, safe and healthy standards for workers, and a firm commitment to human rights, among other things. Unilever is also a signatory to the U.N. Secretary General’s Global Compact of 1999, which commits the company to support and respect human rights within our sphere of influence.
SOCIAL MISSION CAMPAIGNS & FLAVORS
At Ben & Jerry’s, we’ve long believed that we should use our products and our communications about them to raise awareness about serious issues, from Climate Change to Fair Trade.
Here’s a quick rundown of the campaigns we mounted and the unique products we sold in 2008 with a Social Mission flavor.
Climate Change College (Europe)
2008 was the third and final year of a Ben & Jerry’s initiative to help raise awareness of climate change and to inspire young people in Europe to imagine and develop creative ways to address it. Climate Change College was a collaboration between Ben & Jerry’s, polar explorer and environmentalist Marc Cornelissen, and the World Wildlife Fund. Young people across Europe applied to be Climate Change Ambassadors, and we selected eight winners in 2008 from France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Winners studied climate change with a research trip to Alaska and participated in a nine-month business mentoring program to prepare to launch projects of their own conception, which Ben & Jerry’s supported with funding.
Projects launched in 2008 included
- A water saving program for restaurants
- The Green Slope skiing project
- The web site www.GreenDIY.ie
- We are Cool, an organization that helps companies go climate neutral
- A Business Travel ICT solution
- 2nd Generation Oil, an organization that aims to improve the environment through the production and use of biodiesel.
- The Worminator, an appliance to facilitate the recycling of food waste.
In addition, Climate Change College alumni from previous years have gone on to start their own eco-entrepreneurial businesses, work for climate change campaign organizations, and integrate sustainability into their work or school.
Imagine Whirled Peace Campaign (US)
In 2008, we launched a Peace campaign in the United States with the nonprofit group Peace One Day and The John Lennon Estate, with a new flavor, Imagine Whirled Peace® leading the way. We paid homage to the peace efforts of John Lennon and Yoko Ono by re-creating their 1969 “Peace Bed-In” by creating a bedroom in a large clear box truck and driving around New York City. Several people got “in bed” to raise awareness including Jeremy Gilley (founder of Peace One Day), Walt Freese (CEO of Ben & Jerry’s), actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Roy Kerwood (the original photographer of the Bed-In in 1969). We also launched a search to find modern-day peace ambassadors — a ‘Peace Pioneer’ Contest — for which more than 150 applications were submitted. We ultimately awarded $10,000 grants to Aaron Voldman, co-founder of the Student Peace Alliance — a national student and youth movement for a Department of Peace and Nonviolence; and Robert Kent, founder of the Peace Camp Initiative — a program that provides summer camp experiences for children in war-torn areas in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Finally, we made a two-year commitment of funding to Peace One Day for the development of curriculum materials on the subject of peace and nonviolent conflict resolution to be disseminated in U.S. schools in 2009.
Millenium Development Goals and ONE Campaign
As part of our launch of the ONE Cheesecake Brownie flavor, Ben & Jerry’s partnered with ONE.org in the United States and the Millennium Development Campaign in Europe and elsewhere to bring attention to the global effort to eliminate extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. We created a global campaign website designed to educate consumers on the campaign and drive membership in ONE, launched through a media event in Burbank, California in April. Co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield both spoke at the event, which included performances by the band Daughtry and the African Children’s Choir. As a part of the campaign, Ben & Jerry’s also participated in a global Stand Up Against Poverty event from October 17-19. All told, 116,993,629 million people (almost 2% of the world’s population!) ”Stood Up“ to take action against poverty, according to event organizers.
Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road (US)
On July 15, 2008, Ben & Jerry’s launched Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road™, a limited-release flavor intended to honor singer Elton John and his first-ever show in Vermont and to raise money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Leading up to the concert, we worked with Sir Elton’s camp to design the flavor profile and creative artwork. Sir Elton was welcomed to Vermont through an offering of the limited-batch flavor in local scoop shops and at the concert. All proceeds from the flavor were donated to the artist’s global foundation.
Royalties paid to nonprofit organizations
Every day around the globe, in scoop shops, shopping centers, and grocery stores, a percentage of sales of certain Ben & Jerry’s products are directed to nonprofit charitable organizations, including Fairtrade organizations. These products (and their 2008 contributions) include:
- Fairtrade Certified Vanilla, Chunky Monkey®, and Vanilla Toffee Crunch (EU) — contribute funds that support the work of Fairtrade labeling organizations in Europe and around the world — in addition to Fairtrade premiums paid to farmers for the ingredients they grow for us.
- Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream™ (US) — $158,513 to the Stephen Colbert AmeriCone Dream Fund and its mission to benefit children, veterans, and the environment.
- Dave Matthews Band’s Magic Brownies® (US) — $26,184 to Bama Works, a nonprofit organization that supports charitable programs in the Charlottesville, Virginia area including those serving disadvantaged youth, the disabled, protection of the environment, and the arts and humanities.
- Butter Pecan (US) — $33,305 to The Tom Joyner Foundation and its efforts to help students continue their education at historically black colleges.
- Butter Pecan (US) – $2,852 to The Tom Joyner Foundation and its efforts to help students continue their education at historically black colleges. We ended this nonprofit royalty payment in early 2009 when we used the Butter Pecan flavor for the Yes, Pecan! promotion in honor of the inauguration of Barack Obama as President. (See above.)
- Phish Food® (global) — $37,800 to the Waterwheel Foundation’s Lake Champlain Initiative, which protects the health of this beautiful lake on Vermont’s western border, and its surrounding watershed.
- Willie Nelson’s Country Peach Cobbler™ (US) — $84,972 to Farm Aid and its ongoing mission to support family-farm centered agriculture in America and to keep family farmers on their land.
- Bohemian Raspberry™ (EU) — €111,690 to the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS awareness charity set up in memory of the late Freddy Mercury, the one-of-a-kind leader of the rock band Queen.
- Peace of Cake™ (Netherlands only) – royalties paid to War Child, a Dutch nonprofit group that works to rehabilitate child soldiers from war-torn countries and to help them re-integrate into society.
- Baked Alaska (EU) — while not going to a nonprofit organization, a portion of the sales of this flavor were dedicated to supporting Ben & Jerry’s Climate Change College, where young people learn how to become climate change activists.
Ben & Jerry’s began as a single ice cream scoop shop in 1978, and though our business has expanded wildly since then, our roots are still firmly planted as a scoop shop company. Most are owned and operated by independent franchisees, although Ben & Jerry’s also operates a small number of company-owned stores. Some of our scoop shops are what we call a PartnerShop®, owned and operated by a nonprofit organization. By the numbers:
United States, Canada, & Bahamas
- 397 franchised scoop shops
- 8 franchises operated by non-profits (PartnerShop® stores)
- 7 company-owned stores (Vermont & New York City)
- 3 franchised scoop shops
Europe (13 countries)
- 357 franchised scoop shops, including cinema and seasonal locations
- 2 company-owned stores (UK)
Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, Turkey, Israel)
- 25 scoop shops
Latin America (Mexico)
- 46 scoop shops
Franchise System — B&J’s Responds to the Economic Downturn
With the economy in recession, 2008 was a very challenging year for the quick service restaurant industry in general and our scoop shops were not immune to this development. We opened fewer scoop shops than a typical year as we took some time to stabilize our model within the new economic reality. In addition, more shops closed in reaction to the troubled economy. We responded in a variety of ways to support our franchisees:
Ben & Jerry’s Chocolates
After much research and testing, we believe we are finally on track with a quality, all-natural line of chocolates that we have started testing in 27 scoop shops. In early 2009, we intend to expand the program to 52 stores and launch a Grab N’ Go program that will be available in all of our our shops.
Jump Start Program
We have continued to offer the Jump Start program to support struggling franchisees as they work to put their business on more solid footing. The Jump Start program, which offers additional operational and marketing support and royalty waivers, supported 25 shops in 2008.
We held the price of ice cream, yogurts and sorbets stable for franchisees. With costs of dairy and fuel rapidly rising and the competitive marketplace many shops are facing, we considered this measure critical.
Marketing and Sponsorship Support
We increased the marketing support for our scoop shops, including money for local advertising, and we funded a new sponsorship program that will help franchisees to further develop their business by sponsoring events aligned with Ben & Jerry’s values.
Gift Card Program
We made progress on implementing a national Gift Card program in scoop shops without adding significant cost burdens to franchisees.
Improving communications was again a top priority for us in 2008. We made tremendous strides in that direction by introducing the Rolling Cone (a new and improved extranet for our scoop shop operators and managers), System Wide and Regional Calls, and Regional Newsletters in addition to our regular visits, mailings, calls and training programs.
Strengthening the Brand
Global Retail Team and Global Franchise Meeting
2008 marked the first year that we regularly met as a global retail team. And once again, Ben & Jerry’s franchisees got together at the annual Global Franchise Meeting to network and share best business, environmental and social practices. In line with a longstanding Ben & Jerry’s tradition, this meeting kicked off with a community service project in a small fishing town called Puerto Morelos, just south of Cancun, Mexico. A primary school in a low-income neighborhood there needed a facelift, and — under a hot sun — our dedicated franchisees cleared trash and debris, planted flowers and shrubs, painted the exterior of the classroom buildings, installed new playground equipment, and overhauled the bathrooms. We also pledged $10,000 to the school for new technology. The 2008 community project left its mark not only on the school grounds, but also in the hearts of the participants who got a chance to connect with the local culture and make a real difference.
New Store Design
We invested in a new store redesign in 2008, and tested this design in three U.S. locations and one in the U.K. Cost consciousness and the use of sustainable materials were driving considerations in the design process; our flagship store in downtown Burlington, Vermont, for example, utilized sustainably sourced wood, recycled and recyclable aluminum, ceramic tile, low-volatile organic compounds paints, and even recycled milk crates and bottles for some of the lighting. Elements from this new design will be rolled out to the system in 2009.
Scoop Shop Community Action
Ben & Jerry’s franchisees take great pride in being part of their community, and virtually all translate our Social Mission into action. In 2008, Ben & Jerry’s franchisees directly contributed almost $500,000 worth of time, money, and ice cream (more than one million scoops, in fact) in support of local community projects and nonprofit organizations.
Free Cone Day
On April 29, 2008, we celebrated our 30th annual Free Cone Day. More than 1,500,000 free cones were given away in 18 countries. Events in conjunction with some Free Cone Day participating scoop shops included fundraisers for local, national and international charitable organizations. In the United States we raised over $215,000 in donations, and globally thousands more euros, pounds, Hong Kong dollars, and Canadian dollars for hundreds of nonprofit partners.
Franchise Social Mission Award
We established the Social Mission Award to honor franchise owners who embody the very essence of what Ben & Jerry’s was built on: the idea that businesses have a responsibility to give back to the communities from which they draw support. While all of our franchisees are involved in their communities, Social Mission Award winners have truly shined, and the 2008 winner was Doug Barrese, owner of the Charlottesville, VA scoop shop who supported everything from a local Food Bank, to a Girl Scout troop, to blood drives, to the Institute for Autism. We couldn’t be more proud of Doug as an ambassador of Ben & Jerry’s, and congratulate him once again!
In 2008, for the 23rd year, Ben & Jerry’s was once again able to send a team from our South Burlington office down to Boston in early June to participate in the Scooper Bowl, a gathering of ice cream companies and ice cream lovers joining together in support of a good cause — raising money for cancer research. The Vermont folks teamed up with Massachusetts area franchisees and scoopers and treated over 20,000 Scooper Bowl attendees to Ben & Jerry’s. All in, our team helped raise $354,000 for the Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s children’s programs.
Our Company’s statement of values includes the goal to create economic opportunities for those who have been denied them, and we’ve always felt that our franchised scoop shops offer a great opportunity to reach this goal. At the end of 2008, there were 211 distinct owner/operator groups for the 397 independently owned and operated Ben & Jerry’s shops in the United States and Canada. Of these owner/operator groups, we estimate 18 percentwere led by women and another 18 percent were led jointly by a male/female team. Furthermore, approximately 19 percent of our total owner/operator groups were led by people of African-American, Native American, Asian, or Hispanic ancestry.
A PartnerShop® is a Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop that is owned and operated by a youth-serving nonprofit organization. Ben & Jerry’s waives the traditional franchise and royalty fees for a PartnerShop® scoop shop and provides customized training to support the unique needs of the social enterprise. In turn, a PartnerShop® scoop shop offers youth facing barriers to employment a unique opportunity for developing job skills. All proceeds from PartnerShop® stores flow back to the parent nonprofit to support social programs. 191 young people were trained and supported in 2008 in eight United States Ben & Jerry’s PartnerShop® scoop shops.
The PartnerShop® scoop shops continued to face significant challenges, particularly given the serious economic conditions that a great number of our scoop shops were struggling with in 2008. Three shops closed: The Latin American Youth Center shop in Washington, DC; the YWCA of Fort Worth and Tarrant County shop in Ft. Worth, Texas; and Juma Ventures’ operations in Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The PartnerShop® model, in its current form, is not consistently achieving the outcomes that Ben & Jerry’s or our partners desire. With that in mind, we are thinking creatively about how we can evolve the model to maintain the best aspects of the program in a way that improves outcomes for everyone involved.
Eight shops remained open at the end of 2008. They are:
- West End Shopping Center (Lifeworks) — Austin, TX (closed Feb 2009)
- Downtown Houston (Houston Works) — Houston, TX (closed Feb 2009)
- Yamhill (New Avenues for Youth) — Portland, OR
- Stadium Village (Metro Community Investment) — Minneapolis, MN
- Woodward Avenue (Goodwill Industries) — Detroit, MI
- Squirrel Hill (Life’s Work) — Pittsburgh, PA
- North Columbus Crossing (Goodwill Industries) — Columbus, GA
- Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Juma Ventures) — Oakland, CA
Youth Training Programs — Cones to Careers
In much the same spirit as our PartnerShop® program, Ben & Jerry’s Cones to Careers program continues through our Vermont company-owned stores. This initiative provides youth who face barriers to employment with job skills and hands-on work experience through internships in our company-operated scoop shops. We partner with nonprofit organizations to ensure that our interns have the pre-employment training they need and on-going support to achieve their goals.
In 2008 we continued our successful partnership with Linking Learning to Life (LLL). Their mission is to improve the educational success and career prospects for youth through school, business and community partnerships. In 2008 we trained four LLL candidates at our Burlington scoop shop. Two were retained as permanent hires. Our company-owned scoop shops also continued to partner with LLL and the Vermont Lake Monsters baseball team (the Single A affiliate of the Washington Nationals). We trained four youth to work at an ice cream cart during weekend games throughout the summer. For the record, we are no longer running the Cones to Careers program in our company-owned store in New York.
We are also sad to say that, after a hot-and-cold three-year run, we discontinued our Scoopers Making Change Program in 2008, which supported scoopers in Ben & Jerry’s franchised scoop shops in designing and accomplishing community action projects.
1. SUSTAINABLE DAIRY (additional information)
Ben & Jerry’s has long been committed to supporting sustainable practices in the dairy industry — to making continuous improvements to existing farming practices in order to help make them more environmentally sound, socially just, and economically viable. In 2008, we continued our involvement in two ongoing projects in this area, one in Vermont and one in the Netherlands, where Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is manufactured for the European market.
The Dairy Stewardship Alliance
Since 2003, Ben & Jerry’s has been a part of the Dairy Stewardship Alliance, a partnership among Ben & Jerry’s, the University of Vermont’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the State of Vermont Agency of Agriculture, and the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery (our primary supplier of dairy ingredients). This initiative has enabled farmers to efficiently assess the social, environmental and economic aspects of their farm operations and has supplied them with information about sustainable dairy farming practices.
As a first step in 2003, we developed a comprehensive set of ten sustainability indicators for dairy farming, along with a set of educational modules that farmers could use to self-assess and improve their farm management practices and performance over time. This Toolkit was officially launched in late 2004 with a group of farmer-members of the St. Albans Coop. Participating farmers have used the Toolkit to evaluate their practices, compare their results to other farms, and learn how to improve their results.
In the same spirit as the Dairy Stewardship Alliance, Ben & Jerry’s launched the Netherlands-based Caring Dairy in 2003, in collaboration with Unilever’s Sustainable Agriculture Initiative, our milk supplier, local farmers, and Wageningen University. The goal was to make continuous improvements in the environmental, social, and economic performance of our Dutch dairy farmers’ operations. Soil fertility and health, soil loss, nutrient inclusion, pest management, biodiversity, and farm economics were but a few of the eleven areas covered in the program.
We are pleased to report that the impact of Caring Dairy is rippling outward from our initial group of participating farmers to CONO Dairy Cooperative’s 550 dairy farmers, and has had an ever-increasing impact on the sector as a whole. We also make our findings available to groups such as the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI) Working Group on Dairy, a food sector initiative working with more than twenty global food companies.
You can learn more about the Caring Dairy program and listen to its participating farmers at www.benjerry.co.uk/caringdairy
2. CLIMATE IMPACTS, ENERGY, EMISSIONS, EFFICIENCY, OFFSETS
This section provides additional information about Ben & Jerry’s performance related to energy use and climate impacts. For discussion of our goals and 2008 summary results, click here.
U.S. Energy Use and Emissions
Two Vermont manufacturing plants in the towns of Waterbury and St. Albans produce more than 80 percent of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for North America.
The energy sources for our Waterbury plant include fuel oil and electricity, purchased from Green Mountain Power. The St. Albans plant utilizes natural gas and electricity purchased from Central Vermont Public Service Company. Both GMP and CVPS buy most of their electricity from nuclear and hydroelectric generating plants, which are low CO2 emitting sources. Ben & Jerry’s manufacturing plants measure all direct energy use (fuel oil and natural gas) and indirect energy use (electricity) and their associated CO2 emissions.
The table below presents energy-saving initiatives completed in our two Vermont plants in 2008.
U.S. Carbon offsets
In 2008, for the seventh year in a row, Ben & Jerry’s offset 100 percent of the carbon emissions from our Vermont manufacturing operations. It was also the third year that we’ve offset carbon emissions from employee air travel. In all, we purchased offsets for 5,452 tons of CO2 emissions through NativeEnergy* for 2008. This is equivalent to eliminating over 10 million car miles, driving around the world 436 times, or removing 909 cars from the road for a year!
The carbon offsets associated with our 2008 emissions will be invested in a wind turbine located in Greensburg, Kansas. In 2006, that town was literally wiped out by a F5 tornado; in rebuilding, the community seized the opportunity to turn their town into “the greenest community in the country.” They are investing in everything from alternative fuels and LEED** certified buildings to renewable energy projects.
* A Vermont-based recognized leader in the U.S. carbon market that offers services that reduce carbon emissions to fight global warming.
** Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED offers a green building rating system, among other services.
Hellendoorn Energy Use and CO2 Emissions
Unilever’s Hellendoorn production facility in the Netherlands manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for the European market, though not all of this plant’s production is Ben & Jerry’s. Data presented below represents full performance data for all of the plant’s production.
To ensure that Hellendoorn is powered by renewable sources, we purchase our electricity from Essent, a Dutch power generator and broker, which is supplied exclusively with electricity from hydro-electric power plants in Sweden. This renewable energy is third-party certified by CertiQ.
The significant reduction in CO2 emissions identified in 2008 is the result of new Unilever reporting guidelines for emissions associated with renewable energy sources.
Hellendoorn Energy Saving Projects
When Ben & Jerry’s European operations received HIER certification as being Climate-Neutral in May, 2007, we identified a long list of efficiency improvements to make in our Hellendoorn plant. We are implementing these changes on a planned schedule over the next several years and will report on our progress annually.
Carbon Offsets in Europe
Our selection process for carbon offset purchases center around programs that provide social, economic and environmental benefits to a specific community. For offsets we purchased in 2008, we elected to invest in the General Starch Company, Ltd. in Thailand, for the purpose of building a wastewater treatment facility that captures high GWP biogas byproducts and combusts them to generate electricity.
Ben & Jerry’s is always looking for opportunities to evaluate and reduce the environmental impacts of our packaging.
For more information on our planned transition of our pint package used in the United States to a sustainable source, see our report on Environmental Goal #2.
Scoop Shop Packaging
The packaging used in Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops includes a wide variety of cold drink cups and various ice cream bowl sizes as well as spoons, straws, napkins and lids. Where we have been able to make substitutions for more environmentally sound choices, we’ve made the changes. Long ago we made that change with our paper napkins made from 100% unbleached, recycled content. The current multitude of changes in sustainable packaging research has required us to step back and evaluate the broader options for our scoop shops. We intend to make changes that reflect the needs of the business balanced against the best environmental options.
In 2008, we made the decision to transition away from the use of cups made from a renewable corn-based resin in United States scoop shops. We had some performance problems with the cups under extreme conditions and we felt we needed to understand the wide range of environmental impacts of growing corn for packaging use. Also, while the cups were compostable, most of them were not disposed of in places where they were actually composted. In 2009, we will move to a very lightweight polypropylene plastic cup, which appears to be the best current option from a resource-use standpoint. We continue to evaluate other options for the resins used to manufacture our cold cups for their environmental impacts.
Other Ben & Jerry’s paper packaging includes 100% recycled content paperboard (70% post-consumer) used in the boxes on our ice cream bars and several kinds of multi-pack display cases.
4. WASTE MANAGEMENT
Everything in Its Place
The creation of waste is an inevitable byproduct of any agricultural and/or business operation. For years Ben & Jerry’s has made it our business to not only generate as little waste as we can, but — when possible — to set goals for yearly reductions in the amount of waste produced. What follows is relevant waste data from 2008.
U.S. Solid Waste and Recycling — Vermont manufacturing plants
More than 80 percent of Ben & Jerry’s production in North America happens in two Vermont plants in St. Albans and Waterbury. These plants continue to work towards reducing solid waste and improving their recycling rate.
The increased solid waste generated per gallon of ice cream at the St. Albans plant in 2008 was the result of increased production of smaller-volume containers in this plant.
Product waste (also known as high-strength dairy waste or HSDW) is a byproduct of the manufacturing process. Due to its concentrated strength, HSDW cannot simply go down the drain to a treatment facility, and must be managed carefully. We have focused for many years on improving the way we manage this waste stream, and have arrived at a novel solution. Rather than pay for a vendor to manage the waste, we now ship a large majority of it to two methane digesters located on local dairy farms. These digesters not only accept the waste, but also generate energy as a by-product: a win-win for both farmers and Ben and Jerry’s.
The increased HSDW generated per gallon of ice cream at the St. Albans plant in 2008 was the result of increased production of smaller-volume containers in this plant.
Ben & Jerry’s is very conscientious about the amount of hazardous waste we generate. Our goal has always been to generate as little as possible, and to manage what we do produce in the most responsible way.
Notes: (1) The increase in “used oil” was due to regular equipment maintenance. Sampling indicated oil changes were needed on more equipment than the previous year. (2) The increase in lead-acid batteries came from a clean-out of old material, including computer items.
European Waste Management
Our work to reduce and eliminate waste continues in our Hellendoorn manufacturing facility.
Note: Since 2007, Hellendoorn’s non-hazardous solid waste has been measured at zero because all wastes were diverted from the landfill, being either recycled, fed to pigs, or incinerated for energy production.
- In 2008, the Hellendoorn plant reduced the amount of product waste generated by 13 percent below the previous year. What we did generate, 1,157 metric tons total, we sent to a nearby farm, where it was fed to pigs. We call our combined efforts to reduce product waste our “Pigs on a Diet” program.
- We also implemented a pint strainer, where ice cream with any sort of quality defect is sieved from the pack: the ice cream goes to the pigs, and the pack is managed at a waste-to-energy incinerator.
- We now use two fruit feeders in the production of Chocolate Fudge Brownie, which gives a more stable chunk feed-in, and produces less waste than one fruit feeder running at its maximum capacity. This has the effect of reducing waste in the production process by 37%, compared to 2007.
- We now recycle waste in the employee restaurant including bottles and cans.
- We have increased our recycling efforts on cardboard and plastic in the factory (a 26 percent increase in materials recycled, compared to 2007).
- We completed a project to reduce the amount of fresh ingredients we purchase that go “out-of-date” in 2008. A team of planning, distribution and quality assurance employees successfully reduced our “out-of-date” waste by -41 percent (from 313 metric tonnes in 2007 to 134 metric tonnes in 2008).
5. WATER USE AND WASTEWATER
Water plays an important role in our manufacturing operation. We use water to make our ice cream and we need water to clean all the pipes, floors and tanks in the plants. Since water is a precious natural resource, we are mindful of our water use and strive to minimize our use and waste.
Water Use — Vermont Manufacturing plants
Two Vermont manufacturing plants in Waterbury and St. Albans produce more than 80 percent of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for North America. Relevant data for these plants are provided below.
European Water Use
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for the European market is manufactured in a facility in Hellendoorn, the Netherlands. Ben & Jerry’s represents only part of the plant’s total production. Data for this plant is provided below.
6. GREEN TEAMS
Each of Ben & Jerry’s Company sites has a Green Team, comprised of employees interested in environmental issues. These employee-led teams come up with projects, activities, and events that highlight relevant environmental issues within the Company and beyond. Green Team highlights for the year include:
St. Albans, Vermont
- In support of Vermont’s Greenup Day, 40 employees and family members met at the St. Albans Bay Park to clean up the area.
- On Arbor Day, each employee received a young cedar tree.
- We staffed a booth at the St. Albans facility, wherein Efficiency Vermont members answered questions regarding home energy efficiency issues and demonstrated new and efficient home appliances. As part of this event, we sold approximately 500 compact fluorescent lamps to employees at a reduced price.
- On two occasions, we spent the day with staff members from Efficiency Vermont to sell compact fluorescent bulbs to the public at community events. At each event, anyone who purchased a bulb received a free scoop of ice cream.
- Our Green Team Book Club continued its mission to recycle (as in re-read) old books.
- Hand dryers were installed in production restrooms in order to reduce waste.
- We participated in Vermont’s Way to Go Week to encourage carpooling and alternative transportation.
- The Caught Doing Something Green program was initiated, which recognizes employees who do something good for the environment.
- An Environmental Awareness Week for all employees was conducted, which included the sale of energy efficient light bulbs and the distribution of energy conservation information from Efficiency Vermont.
Corporate Offices, South Burlington, Vermont
- We held a Localvore Breakfast, highlighting locally raised and produced foods.
- We participated in Vermont’s Way to Go Week to encourage carpooling and alternative transportation.
- We held a silent auction to raise money for a local nonprofit.
Europe — Hellendoorn, The Netherlands
The Green Teams in our European factory completed the following projects in 2008 to reduce our environmental impacts by reducing or eliminating waste:
- Implemented a program to recycle cans and bottles in the employee restaurant.
- Began project to recycle paper towels in production restrooms.
Within our own backyard, we continue to value our niche as a unique brand with a unique style, even in the larger, more complex organization of our parent company, Unilever. Our generous workplace practices and our relaxed company culture at our Vermont sites are an important part of maintaining the right balance.
Some Ben & Jerry’s employees working outside of Vermont, including our European brand team in Windsor, U.K., and a handful of brand development people in Asia receive Unilever benefits and workplace programs in their locations.
In Vermont, highlights in our 2008 workplace included the following:
We completed a global reorganization in 2008 to continue evolving our role as the fastest growing global ice cream brand within Unilever while staying true to our three-part Company Mission. Various human resources initiatives were completed to support the implementation of this new structure, including the creation of new job descriptions for some positions, the hiring and orienting of key new talent, and — where appropriate — adjusting compensation.
Livable Wage Policy
Ben & Jerry’s is committed to paying all of its full-time manufacturing workers a livable wage. In 1995 we established a method for calculating a livable wage benchmark for Vermont. We defined it as the starting wage for a single person that will sustain a reasonable quality of life to include expenditures for housing, utilities, out-of-pocket health care, transportation, food, recreation, savings, taxes, and miscellaneous expenses. Since then, we’ve adjusted this livable wage annually to ensure the relative value is sustained in today’s marketplace.
Ben & Jerry’s livable wage benchmark for 2008 started at $13.06 per hour, but we revised it upwards to $13.25 per hour halfway through the year in response to significant inflation in the broader economy in 2008 and specifically the rising cost of gasoline. This hourly wage translates to $27,560 per year. For comparison, in 2008, the minimum wage in Vermont was $8.06/hr ($16,765/yr) and the national minimum wage was $6.55/hr ($13,624).
Every full-time Ben & Jerry’s employee is eligible for some form of variable pay over and above their base pay. In 2008, Ben & Jerry’s salaried exempt employees and salaried non-exempt employees were eligible for the Variable Pay Award (VPA) plan which allocates bonuses based on the Company’s financial performance and the individual’s progress on goals and targets. Ben & Jerry’s company-owned scoop shop managers received variable pay through Ben & Jerry’s Retail Incentive Plan which is calculated based specifically on criteria relating to scoop shop sales and performance criteria.
Ben & Jerry’s full-time hourly manufacturing employees were eligible for bonuses and incentives in 2008 through a “Keys to Enterprise” (KTE) plan. The KTE payout in 2008 included cash; ‘Ben Bucks,’ our own in-house currency which can be redeemed in Company stores; and other awards. The average value of the KTE payout in our Vermont plants in 2008 was just over $510 per employee, up from $474 in 2007.
Ben & Jerry’s maintains a competitive benefits package that includes many unique elements. In addition to standard benefits such as health care and 401(k) matching, all Ben & Jerry’s employees have access to company-sponsored memberships to local fitness centers; health screening programs; personal financial planning advice; on-site lactation rooms; an on-site Company store that stocks a wide variety of Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever products; and a hybrid car purchase incentive, among other things. Employees at the Central Support office in South Burlington also have an onsite workout facility and a dog-friendly workplace.
New People Mission initiatives for 2008
In response to our 2007 Global People & Social Mission surveys, a grass-roots employee team participated in an all-site brainstorming session to generate ideas and suggestions to improve employee engagement and address ongoing issues. Some of the outcomes of the session were:
- An updated brand immersion orientation.
- An all-company meeting entitled Fun at the Fair was planned, but postponed for lack of funding. Our 30th Anniversary Birthday Bash, held at the Flynn Theater in Burlington, became our all-company celebration for the year. We plan to hold an all-company event in 2009.
- An Adopt-a-MOM program was established, providing teams not reporting to a specific member of Ben & Jerry’s senior leadership team a channel for communication and support.
- Nine out of twelve job vacancies were filled this year, including three international positions to support the new global structure. Regular communication of new hires and vacancies took place at site meetings and via email announcements.
- Employee compensation was reviewed, resulting in a number of our employees receiving off-cycle salary increases — a part of our enduring commitment to thoughtful and competitive compensation practices.
Global Brand Ambassador Training
We launched a week-long brand immersion session — the Global Brand Ambassador Training program — for the people responsible for growing the Ben & Jerry’s brand within Unilever organizations world-wide. The program introduced international brand champions and new employees to the unique culture, history, product, and business that is Ben & Jerry’s. Nine new employees attended, with 24 more (six from the Waterbury facility) participating in the creation and/or implementation of the orientation process.
We established a Wellness Team within Ben & Jerry’s in 2008; the team created a survey that was sent to all employees in the South Burlington location to gain feedback on various health-related needs. Based upon the results, changes were made to a number of current programs, which have helped boost employee participation in Wellness initiatives (including health screenings, flu shots, and on-site massages) to 43 percent.
We also have a shared community garden space at our South Burlington location, which allows our employees to get exercise and enjoy healthy foods all at the same time!
The Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness awarded Ben & Jerry’s a gold award for our Wellness Program this year, recognizing our “outstanding programs” and “models that other Vermont work sites should strive to emulate.”
Ben & Jerry’s is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity in our workforce. We believe that when we leverage the skills and experiences of employees from diverse backgrounds and experiences, our whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. One tangible element of this commitment — one that holds a deep respect for individuals inside and outside our Company — one that holds a deep respect for individuals inside and outside our Company — is our application of Affirmative Action practices to look for conspicuous imbalances in our workforce and take positive steps to correct them. Affirmative Action plans focus on equality in hiring, training, promoting, and compensating employees. We are proud to say that this year (and once again), for the facilities where we completed analysis, there were no areas in which statistically significant adverse impact to our employees were found.
Phase Two of a two-year facilities revitalization project was launched in our Central Support offices in South Burlington, Vermont, including the upgrading of carpet, data systems upgrades and the further upgrading of cafeterias.
Within our South Burlington office, Ben & Jerry’s donates office space to DREAM, a nonprofit mentoring organization that matches college mentors with young people growing up in subsidized housing projects. Thanks to a nomination from DREAM, and in recognition of our financial and volunteer support for DREAM, Ben & Jerry’s was the recipient of the Spirit of Service Award in 2008 presented by The Corporation for National and Community Service.
Leadership Development & Training
Through our parent company Unilever, we organized a number of employee training programs in 2008 hosted at Ben & Jerry’s facilities, including workshops on Career & Development Planning, Time & Priority Management and Working Cross Culturally.
A two-day Leadership Development program was created and implemented for the newly established Global Brand Team in January, which included assessing our team’s effectiveness and reviewing useful methods for resolving conflicts.
Employee Recognition Programs
Ben & Jerry’s recognizes and celebrates outstanding employee contributions to our business through the following programs:
Busted Hump Award (69 awarded in 2008)
A peer-to-peer honor that provides an opportunity for timely and tangible peer-to-peer recognition and celebration of contributions to the business that are important to fulfillment of the Company’s mission.
Applause Pause Award
Provides an opportunity for co-workers to recognize and celebrate employee contributions by providing a spontaneous, monetary pat on the back for a job well done. The recipients receive a certificate of appreciation and some Ben Bucks (up to $25.00 equivalent), which can be redeemed at the Unilever Employee Store or Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops.
An annual award in which the Company recognizes, rewards and celebrates employees who have made an exceptional business contribution while preserving and promoting Ben & Jerry’s culture, social mission, and organizational values. All full-time and regular part-time employees are eligible, and recipients receive an engraved statue and a cash gift of approximately $2,000.
Forty-five service awards in the form of gift certificates were handed out in 2008 to recognize employees who reached significant career milestones with the Company, starting at five years of tenure.
Communication and Company Meetings
The company holds a wide variety of meetings for the purposes of communicating important information to employees, including:
— Quarterly — Business updates, including department presentations on new products, initiatives, and employee service recognition.
Comfy Couches Meetings
— 20+ held — Informal short-notice gatherings to keep employees apprised of timely company news.
— 6 held — Video Live Meetings driven by Unilever to communicate global business information.
— 6 held — On-site, informal meetings with company leadership over lunch open to all employees to share information on projects or concerns.
Community Service and Activities
Participation in community action projects is one of the most enjoyable ways for Ben & Jerry’s employees to give back to the community. For more information on group community service activities that were sponsored by Ben & Jerry’s, see our section on Giving Back.
Our employees are also encouraged and supported in taking on individual service projects. South Burlington employees have a paid community service benefit that totals 40 hours per year. Salaried workers in our manufacturing plants who do community service on their personal time are given up to three days of additional community service time off on a day-for-day matching basis.
For the record, here are the totals of individual volunteer hours contributed under these programs:
- South Burlington — 529 hours
- St. Albans — 1,118 hours
- Waterbury — 1,378 hours
A Founding Belief
Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen once asked:
Why can’t business seek to make positive contributions to society — even if a particular decision isn’t based on the least-cost solution? Why can’t companies contribute to the health of the communities where they do business?
— from Values-Driven Business: How to Change the World, Make Money, and Have Fun by Ben & Jerry’s cofounder Ben Cohen and Mal Warwick (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2006)
Jerry Greenfield, our other co-founder, put it even more succinctly:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. As you give, you receive. Or, to put it in a more “businesslike” way: one hand washes the other.
— from Ben & Jerry’s Double-Dip: How to Run a Values-Led Business and Make Money, Too (Simon & Schuster, 1998)
These thoughts have inspired us over the years to think carefully about the many communities where we have a presence — and the meaningful ways we can make a contribution to their quality of life. Involvement in the support of local projects and programs — big and small — is not only good business, it’s an indispensable component in our three-part mission to make a superior product, prosper economically in sustainable ways and recognize the role that business can play in building a better world.
In that spirit, here are some of our community-based program highlights for 2008:
Community Action Teams
Ben & Jerry’s Community Action Teams (CATs) are employee-directed groups at each of our Vermont sites that make small grants to local community organizations, and organize annual community service projects. CAT grants are in the $100-$1,000 range, and support schools and after-school programs, community recreational programs, arts groups, local conservation projects, and more.
2009 CAT Projects:
- South Burlington — 45 employees participated in a day of work at the Food Works Farm and the Vermont Foodbank.
- St. Albans — 240 employees participated in projects to benefit Camp Abnaki, United Way International, and The Humane Society.
- Waterbury — 96 employees participated in a project to benefit the Lamoille Area Recreation Center and Thatcher Brooks Natural Playground Project.
- Waterbury Mini-CAT — 32 employees participated in projects to benefit the Waterbury Food Shelf, Vermont Foodbank, and the Worcester Volunteer Fire Department.
Other Community Service
Individual Service — — Our employees are also encouraged and supported in taking on individual service projects. South Burlington employees have a paid community service benefit that totals 40 hours per year. Salaried workers in our manufacturing plants who do community service on their personal time are given up to three days of additional community service time off on a day-for-day matching basis. Here are the totals of individual volunteer hours contributed under these programs:
- South Burlington — 529 hours
- St. Albans — 1,118 hours
- Waterbury — 1,378 hours
Global Brand Meeting — 65 participants in our global brand meeting completed a 6-hour service project at Vermont’s Camp DREAM in May, building infrastructure to serve children from low-income housing projects. We also made a cash donation to the camp totaling $10,000.
Global Franchise Community Gathering — In line with a longstanding Ben & Jerry’s tradition, we kicked off this annual event with a day-long community service project renovating a primary school in a low-income neighborhood in Puerto Morelos, just south of Cancun, Mexico.
Community Involvement, at Home and Around the World
Both in our Vermont home and globally, Ben & Jerry’s sponsors all kinds of charitable activities in local communities. Here’s a sampling:
We sponsored the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival, held on August 3 at the Burlington, Vermont waterfront. The event raises awareness and funds to find a cure for breast cancer.
We sponsored dozens of local Vermont organizations working in the arts, education, and the environment, with cash support for events and activities totaling $83,000.
Our corporate office sponsored over two-dozen community events in Vermont, ranging from a Sustainable Living Expo to the Burlington Book Festival. At many of these events, our Scoop Truck doled out free ice cream just for the fun of it. All together, we donated over 400 gallons of ice cream and hundreds of hours of staff time at these community events.
We gave away ice cream totaling $39,900 to various organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada. We also gave away 10,000 free Ben & Jerry’s pint coupons to support the work of over 1,500 nonprofits outside the state of Vermont. Closer to home, we donated over 1,000 gallons of ice cream to Vermont nonprofits through both our manufacturing plants and Vermont’s Finest (our in-state distributor). On top of the Company’s donations, our scoop shop owners gave away thousands of gallons of ice cream to support the work of nonprofit organizations in their local markets. To spur themselves on to even greater heights of generosity and community involvement, the Franchise Advisory Council decided to set aside $40,000 out of their system-wide marketing budget to fund a unique Matching Bulk Program that reimburses individual scoop shops for half of the cost of ice cream donated to nonprofit organizations.
We discontinued our ‘Factory Seconds’ program in 2008. In previous years, this program sold Vermont-produced ice cream that didn’t meet first quality standards at a discount in mom-and-pop stores in Vermont. The program also paid a contribution towards local charities designated by participating stores. New production procedures in our plants have virtually eliminated our supply of ‘factory seconds,’ so we don’t have the ice cream to run the program anymore. We regret the loss of revenue for local charities.
Around the World (a few snippets):
We made a one-time contribution of $20,000 to the El Guabo banana cooperative in coastal Ecuador for the purchase of buying a Bobcat loader. El Guabo — with its more than 350 producers — is a supplier of Fairtrade banana puree to our European business and is considered a model for how agri-business can contribute both financially and equitably. The Bobcat was a critical need, particularly in the aftermath of severe flooding in the area in early 2008.
We put on our annual Sundae on the Common Festival in London, U.K., to the delight of tens of thousands of people who enjoyed live music, free ice cream, and all sorts of wacky events. We also purchased carbon offsets through MyClimate for all emissions associated with the event, totaling €25,000. These offsets supported the development of renewable wind energy in Madagascar.
We donated €20,000 to Reseau Cocagne in France, a nonprofit that supports sustainable organic food production throughout the country that employs disenfranchised workers. Reseau Cocagne manages 115 gardens (both vegetable and flower) in France, and employs 3,000 workers, 450 managers, and 1,200 volunteers.
For more info on our involvement in other countries around the world, please see our “Country Capsules”.
THE BEN & JERRY'S FOUNDATION
The Foundation — Greening the Grassroots.
The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable foundation (and a separate entity from the Company) established in 1985 to offer competitive grants to nonprofit, grassroots organizations throughout the United States that facilitate progressive social change by addressing the underlying conditions of societal and environmental problems. In addition to the Foundation’s original endowment, Ben & Jerry’s makes yearly donations based on a formula related to total sales. In 2008, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc. contributed $1,944,700 to the Foundation, a 14 percent increase over the previous year.
The Foundation’s funding priorities include organizations that: 1) help ameliorate an unjust or destructive situation by empowering constituents; 2) facilitate leadership development and strengthen the self-empowerment efforts of those who have traditionally been disenfranchised in our society; 3) support community movement-building and collective action.
Ben & Jerry’s employees are extensively involved in the grant-making activities of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, in part because Foundation dollars derive from the hard work of the Company’s staff. The Foundation administers four programs under the direction of employees, which collectively awarded grants totaling $1,401,974 in 2008.
National Grant-Making Program
A nine-member Employee Grant-Making Committee — representing each of the three Ben & Jerry’s sites in Vermont — makes grants to national and Vermont-based nonprofit organizations to support progressive social change and environmental work. Members volunteer to join the committee, are selected by Foundation staff, and are expected to serve three-year terms. Grants are made ten times a year, and range from $500 to $15,000. In 2008, the National Grant-Making Program distributed $1,145,650 in grants to 118 organizations. A complete list of national grants can be found here.
Multi-Year Capacity-Building Grant
In 2007, Ben & Jerry’s Foundation piloted our first ever multi-year grant for Vermont-based and Vermont-focused nonprofit organizations that meet our overall mission of working for progressive social change through a grassroots organizing strategy. The grant provides a maximum of $25,000 per year (for up to three years) for capacity-building purposes.
In 2008, we awarded our second three-year grant to ALANA Community Organization: a statewide, nonprofit, research, education, and advocacy organization dedicated to building inclusive and equitable communities in Vermont. ALANA provides training, technical assistance, coaching and advocacy services to individuals and institutions in the areas of civil rights, diversity, anti-bias education, and multiracial education. The grant will support its statewide expansion and transition from a direct service provider to an organizer for systemic change within Vermont’s institutions.
Employee Matching Gift Program
In order to encourage and support employees’ personal generosity, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation initiated an Employee Matching Gift Program in 1998. When employees make donations to nonprofits of their own choice, the Foundation matches dollar-for-dollar (up to $2,000 per employee annually). In 2008, 12 percent of staff participated in the program, and the Foundation matched $26,074 in employee donations. In addition — and as a reaction to the high cost of food and fuel — the foundation offered to double match donations to local food shelves and programs that help low-income people afford heating fuel. The program ran during the months of November and December, and generated an additional $5,200 to nonprofit organizations for these specific purposes.
Community Action Teams
Each of the Company’s Vermont sites (Waterbury, St. Albans, and South Burlington) has an employee Community Action Team, or CAT. These teams review and administer small grant requests (generally $100 to $1,000) which support the work of Vermont-based nonprofit organizations. In 2008, the three Community Action Teams distributed a total of $180,250 in grants to organizations such as:
- Good Beginnings of Central Vermont (http://centralvt.goodbeginnings.net)
- Association of Vermont Recyclers (www.vtrecyclers.org)
- Lund Family Center (www.lundfamilycenter.org)
- DREAM (www.dreamprogram.org)
Community Action Teams - Community Improvement Projects
In addition to its grantmaking functions, Community Action Teams also direct the energies of Ben & Jerry’s employees toward community improvement projects. Read more about these projects in 2008 here.
Plant Managers’ Discretionary Fund
$5,000 is made available each year to the plant managers at the St. Albans and Waterbury sites to be used for corporate citizenship purposes and the support of activities of local civic organizations that may not be eligible for Community Action Team grants.
The U Fund
A special fund established when Unilever acquired Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, the U Fund makes grants to organizations dedicated to education and activism in matters dealing with globalization and social justice. Managed by Ben & Jerry’s Foundation trustees, the U Fund made three donations in 2008 (totaling $115,000) to the following organizations:
- Save Darfur (www.savedarfur.org)
- Jobs with Justice (www.jwj.org)
- Project South (www.projectsouth.org)
Other Grant Programs
The Foundation trustees and staff may make grants to nonprofit organizations in the areas of children and families, environmental restoration, sustainable agriculture, and peace through understanding and/or in support of the Company’s Social Mission initiatives (but not for sponsorships, promotions, or other marketing purposes). In 2008, $100,000 in other grants were distributed to various organizations, including:
- Friends of Burlington Gardens (www.burlingtongardens.org) — $10,000 for a community garden mini-grant program and technical assistance.
- Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (www.vhcb.state.vt.us/viability.html) — $1,000 to support a Farm Viability Conference.
- Green Up Vermont (www.greenupvermont.org) — $6,000 to support an annual day of raising public awareness about the benefits of a litter-free environment in the State of Vermont.
Grant Recipient Spotlights
Though we don’t have the space to write about all of the groups we fund, these three represent some of the important work that the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation is proud to support.
- The Farm Worker Pesticide Project (www.fwpp.org) received a $15,000 grant from the Foundation in 2008. FWPP acts as an advocate, organizer, educator and researcher and leverages resources — both for and within the farm worker community — to move growers away from pesticides that hurt farm workers and families, and toward alternatives that are truly safe, just and sustainable. The grant supported community organizing, media work, and alliance building.
- The Louisiana Bucket Brigade (www.labucketbrigade.org) received a $15,000 grant from the Foundation in 2008. The LABB is an environmental health and justice organization supporting grassroots action to produce neighborhoods free from industrial pollution. They train both fenceline neighbors (people who live next to industrial polluters) to document the pollution they live with, as well as community members to use air sampling buckets and other tools to monitor and expose industrial pollution as it happens. They also organize and empower residents by educating and training residents regarding emissions and health data, by publicizing leaks, accidents and emissions, and by providing ongoing strategic advice and planning for community groups’ campaigns.
- Western Regional Advocacy Project (www.wraphome.org) received a $15,000 grant from the Foundation in 2008. WRAP is a collaboration of leaders from key social justice-oriented homeless organizations in seven major West Coast cities working to make ending homelessness a national priority. WRAP helps to ensure that legislators in Washington, DC receive a consistent, constituent-informed message from the West Coast to shape public policies that address the systemic causes of poverty, and advocates for basic human rights among that distressed population of people.
What Our Consumers Tell Us
At Ben & Jerry’s, social and environmental values are integral to our business, so we encourage our fans to share their thoughts with us on just about any topic, not just about our ice cream. Many do. The opportunity that this gives the consumer services team for personal interaction with our customers and for capturing both qualitative and quantitative data is invaluable; we learn how to be careful listeners, we find out whether people think we’ve fallen short or gotten things right, and we always make an honest effort to explain where we’re coming from.
Messages from 2008
We heard from a lot of people in 2008. In all, nearly 13,000 people took the time to contact us about our Company’s products, practices, and social mission activities last year in the United States. (Consumer data from other countries was not available at the time of this report’s publication.) This number was down significantly from 2007, when we had 20,000 contacts. E-mail continues to lead the way as the most popular method of communication, followed by letters and phone calls.
Though the amount of product praise communication was down for the year (as was communication virtually across the board), we noticed an increase in generally positive “I love it!” comments about the product line. A considerable number of positive comments focused on Ben & Jerry’s ongoing social and environmental missions, too, most notably concerning:
- Our fight against the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH).
- Our community support programs, particularly the work done by our Community Action Teams (CATs).
- Our environmental programs, including our push to use environmentally-friendly freezers, our support of sustainable farming practices, and the announcement that in 2008, our European operations received HIER’s certification as ‘carbon neutral.’
The five most common complaints we heard from consumers were in the areas below:
- Product Texture. It’s always a challenge to keep ice cream frozen and at the right temperature from our factory all the way to our fans; and we always get some complaints of what we call ‘temperature abuse’. Overall, however, texture complaints were down 4 percent from 2007.
- Ingredient Ratio. Sometimes our ice cream ends up with too many cherries and not enough Garcia. It’s hard to please everyone in this regard, but complaints in this category increased by less than one percent over the 2007 level. Complaints about too few add-ins increased slightly; complaints about too many add-ins were up by more than a third! Which probably proves that you can’t please all the people all the time.
- Product Flavor. Complaints in this category increased across many categories, with “under-flavored” as the top complaint (up 2 percent). Other product flavor complaints that rose in 2008 included “not good” “sour/off” and “stale/old.”
- Franchise. Complaints in this category increased by 6 percent, with franchise/scoop shop service complaints as the most numerous (though down 31 percent from last year). We also saw a notable increase in the number of pricing complaints and those pertaining to gift certificates/coupons.
- Add-In Ingredients. We heard more complaints about the quality, taste, color, freshness, and formulation of the add-ins in our ice cream in 2008 which has prompted us to take a closer look at procedures we use to handle and process them. As a brand that’s known for the chunks and swirls in our ice cream, it’s an issue we take very seriously.
A Global Mission
We don’t have the space or time to tell you everything about how our Company is acting on our Social Mission around the world, but here’s a sampling. Feel free to visit Ben & Jerry’s global websites for more about our activities in specific countries..
Ilmastotalkoot — Ben & Jerry’s was proud to be the first company to participate in Finland’s Ilmastotalkoot, a program which aims to combine the expertise of seven of the biggest advertising agencies in the EU to create an environmental media campaign valued at €4 million. Campaign messages will detail simple ways for people to fight climate change, among other topics. An introductory seminar featured a number of lecturers, including Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission Director Anniek Mauser, who spoke on just how effective climate-friendly corporate strategies can be.
Car-Free City — For our Autoton päivä, or Car-Free City event, we donated free ice cream to people using public commuter transportation. We timed the event to coincide with Finland’s car-free day, in which some streets were blocked-off from cars, and commuter tickets for buses and trams were less expensive than normal. Ben & Jerry’s patrols fanned out to the bus and tram stops and stations to thank people for doing their bit, and gave out nearly 5,000 free scoops of ice cream.
Charity Christmas Cards — To kick off the holidays, we sold Christmas cards from our scoop shops across the country, and Ben & Jerry’s donated €1 per card to charity.
Free Cone Day — On February 21st, Ben & Jerry’s French team organized a special event in La Défense, Paris’ most important business district. The team spent the day trying to raise awareness of Fairtrade certified flavors, as well as to raise the morale of the employees in the district, who have been hard hit by the $7.1 billion rogue-trading scandal at French banking giant Société Generale. The Company team was supported by employees and volunteers from Max Havelaar (the French Fairtrade organization).
In Support of La Défense — For our Autoton päivä, or Car-Free City event, we donated free ice cream to people using public commuter transportation. We timed the event to coincide with Finland’s car-free day, in which some streets were blocked-off from cars, and commuter tickets for buses and trams were less expensive than normal. Ben & Jerry’s patrols fanned out to the bus and tram stops and stations to thank people for doing their bit, and gave out nearly 5,000 free scoops of ice cream.
Climate Change College — Marie-Laure Geai, CCC Ambassador for France, acted on her belief that snowboarders and the resorts they enjoy must go green. To that end, she launched her own program to dispense eco-advice and to bring the snowboarding community together under a common cause. Part of her program included developing a pamphlet and a series of lectures in the resort-rich Chamonix Valley promoting sustainable water and energy management in hostels.
Our Free Cone Day, held at scoop shops in Cologne and Berlin, was a huge success, with 3,000 scoops given away and nearly €1,000 raised for a number of local NGOs. In Berlin, DJ Motte (the founder of Berlin’s Love Parade festival), brought music to the masses in front of the scoop shop, and helped celebrate a special “Free Cone Love Parade Day!”
The first two weekends in September marked the first introduction to Ben & Jerry’s in Greece and what better place than at Allou Fun Park in Athens? The event was set up right next to the scoop shop, at which people were invited to come over and try out their basketball skills; shots were aimed at Ben & Jerry’s buckets (corresponding to different flavors) and everyone who hit a shot got a free scoop. Some 2,600 people attended, and 1,328 scoops were given away.
Free Cone Day was held on September 23rd and some 2,496 scoops were given away. The day was marked by a number of charity fundraisers with the help of our partner, the Crossroads Foundation. In all, we raised HK$29,355 for a number of local charities. The figures are all the more amazing because the city was actually hit by a typhoon that same day, which caused events to shut down early.
Climate Change College — Cara Augustenborg, CCC Ambassador for Ireland, developed the site www.GreenDIY.ie to help Irish consumers find information about sustainable materials and methods to use in do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. The site was featured as the Irish Times Eco Website of the week, and has received lots of other positive publicity both in Ireland and abroad, attracting readers from 69 countries! One associated program of the site is The Green DIY Learning House, which featured more than 25 products and ten tips to inspire people to begin ‘Green DIY’ projects in their own homes. The House was displayed outside a major shopping center in Ireland in September, and — in a single day — prompted more than 85 people to sign a pledge to do a specific ‘Green DIY’ activity in their homes. The story of Cara’s time as an Ambassador for the CCC and the ‘Green DIY’ campaign is going to be included in an upcoming children’s book on Climate Change by Nicola Davies.
Ben & Jerry’s opened our first scoop shop in Italy on March 18th in the UCI Cinemas of Lissone (near Milan).
No fewer than 60,000 cones were given away on Free Cone Day, and 4,000 pints were donated to a food bank charity. At a special event Christmas party, 280 cones were given away at a local orphanage.
In 2008, we tested a pilot ‘open factory’ tour in our Hellendoorn plant, where Ben & Jerry’s is made in Europe, inspired by the success of the Waterbury Factory Tour in Vermont, which just happens to be the biggest tourist attraction in that state. We set an initial target for 3,000 consumers to visit and view the factory, and we reached the goal in September. While the program demonstrated great employee enthusiasm for the brand, we think we can improve the experience further, so we decided not to move to a full-scale open factory at this point. An expanded tour experience is now being developed to coincide with Hellendoorn becoming a 100% Ben & Jerry’s Factory in 2012.
An employee-led social mission plan has also been developed in our Hellendoorn plant, similar in concept to our Community Action Teams in the U.S. Under the plan, employees will be given the opportunity to volunteer to participate in community projects, philanthropic grants will be given to local charities, and a Company employee-gift matching program will be initiated. The social mission plan has been funded to support staff time and associated expenses with a €77,000 endowment from the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, along with a €103,700 commitment from the Hellendoorn Management team.
Climate Change College — Aart van Veller, CCC Ambassador for the Netherlands, is currently completing his university studies while managing his own business called We Are Cool. Committed to inspiring businesses to reduce their energy consumption and pollution impacts, We Are Cool (www.wijzijnkoel.nl ) supplies specific techniques to accomplish those goals. Aart’s biggest current client is MTV in the Netherlands, and while he’s been greening their business practices, they’ve documented his business journey on-air.
Peace in the Park — In June, Amsterdam was the site for Peace in the Park: a day-long celebration of world peace, with plenty of our flavor, ‘Peace of Cake’ on hand. More than 700 people attended, sampled Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for free, and sipped glasses of prosecco, while listening to Netherlands pop star Sandy Dane sing a variety of tunes, including her new “Peace, Love & Ice Cream” (Ben & Jerry’s and SONY/BMG).
Grazing Cow Day — To spread the word about our Caring Dairy program of sustainable dairy farming to the German and Dutch media — and in partnership with the CONO Dairy Cooperative — we celebrated the time-honored Grazing Cow Day in March. This annual Dutch celebration marks the Spring day on which cows can go outside and roam after a long period of being inside in the barn for the winter.
Lisbon for the Climate Initiative — We participated in this multi-tiered effort for Earth Day to help the citizens of Lisbon make their city an example of sustainability and environmental respect and draw attention to climate change. We brought costumed polar bears along to help with street marketing; and used a print and e-mail campaign; and did concentrated outreach to local universities to collect nearly 10,000 signatures on a petition to city leaders to move swiftly in response to climate change.
Climate Change College — Filipe Miguel Moreira Alves, CCC Ambassador for Portugal, Filipe piloted Lisbon’s first cooking oil recycling service in 2008, turning this waste product into second-generation bio-diesel for use in municipal garbage vehicles. Filipe’s NGO expects to collect 2,000 liters of oil monthly, which would achieve a monthly reduction of seven tons of CO2 emissions.
A total of 49,950 cones were given away at various events, at which SGD$ 6,791 was raised for the Singapore Children’s Society.
On Free Cone Day 2008, 91,000 scoops were given away, including 66,000 single-serve ‘Shorties.’ In conjunction with Free Cone Day, we (along with partners Accion Natura and Fundacion Prosegur) held a fundraiser entitled Apadrina un Árbol to raise money for reforestation work, which netted some €1,500.
Climate Change College — Inés Reverter, CCC Ambassador for Spain, worked to address water shortages through a restaurant partnership that combines the installation of water saving equipment and consumer-facing communication in a chain of restaurants in the city.
Sweden and Denmark
On Free Cone Day, we served 1,500 free scoops in Denmark and 6,000 in Sweden. On the same day, we raised €200 for Save the Children in Denmark and approximately the same amount for Sweden’s chapter of the World Wildlife Fund.
Climate Change College — Jakob Rutqvist, CCC Ambassador for Sweden, developed his idea that internet communications technology (ICT) could be a key answer to rising CO2 emissions caused by increased business travel. He established a program that works with businesses in Sweden to help them cut unnecessary business travel through effective use of ICT. His program features a web portal (www.travelless.se) to both share ICT strategies and help businesses quantify the savings they make in emissions and money as a result of implementing them.
New Scoop Shop Rollouts — In 2008, we opened our second, third, and fourth Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops in Turkey, in a trendy cinema, a premium shopping mall, and on one of Istanbul’s busiest streets, respectively. We also ran a launch competition wherein our consumers sent us their wishes for a better world 2008. Not surprisingly, happiness, a cleaner environment, and peace were among the most popular wishes.
Gediz Delta Campaign – With the motto, “The only thing we cannot freeze is time,” we partnered with The Doga Foundation to lend our weight to efforts to protect the Gediz Delta, an important wetland area in Turkey that is home to ten percent of the world’s flamingos and hundreds of other bird species. We sponsored a press launch and offered other financial support to raise awareness of this important issue.
Sundae on the Common Festival — For the fourth year, Ben & Jerry’s held our Sundae on the Common Festival in London’s Clapham Common in July. The two-day festival featured live music, fairground attractions, and loads of free ice cream.
Edinburgh School Project — In conjunction with a meeting of the U.K. Retail Field Team, we undertook a project at the Cockenzie Primary School in East Lothian, Edinburgh, Scotland. The aim was to enhance the garden for the pre-school and nursery age students, enabling the children to explore their surroundings, learn how to care for the environment through gardening, and to grow their own food. Our work included landscaping, tree planting, and laying a sand labyrinth path. Of course, we also brought the teachers and children a taste of the best ice cream in the world!
Climate Change College — Erika Nagae, CCC Ambassador for the United Kingdom, launched a social enterprise compost business. Passionate about diverting food waste from landfills, her project goal was to worm her way into the food business and close the loop on their food waste through vermiculture (worm composting). She targeted food waste generated by fifty students living in shared-kitchen dorms at the University of Manchester. Worm composting bins were installed in the kitchens as both a testament to how easy and effective composting is, and as test to determine whether the bins would be a socially and economically viable option for universities to consider on a wider scale. As part of her efforts, Erika raised grass roots awareness by distributing campaign postcards, maintained a program blog (http://erika.ccc.yournewspage.com), and made numerous appearances on TV, radio, newspapers, and internet media.
INDEPENDENT ASSURANCE LETTER
To the Stakeholders of Ben & Jerry’s Inc.:
We have been engaged to conduct an examination of the Selected Data identified below which is contained within the Ben & Jerry’s Inc. Social and Environmental Assessment Report for the year ended December 31, 2008. Ben & Jerry’s Inc. management is responsible for the Data and the selection of which Data would be included in the scope of this examination. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Selected Data listed below based on our examination.
Our examination was conducted in accordance with attestation standards developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board’s ISAE 3000. These standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the Selected Data are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and statements included in the Selected Data. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.
Non-financial data is subject to more inherent limitations than financial data, given both the nature and the methods used for determining, calculating, sampling or estimating such data. We have not carried out any work on data reported other than the 2008 Selected Data, prior reporting periods, nor in respect of future projections and targets. We restrict our opinion to the Selected Data.
In our opinion, the Selected Data for the year ended December 31, 2008 is fairly presented, in all material respects.
LeBlanc & Associates, LLC
September 23, 2009