Welcome to Ben & Jerry’s 2010 Social and Environmental Assessment Report. Here’s a glance at some of our current efforts to make positive change in the world through our business.
Ben & Jerry’s has a three-part mission that aims to create prosperity for everyone that’s connected to our business: suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers, and neighbors alike.
You can read the whole Ben & Jerry’s Mission Statement at www.benjerry.com/values.
WE FOCUSED ON THREE MAJOR SOCIAL MISSION GOALS IN 2011.
Use our Company to further the cause of Peace and Justice.
Fair Trade Ingredients. We believe the Fair Trade movement is one of the best things to happen to capitalism in a long time! (Or, if you prefer the European spelling, it’s the Fairtrade movement.) In a nutshell, Fair Trade is a promise to pay a fair price to farmers in developing countries for their harvest. On their end, Fair Trade farmers agree to use fair labor practices, to employ environmentally friendly farming practices, and to invest in their communities. Fair Trade is a way to use the global economy to serve people, not the other way around! Ben & Jerry’s is going Fair Trade for all of the commodities that we buy from developing countries where we can have a significant, positive impact on farmer livelihoods. Our commitment to Fair Trade is global, though we are at different stages of the Fair Trade conversion in different parts of the world. For example, all Ben & Jerry’s flavors produced and sold in Europe are slated to include Fairtrade-certified ingredients by the end of 2011, such as Fairtrade cocoa, Fairtrade vanilla, Fairtrade sugar, and Fairtrade coffee. In the United States, we are transitioning to Fair Trade vanilla and cocoa over the course of 2011 . In the U.S., we already buy a growing percentage of Fair Trade coffee and we will begin to use Fair Trade sugar in the coming years. The truth is, we haven’t figured out every last detail of the transition, but we’re committed to going as far as we can to align our purchasing of key commodities with the Fair Trade movement.
Fair Trade Towns & Universities. Fair Trade will only succeed in its mission to create social, economic, and environmental benefits in developing countries if ice cream-lovers and coffee-drinkers and morning banana-eaters understand what Fair Trade is – and seek out products with the Fair Trade logo. That’s why Ben & Jerry’s is teaming up with local Fair Trade activists in the U.S. to get their towns and universities to go Fair Trade. For example, some of the proceeds of our new flavor, ”Late Night Snack“ are earmarked to support the Fair Trade Universitiesorganization; and several of Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops have supported their local communities’ efforts to become Fair Trade towns. The last time we checked, there were 23 Fair Trade towns in the US, including Burlington, Vermont, our Company’s hometown. In Europe, where the Fairtrade movement has been around for even longer, there are hundreds of Fair Trade towns – with 500 in the United Kingdom alone!
Peace Partnerships. One of our favorite days of the year is September 21 – the International Day of Peace. In 2010, we celebrated in the U.S. by teaming up with the Student Peace Alliance to advocate for the Youth Promise Act, groundbreaking legislation to scale-up proven programs that reduce youth violence. We scooped ice cream at six peace events around the country and got more than 1,000 people to call Congress to voice their support. Best of all, one of our events was an ice cream social for the U.S. House of Representatives, where 900 Congressional staffers showed up to learn more about the Youth Promise Act. The bill came close to passage but fell victim to partisan squabbling in the lame duck session of Congress. (Sigh.) We continue to look for ways to support the goals of the Youth Promise Act and other policy ideas to make our country more peaceful.
In Europe, we are still partnered up with Warchild, a nonprofit that helps child soldiers in war-torn countries re-integrate into society and reclaim their childhood. We support Warchild financially and through awareness-building events.
Ben & Jerry's Foundation. Part of Ben & Jerry’s commitment to social and economic justice is our support of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, which makes grants to grassroots activists making positive change in their own communities. Through the Foundation, we’re helping immigrant workers, neighborhood groups, farm workers and dozens of other groups around the country to get organized and fight for a fair deal. In 2011, Ben & Jerry’s contributed $2,180,808 to the Foundation based on the 2010 sales of the Company.
Ben & Jerry’s is going Fair Trade for all of the key commodities that we buy from developing countries where we can have a significant, positive impact on farmer livelihoods. Our commitment to Fair Trade is global, though we are at different stages of the Fair Trade conversion in different parts of the world. For example, all the cocoa, vanilla, sugar, coffee, and bananas we bought for our European business were Fairtrade-certified by the end of 2011. Most of the chunks and swirls we’re famous for also made the Fairtrade transition in 2011. Meanwhile, in the U.S., we made good progress on our transition to Fair Trade vanilla, cocoa and coffee over the course of 2011, and more Fair Trade ingredients are on the way. The truth is, we haven’t figured out every last detail of the transition, but we’re committed to going as far as we can to purchase Fair Trade ingredients for our ice cream. Find out more about where we are in our Fair Trade transition in an upcoming section devoted to it.
Scoop Shop Community Action. Here’s a shout out 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. Every year, our franchisees contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in time, ice cream, and sponsorships in support of community projects of all sizes and shapes, from Green-Up Days to Food Drives to Hunger Walks. On Free Cone Day, many of our franchisees team up with local charities to raise awareness and money from free ice cream seekers who flock to their shops by the thousands. Even better, several Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops are actually owned and operated by nonprofit organizations. These ‘PartnerShops’ use the scoop shop as a platform to achieve their mission of helping young people facing challenges to gain job and life skills. You can learn more about our current PartnerShops here.
Make ice cream that’s aligned with our values.
Cage-free & Free-range Eggs. It’s old news that all Ben & Jerry’s ice cream made and sold in Europe uses certified ‘free range’ eggs in the ice cream base – we made that transition in 2005. What’s new is that after four years of hard work, we are 99% of the way to our goal to use only Certified Humane cage-free eggs in the ice cream base of our products sold in the U.S. and Asia. The remaining 1% represents the eggs we put into Ben & Jerry’s ice cream novelty bars sold in the U.S. – and one “no-sugar added” flavor sold in U.S. scoop shops. We are still working to solve the logistical challenges to get all the way to 100% Certified Humane cage-free egg sourcing, which we consider the Gold Standard of egg production standards. We are happy to see many more companies and brands following us on the journey towards cage-free eggs.
Sustainable Packaging. For years, we’ve been working to reduce the negative environmental impacts of our packaging materials. In 2009, we phased in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paperboard for all of our U.S. pint containers. The FSC certification means that the paperboard comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife habitat, maintenance of biodiversity, avoidance of genetically modified tree species, and protection of traditional and civil rights, among other Rainforest Alliance criteria for healthy forests. We are beginning a project to get FSC paperboard into the paperboard that we use in our Canadian and European packaging.
In addition, the boxes that we use for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream bars in the U.S. are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paperboard. We are still exploring to find even better materials for all of our products that can stand up to the demands of the freezer and that won't bust open when we dive into a pint with a little too much élan.
Climate Change. We continue to devise and pursue plans to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to respond to the challenge of climate change, which is real, which, in our opinion, humans are clearly creating, and which isn’t going away anytime soon. In our Vermont manufacturing plants, we have invested aggressively in energy-efficient technology from cooling systems to lighting to water and waste management systems. With an eye towards closing loops in our supply chain, we now send dairy waste from our Vermont plants back to two of the farms that supply us with fresh dairy ingredients. Our waste is put into methane digesters with other farm waste – where it generates energy to power the farm! In 2010, we evaluated the feasibility of putting solar panels on our Waterbury, Vermont factory but we decided to pursue other projects with a better environmental and economic return at this time. For the tenth year, we offset all of the emissions associated with our Vermont manufacturing facilities and employee air travel with the help of Vermont-based NativeEnergy, a nationally recognized provider of high quality carbon offsets. All of our U.S. offsets support the development of new sources of renewable energy.
Meanwhile, in Europe, we have achieved ‘Climate Neutral’ status according to the standards of HIER, a consortium of forty NGOs. This means we’ve committed to a demanding multi-year carbon emissions reduction plan and the purchase of Gold Standard carbon offsets for all of our annual emissions. Part of the plan includes the installation of a bio-digester at our manufacturing plant in Hellendoorn, the Netherlands, which will turn the factory’s dairy waste into energy.
All Natural. In 2010, we made a small change to some of our product labels on our U.S. packaging that got outsized attention: we removed the words “all natural”. Despite the label change, we haven’t changed anything about our approach to our ingredients. In the past, we have based our use of the term “all natural” on guidelines issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which reflect how reasonable consumers would understand that term. The issue is that there is no legal definition of “all natural” for ice cream so there are varying opinions on the subject. The bottom line: we’ll continue to use ingredients that align with our Company’s Mission and values; and we’ll continue to turn them into the most euphoric ice cream on the planet.
Cleaner, Greener Freezers. We’re still hoping to start a revolution in America, but ironically enough, we’re waiting on government permission. Our vision is that the entire country will switch over to hydrocarbon (HC) freezers that are significantly more energy-efficient and use gases with lower global warming potential than standard freezers, which use hydrofluorocarbons (HFC). We’ve already got 250 of these next-generation HC freezers in a successful pilot test around the U.S., and we’ve petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to allow their widespread use. We expect to hear back soon, clearing the way for cleaner, greener freezers in the USA. A side benefit: they're cheaper to run than the old HFC freezers. In Europe, HC freezers are already in widespread use, including many that contain Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
Take the Lead Promoting Global Sustainable Dairy Practices
Caring Dairy™. We’ve been working with dairy farmers in Vermont and the Netherlands for many years to help them push towards the leading edge of sustainable dairy practices. Our Caring Dairy™ program – now up and running in both places – sponsors and supports farmers on their journey of continuous improvement in their social, environmental, and economic performance. In 2010, we had 71 farmers enrolled in Caring Dairy from the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, our primary supplier of dairy ingredients in the United States. These 71 farmers produce a volume of milk equivalent to 63% of Ben & Jerry’s needs, and we’ll sign on more farmers in 2011 until we reach 100%. Our Dutch dairy supplier, CONO Cheesemakers, has more than 90% of its nearly 500 farmers participating in Caring Dairy, more than enough to cover Ben & Jerry’s dairy needs. Our long-term goal remains to engage all of our dairy suppliers around the world in sustainable dairy partnerships.
rBGH. Almost twenty years ago, Ben & Jerry’s came out in opposition to the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a genetically engineered hormone given to cows to increase their milk production. We think rBGH is a step in the wrong direction towards a chemically-intensive, high-tech food system that has unacceptable social and environmental costs. In the U.S., we require our dairy farmers to pledge that they don’t treat their cows with rBGH, and our products carry a label that states our opposition to rBGH. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that there is no significant difference between milk from rBGH-treated and untreated cows. But in Canada and most European countries, rBGH has never been able to win government approval, so in those countries, it's one less thing we have to worry about. We are still working with a coalition of nonprofit groups and companies in the U.S. to defend our right to label our products and, ultimately, to end the use of rBGH in the U.S. dairy industry.
Good Food Policy. In September of 2010, we whipped up a special batch of a flavor we called “Something’s Fishy” to express our opposition to the US Food and Drug Administration’s preliminary decision to allow genetically engineered (GE) salmon into the U.S. food supply. At a media event in front of the White House, we joined with several public interest groups to ask the Obama administration to block FDA’s approval of this first-ever GE animal intended for food production. While we don’t use any fish in our ice cream, we know that genetically engineered cows and other animals are in development. And at Ben & Jerry’s, we believe the ethical, environmental, and economic risks of tinkering with animal genes for food production are unacceptable – certainly until such time as we have a fuller understanding of what we’re getting ourselves into. Even worse, the U.S. doesn’t have any regulatory framework in place that’s designed to comprehensively evaluate the risks of these newfangled animals. The scene is different in many other countries, where GE animals have not come up for approval yet – or where ‘novel foods’ regulations are generally clearer and stronger. We’ll keep speaking out for good policy in this important arena of ‘novel food technologies,’ as we have with rBGH and cloned animals in earlier years.
How We Work
Ben & Jerry’s has been making 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 more than 30 other countries around the world. Our products are produced in pints, quarts, 500 ml cups, 2.4-gallon and 4.5 liter tubs, single-serve cups and individual novelties; and these 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 Jostein Solheim 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 business. Once again in 2010, the Board played a significant role in advising Ben & Jerry’s senior management on a number of important decisions. Notably, the Board provided strong support for the scale-up of the Values-Led Sourcing program, including a commitment to pursuing Fair Trade certification in a comprehensive fashion across Ben & Jerry’s products sold globally.
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 U.S. frozen novelties are manufactured at a Unilever facility in Sikeston, Missouri.
At the end of 2010, Ben & Jerry’s employed 497 people globally, as compared to 510 in 2009. The small decrease is primarily due to the closing of some company-owned stores in the United States in 2010. Unilever’s Hellendoorn manufacturing plant, which makes Ben & Jerry’s for a significant portion of its production, employs approximately 200 additional people; and about 25 other Unilever employees across the globe (amounting to about 15 full-time equivalents) work on sales, marketing, and related functions for the Ben & Jerry’s brand.
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 the past few years, Ben & Jerry’s has been working to develop a better way to measure our Company’s progress towards achieving Social Mission goals. We have finally completed work on the first iteration of our Quality of Results (QoR) metric. 2010 is the first year we are using the QoR framework with actual data.
The primary purpose of the QoR is to give Ben & Jerry’s management, Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors and Unilever management a clear scorecard by which to evaluate the Company’s social and environmental performance. The shared goal of all three parties is to increase the total QoR score at a rate faster than the rate of the Company's sales growth — as required by the unique acquisition agreement between Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s.
For 2010, the QoR includes 13 components, each of which measures the social and environmental performance of a specific aspect of Ben & Jerry’s business, as follows:
- Chunks & Swirls
- Non-GMO Transition
- Materials (Packaging & Office)
- Community & Activism
- Environment & Climate
- Minority Sourcing
- Franchisee Engagement
In this public report, we intend to share key indicators within the QoR that best illustrate our progress in each focus area — and an indication of the yearly change in the QoR score. Our goal is to be as transparent as possible with the QoR data, but for a variety of reasons, we cannot share all the data publicly. In Ben & Jerry’s style, we won’t shy away from reporting key indicators even if they show that we’re not measuring up to our own standards.
The QoR is intended to be a measure of Ben & Jerry’s global business. In some cases, we do not yet have systems in place to measure social and environmental impacts everywhere we have a presence. We hope to expand the scope of the report each year as our capacity allows, with the ultimate goal to have a fully global QoR metric.
The QoR metric is independently audited by LeBlanc & Associates, an independent, third party. You can read the auditor’s opinion on this report here.
Fresh cream and milk make up more than half of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. So we’ve always tried to make sure our Company’s values — including support for safe and sustainable food production, family farms, and rural communities — are reflected in the milk we buy.
For over two decades, we’ve been buying milk for our Vermont production from the St. Albans Cooperative in Vermont, made up of about 450 family farmers; and we have required all of our farmers to pledge not to treat their cows with rBGH, an artificial growth hormone. In the Netherlands, where we produce ice cream for the European market, we buy milk from CONO Cheesemakers, made up of about 500 family farmers; rBGH is not even legal in the Netherlands, so it’s one less thing we have to worry about!
We’ve also been working with these dairy farmers in Vermont and the Netherlands for many years to help them push towards the leading edge of sustainable dairy practices. Our Caring Dairy™ program – now up and running in both places – supports farmers on their journey of continuous improvement in their social, environmental, and economic performance.
Quality of Results:
In 2010, Ben & Jerry’s had 71 farmers from the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery enrolled in our Caring Dairy program. These 71 farmers produce a volume of milk equivalent to 63% of Ben & Jerry’s needs in the U.S. Our goal is to sign on more farmers in 2011 until we reach 100% of our total dairy volume used in the U.S.
Our Dutch dairy supplier, CONO Cheesemakers, had 436 of its 483 farmers, or more than 90%, participating in the Caring Dairy program. These farmers supply more than enough milk to cover all of Ben & Jerry’s dairy needs for all of our European production.
In 2011, our Caring Dairy farmers will begin to report their farm performance data that reflects their participation in the program. Next year, we intend to factor in average farmer Caring Dairy performance scores to our Quality of Results measurement.
We have not implemented Caring Dairy with our three smallest suppliers of milk and cream, serving our factories in Canada; Henderson, Nevada; and Sikeston, Missouri. Rather than develop separate Caring Dairy programs in these places, our intention is to enroll additional Vermont farmers in the Caring Dairy program — enough that these additional farmers will produce an equivalent volume of milk to what Ben & Jerry’s uses in these other factories. We believe this so-called ‘mass-balancing approach’ is the most efficient and high-impact way that we can drive improvements in the dairy sector.
There’s plenty of sugar in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, no doubt about it. Our goal is to make sure our sugar is coming from suppliers who are doing right by their workers and following environmentally friendly farming practices.
In Europe, we have been phasing in Fairtrade sugar in all Ben & Jerry’s products since 2010; and in North America and Asia, Fair Trade sugar is in our plans for the years ahead.
Quality of Results:
In 2010, 16.4% of the sugar used in all Ben & Jerry’s ice cream base mix, globally, was Fairtrade certified. In Europe, 56.3% of the sugar we bought was Fairtrade, primarily from Belize; none of our sugar bought in the U.S. or Canada was Fair Trade. At this time, the supply of Fair Trade sugar for the North American market is very limited, so we are working with Fair Trade organizations to develop this supply over the next few years.
As we proceed through our Fair Trade conversion in the next few years, we anticipate this metric will show significant improvement.
Several years ago, Ben & Jerry’s decided to switch to using cage-free eggs in our ice cream. We were convinced by the research that shows cage-free egg systems, combined with rigorous third-party certification, allow hens more opportunity to engage in normal behaviors such as roosting, scratching, and stretching their wings.
As one of the earliest companies to commit to cage-free, we were ahead of the market and had to make the change in stages so the cage-free egg industry could catch up with our demand. We also had logistical challenges of our own to solve. We went ‘free-range’ for our European egg supply in 2005; and we began to go cage-free in the U.S. in 2007. As of 2011, we are very close to completing this conversion.
Quality of Results:
As of April 2011, Ben & Jerry’s was 99% of the way to our goal to use only Certified Humane cage-free eggs in the ice cream base of our products made in the U.S. The remaining 1% represents the eggs we put into Ben & Jerry’s ice cream novelty bars sold in the U.S. — and one “no-sugar added” flavor sold in U.S. scoop shops. We are still ironing out the final logistical challenges to get all the way to 100% Certified Humane cage-free egg sourcing, which we consider the Gold Standard of egg production standards in the U.S.
All of the eggs we use in the ice cream base of our European production — that’s 100% — are ‘free range’ eggs, certified by Control Production Eiren and KAT.
The eggs we use in our Canadian production are conventionally sourced and are not cage-free at this time. It is in our long-term plan to transition these eggs to cage-free, but we face significant logistical challenges at this time.
The bottom line: globally, 99.2% of our eggs were cage-free or free-range by April 2011, up from about 88.3% at the end of 2009. We are happy to see many more companies and brands following us on the journey towards cage-free eggs.
Beyond the cage-free egg transition, we are also working to make sure that the eggs we buy are sweetened with Fair Trade sugar. In 2010, 48.2% of the eggs we purchased for our European ice cream were processed with Fairtrade sugar, but neither Canada nor the U.S. have begun the transition. On a global basis, therefore, 17.2% of the eggs we bought in 2010 were processed with Fairtrade sugar.
The number of different chunks and swirls in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream literally reaches into the hundreds, from plain walnuts to chocolate-covered waffle cones to whiskey-caramel swirls. Our aspirations for these most adventuresome ingredients are very high. In some cases, we want them to be made with Fair Trade Certified ingredients; in other cases, we want to find suppliers who are aligned with Ben & Jerry’s Mission and values. Three companies who currently provide us with chunks and swirls are considered “Values-Led Sourcing” (VLS) suppliers.
The Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York, has been supplying us with chocolate brownies for our Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavor for over 20 years. 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 through child care, housing, health care, and other services!
Rhino Foods is another longtime Values-Led Supplier that makes the gobs of cookie dough we use in our Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. Rhino employs dozens of people who have come to the United States as refugees from around the world. Through a variety of support programs, Rhino helps these workers earn a living, save money, develop a credit history, and make a new life for themselves and their families.
The Superior Nut Company also supplies Ben & Jerry’s with some of our peanut-based inclusions. Superior Nut has invested for many years in a leading reforestation project in Costa Rica that aims to offset the company’s carbon emissions.
Quality of Results:
In 2010, 4.0% of the chunks and swirls in our ice cream made in the U.S. and Canada were Fair Trade Certified (measured by volume). In Europe, 52.9% were Fairtrade Certified. On a global basis, therefore, 21.6% of the ingredients in this category were Fair Trade/Fairtrade.
At the same time, 23.6% of our total spend on chunks and swirls in the U.S. and Canada was with our three Values-Led Sourcing suppliers. Because of a data gap, we are unable to calculate the percentage of European inclusions that were purchased from VLS suppliers; and no global figure is available for 2010. We did not add or drop any VLS suppliers in 2010 in the chunks and swirls category.
We have high standards for the fruit we use in our ice cream. Beyond excellent quality, we want them to be grown, harvested, and processed in ways consistent with our values. For some ingredients, that means we are moving towards Fair Trade certification. We also have a goal to source some of our fruit from suppliers who meet our “Values-Led Sourcing” (VLS) criteria, meaning they are delivering extraordinary social or economic benefits through their products, their business operations, or their business model. As fruit is a relatively small part of our total ingredient purchasing, it has been a lower priority for developing Fair Trade and VLS initiatives.
Quality of Results:
In 2010, none of the fruit we purchased for our U.S. and Canadian ice cream was Fair Trade Certified. In Europe, where we have already phased in Fairtrade banana puree, which is our single largest fruit ingredient, 89.9% of our fruit purchases were Fairtrade Certified. Globally, 19.9% of our fruit was Fairtrade.
For many diehard Ben & Jerry’s fans, there wouldn’t be much point to eating ice cream at all if it didn’t have chocolate in it somewhere. So it’s no surprise that nearly three-quarters of our flavors have chocolate or cocoa in them somewhere, in the form of cocoa powder, chocolate chunks, milk chocolate Peace signs, fudge swirls, and various other gobs, chips, and flakes.
Taken together, these ingredients use a significant volume of cocoa powder or cocoa butter. We believe that by transitioning these cocoa-based ingredients to Fair Trade Certified, we can have a significant impact on improving the livelihoods of our cocoa farmers.
We also have a goal to source some of our chocolate and cocoa ingredients from suppliers who are especially aligned with Ben & Jerry’s Mission and Values, in addition to Fair Trade certification. We call these suppliers “Values-Led Sourcing” suppliers.
Quality of Results:
At year end 2010, Smooth Chocolate was our only flavor sold in the U.S. and Canada using Fair Trade cocoa powder. More are on the way. In all, 1.9% of the cocoa and chocolate ingredients we used in the U.S. and Canada (by volume) were Fair Trade on a full year basis. In Europe, 57.9% of our cocoa and chocolate were Fairtrade Certified. On a global basis, 14.9% of cocoa and chocolate ingredients were Fairtrade.
Natural flavorings such as vanilla, coffee extract and cinnamon are an important part of the party inside our pints. Where possible, and where we can make a significant impact on farmer livelihoods, we are transitioning these ingredients to Fair Trade Certified. Although it can be hard to make vanilla bean-to-coffee bean comparisons among flavorings, we are able to track our overall progress towards our Fair Trade goals in this category by looking at the total number of dollars we spent on Fair Trade and conventional flavorings.
We also have a goal to source some of our flavorings from suppliers who are especially aligned with Ben & Jerry’s Mission and Values, in addition to Fair Trade certification. We call these suppliers “Values-Led Sourcing” suppliers.
In 2010, 62.7% of the flavorings that we purchased and used in our U.S. and Canadian production were Fair Trade Certified, measured in dollars. Coffee and vanilla extracts make up the largest percentage of this total. We do not have complete data on the flavorings used in our European production in 2010 to allow us to calculate our Fairtrade percentage in Europe or globally with precision. We have purchased significant volumes of Fairtrade Certified vanilla in Europe since 2006.
None of our suppliers of flavorings were VLS suppliers in 2010.
At Ben & Jerry’s, our core Company values include support for “safe and sustainable methods of food production” that benefit family farms and rural communities; and the use of “wholesome, natural ingredients” and “business practices that respect the Earth and the environment.” In general, we believe that sourcing ingredients that are not derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is one way that we can align our business practices with these intentions.
In Europe, where public opposition to GMOs is strong, and where there is legislation that spells out labeling requirements for foods made from GMOs, it is relatively straightforward to source all ingredients non-GMO. Therefore, all Ben & Jerry’s products made and sold in Europe are non-GMO. We also source non-GMO ingredients for some products we sell in Asia where markets require it.
However, in the U.S. and Canada, the situation is much more challenging. Without any GMO labeling requirements for approved GMO foods, GMO crops have been fully integrated into the food supply and it is difficult and expensive to source verifiably non-GMO ingredients. Because Ben & Jerry’s buys a large number of conventionally-sourced chunks and swirls from third party suppliers, we have found it difficult to exclude GMO ingredients from our products. In most cases, the volume of GMO ingredients in Ben & Jerry’s products represents a very small fraction of the total; and we are confident in the safety of all the ingredients that we buy.
Nonetheless, in alignment with our values, Ben & Jerry’s is in the process of transitioning away from GMO ingredients in our U.S. and Canadian products. It is an extremely difficult and expensive project and it will take us several years to complete.
Quality of Results:
In 2010, we did not use any GMO ingredients in our European production. In the United States and Canada, we did not use any GMO ingredients in the base mix of our ice cream. However, some of the chunks and swirls we add into our U.S. and Canadian products, and the corn syrup used in our frozen yogurt and sorbet, are sourced conventionally and may contain GMO ingredients.
We are in the process of working with our U.S. suppliers to transition away from GMO ingredients in all of our products. To measure our progress, we have done a careful analysis of all the chunks and swirls we use in the U.S. and identified all those that are potentially derived from GMOs, such as corn, soy, canola, cottonseed, and sugar beets. This total represents the number of ingredients we must convert to non-GMO. By year-end 2010, we had converted 41.3% of these potentially GMO ingredients to non-GMO sources, up from about 30% in 2009.
For years, Ben & Jerry’s has been working to reduce the negative environmental impacts of our packaging materials. It has always been a challenge, given that our packaging must meet strict requirements for food packaging and also has to stand up to temperatures of 20 degrees below zero (F). In recent years, we have focused on making sure all of the paperboard used in our pint cartons and novelty boxes (our two largest packaging uses) is coming from environmentally friendly sources. Toward this end, we have phased in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paperboard for all of our U.S. pint containers. The FSC certification means that the paperboard comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife habitat, maintenance of biodiversity, avoidance of genetically modified tree species, and protection of traditional and civil rights, among other Rainforest Alliance criteria for healthy forests. We are still working to get FSC paperboard into the paperboard that we use in our Canadian, European, and Asian packaging. We are on track to have Europe’s packaging converted to FSC by year-end 2012.
While our pint containers are not allowed to contain post-consumer recycled material because of food contact regulations, we are using 100% recycled paperboard in the boxes that we use for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream bars in the U.S.
We are confident that we can continue to improve our primary packaging materials, such as pints and 500 ml tubs, in the years ahead. Our long-term goals include using unbleached paperboard and finding food-safe renewable resins that can make our packaging fully compostable.
We are working to improve the packaging materials used in Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops, such as bowls, spoons, drink cups, and napkins. For example, in the U.S., we have used unbleached paper in our napkins for many years and our drink cups, while made of plastic, are recyclable and have been light-weighted to use as little material as possible.
In our corporate office, we have made significant strides in using environmentally friendly materials, including 100% post-consumer recycled and process chlorine-free paper; compostable dinnerware, green cleaning solutions, low-VOC paints, and environmentally sound flooring.
The figures presented in this section are based on estimates of container counts needed to cover Ben & Jerry’s production at each Unilever plant during 2011. We are able to check our estimates of container counts against actual purchasing records. Aggregate paperboard weights are calculated from the container counts and target weights of the paperboard components of each Ben & Jerry’s package. There is natural variability in the actual weight of the paperboard used in each container, which introduces a small margin of error into our results.
Quality of Results:
In 2011, on a global basis, we estimate that 61% of the paperboard we used in our primary packaging was FSC certified, down from 67% in 2010, measured by weight.
Our score reflects our use of FSC paperboard for U.S. pint packaging but none is in use yet in Canada, Asia, and Europe; nor in our U.S. minicup and quart containers. The year-over-year decline is the result of our European sales growing faster than our U.S. sales last year. None of our primary packaging used process chlorine-free paperboard in 2011.
All of the boxes used on Ben & Jerry’s novelty bars in the U.S. and Canada were made with 100% recycled fiber. We do not sell novelty bars in Europe or elsewhere.
We have not yet developed metrics that track our progress towards improving the environmental attributes of our secondary packaging, scoop shop packaging or our office materials. We will keep working on it!
Our co-founder, Ben Cohen, once said, “Business has a responsibility to give back to the community from which it draws its support.” Jerry Greenfield, our other co-founder, once asked, “If it’s not fun, why do it?” In many ways, these two ideas capture the yin and yang of Ben & Jerry's formula for success. And they have inspired our Company and our employees to all sorts of community service, social activism, and fun for over thirty years. Here is a look at a few of the ways we pitched in and shared our voice in 2010.
Ben & Jerry’s Foundation
Part of Ben & Jerry’s commitment to social and economic justice is our support of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, which makes grants to grassroots activists making positive change in their own communities. Through the Foundation, we›re helping immigrant workers, neighborhood groups, farm workers and dozens of other groups around the country to get organized and fight for a fair deal.
Community Service Projects
Each year, Ben & Jerry’s employees work together on several large-scale community service projects — to fix, clean, build, and refresh things that improve the quality of life for our neighbors. Our Community Action Teams at our Vermont sites organized projects in 2010 with Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, and Green Up Day, among other things.
At the Global Gathering we held in 2010, we cleared land for the installation of a solar orchard at the campus of the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. We made the event part of the Global Work Party organized by 350.org to tell world leaders to “Get to Work” on a meaningful treaty to address climate change now. Our event was one of more than 7,000 events held in 188 countries in the largest day of climate activism the world has ever seen.
At our annual Franchise Community Gathering, held in Cancun, Mexico, dozens of Ben & Jerry’s employees and hundreds of franchisees and scoop shop staff worked at a nearby school cleaning and renovating buildings and building a playground.
Ben & Jerry’s also gives employees paid time off for volunteering in the community on projects of their own choosing. Our Bucket Brigade program was formalized in 2010, and we reached our initial goal to get 30% of employees participating.
Social Mission Campaigns
Beyond hammering nails and painting fences, Ben & Jerry’s involvement in the community extends to activist campaigns around important issues that are aligned with our Company values. We've never been afraid to speak up for social and economic justice, safe and sustainable food, or peace! Here’s a look at where we were active in 2010.
- SOMETHING’S FISHY In September of 2010, we whipped up a special batch of a flavor we called “Something’s Fishy” to express our opposition to the US Food and Drug Administration’s preliminary decision to allow genetically engineered (GE) salmon into the U.S. food supply. At a media event in front of the White House, we joined with several public interest groups to ask the Obama administration to block FDA’s approval of this first-ever GE animal. While we don’t use any fish in our ice cream, we know that genetically engineered cows and other animals are in development, and we believe the ethical, environmental, and economic risks of tinkering with animal genes are unacceptable — certainly until such time as we have a fuller understanding of what we’re getting ourselves into. Even worse, the U.S. doesn’t have any regulatory framework in place that’s designed to comprehensively evaluate the risks of these newfangled animals. The scene is different in many other countries, including the European Union, where GE animals have not come up for approval yet — and where ‘novel foods’ regulations are generally clearer and stronger. We’ll keep speaking out for good policy in this important arena of ‘novel food technologies,’ as we have with rBGH and cloned animals in earlier years.
- WORLD FAIR TRADE DAY/FAIR TRADE MONTH/FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT Part of our goal in transitioning to Fair Trade Certified products is to help build the global Fair Trade movement. By educating consumers about the importance of their purchase decisions, and helping them find Fair Trade Certified products that create social, economic, and environmental benefits in developing countries, we are playing a role in creating a more ethical marketplace for all. We partnered with numerous fair trade organizations, social justice groups, and other companies to spread the word during World Fair Trade Day in early May; Fairtrade Fortnight in February, and Fair Trade Month in October.
PEACE DAY One of our favorite days of the year is September 21 — the International Day of Peace. In 2010, we celebrated in the U.S. by teaming up with the Student Peace Alliance to advocate for the Youth Promise Act, groundbreaking legislation to scale-up proven programs that reduce youth violence. We scooped ice cream at six peace events around the country and got more than 1,000 people to call Congress to voice their support. Best of all, one of our events was an ice cream social for the U.S. House of Representatives, where 900 Congressional staffers showed up to learn more about the Youth Promise Act. The bill came close to passage but fell victim to partisan squabbling in the lame duck session of Congress. (Sigh.) We continue to look for ways to support the goals of the Youth Promise Act and other policy ideas to make the U.S. more peaceful.
In Europe, we are still partnered up with Warchild, a nonprofit that helps child soldiers in war-torn countries re-integrate into society and reclaim their childhood. We support Warchild financially and through awareness-building events. We have also helped NGO Peace One Day draw a big crowd to their fundraising concert in Paris through the use of digital media.
- CARING DAIRY With Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Vermont native Jamie Lee Thurston at our side, we held a launch event for our Vermont Caring Dairy program in October 2010. Hundreds of people joined us for ice cream, good music, and, most of all, some inspiring talk about the promise of this project to help dairy farmers pursue more sustainable practices.
- CLIMATE ACTIVISM Like many environmental activists in the U.S., we’ve been frustrated by the lack of progress on federal legislation to address climate change. We decided to join BICEP, Businesses for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy, to join with other companies and speak with a louder voice on this issue. BICEP has received some good PR, but we haven’t won any big victories on the climate issue yet. We won’t give up.
Royalties paid to nonprofits
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 include:
- All Fairtrade Certified flavors sold in Europe and Fair Trade Certified flavors sold in the U.S. contribute funds that support the work of Fairtrade/Fair Trade labeling organizations and around the world – in addition to Fairtrade premiums paid to farmers for the ingredients they grow for us.
- Phish Food® (global) – Some of the royalties from this flavor are paid 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.
- Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream™ (US) – Royalties are paid to the Stephen Colbert AmeriCone Dream Fund and its mission to benefit children, veterans, and the environment.
- Hannah Teter’s Maple Blondie (US) – Royalties are paid to World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization helping communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Hannah’s project through World Vision brings clean water and better sanitation to the rural community of Kirindon in Kenya.
- Dave Matthews Band’s Magic Brownies® (US) – Royalties go 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.
- Willie Nelson’s Country Peach Cobbler™ (US) – Royalties are paid to Farm Aid and its ongoing mission to support family-farm centered agriculture in America and to keep family farmers on their land.
Community & Activism Quality of Results
In 2010, Ben & Jerry’s contributed $2,079,716 to the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation based on the 2009 sales of the Company, up 3.9% from the previous year.
Ben & Jerry’s employees around the world volunteered for a total of 2,849 hours by our best count. That's lower than the 3,349 that we recorded for 2009, a decline of 15%.
We paid royalties to nonprofits totaling $526,000 in the U.S. and €318,000 in Europe, for a grand total of about $947,000 worldwide. We did not have global data for the previous year.
The overall global investment we made in the community through nonprofit royalties, community action, social mission campaigns, and charitable giving (not including the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation) was $1,240,000.
Our Social Mission campaigns earned 25,129,000 media impressions by our best count in calendar year 2010.
2010 was the first year we completed an employee Social Mission engagement survey for our employees in Vermont, the U.K, and Asia. This is an important part of our Quality of Results metric. When we have two years of data, we’ll highlight the change in this score each year.
At Ben & Jerry’s, we are committed to reducing the environmental impacts of our business. For many years, we have invested aggressively in energy-efficient technology from cooling systems to lighting to water and waste management systems at our manufacturing plants. We also continue to devise and pursue innovative plans to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our business to respond to the urgent challenge of climate change.
For example, with an eye towards closing loops in our supply chain, we now send dairy waste from our Vermont ice cream plants back to two of the farms that supply us with fresh dairy ingredients. Our waste is put into methane digesters with other farm waste – where it generates energy to power the farm!
In 2010, we also evaluated the feasibility of putting solar panels on our Waterbury, Vermont factory; but we decided to pursue other projects with a better environmental and economic return at this time.
Our application to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asking them to approve hydrocarbon (HC) freezers for commercial use is still pending. These HC freezers are significantly more energy-efficient and use gases with lower global warming potential than standard freezers, which use hydrofluorocarbons (HFC). We’ve already got 250 of these next-generation HC freezers in a successful pilot test around the U.S. We expect to hear back from the EPA soon, clearing the way for cleaner, greener freezers in Ben & Jerry’s supply chain – and in the USA. A side benefit: they’re cheaper to run than the old HFC freezers. In Europe, HC freezers are already in widespread use, including many that contain Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
For the tenth year, we offset all of the emissions associated with our Vermont manufacturing facilities and employee air travel with the help of Vermont-based NativeEnergy, a nationally recognized provider of high quality carbon offsets. All of our U.S. offsets support the development of new sources of renewable energy.
Meanwhile, in Europe, we have achieved ‘Climate Neutral’ status according to the standards of HIER, a consortium of forty NGOs. This means we’ve committed to a demanding multi-year carbon emissions reduction plan and the purchase of Gold Standard carbon offsets for all of our annual emissions. Part of the plan includes the installation of a bio-digester at our manufacturing plant in Hellendoorn, the Netherlands, which will turn the factory’s dairy waste into energy.
Environment & Climate Quality of Results
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. We make ice cream for Asian markets in our Vermont manufacturing plants. Our frozen novelties are manufactured at a Unilever facility in Sikeston, Missouri.
We are measuring Ben & Jerry’s environmental impact for the purposes of our Quality of Results metric by looking at four performance parameters at every plant that makes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products. Using a formula that weights each plant’s performance by the volume of Ben & Jerry’s products it produces, we achieved the following outcomes in 2010: (weighted global results — normalized performance — per gallon of product)
- Water Use: 7.4% improvement over 2009
- Solid Waste: 33.4% improvement over 2009
- Energy Use: 1.9% improvement over 2009
- CO2 Emissions: 1.8% improvement over 2009
In 2010, Ben & Jerry’s U.S. business scored 71 out of 100 in its climate impacts ranking by the independent nonprofit Climate Counts. This puts Ben & Jerry’s near the top of the climate rankings for food manufacturing companies in the U.S. We intend to complete a Climate Counts scoring for our European business in the coming year to get a more global view on our climate performance.
When and if the U.S. EPA approves HC freezers for commercial use, we will begin to measure the climate benefits of transitioning Ben & Jerry’s freezers to the new technology.
It is our intention to develop a metric that measures the volume of Ben & Jerry’s sourcing that comes from women- or minority-owned suppliers. At this time, no program is in place and no data is collected that focuses specifically on minority sourcing. We will develop the metrics to measure our progress in this area once we have begun to develop a program.
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. A handful of our scoop shops are what we call a PartnerShop®, owned and operated by a nonprofit organization.
In many ways, our scoop shops are the centerpiece of our Social Mission, because they are the places where we directly touch local communities. Every year, they contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in time, ice cream, and sponsorships in support of community projects of all sizes and shapes, from Green-Up Days to Food Drives to Hunger Walks. On Free Cone Day, many of our franchisees team up with local charities to raise awareness and money from free ice cream seekers who flock to their shops by the thousands.
Franchisee Engagement Quality of Results:
We measure the Social Mission engagement of our franchisees – and our support for their Social Mission activities – with several specific scores that relate to financial performance; the franchisor-franchisee relationship; and Social Mission activities. Most of this data is proprietary or, because it relates to our business relationships with franchisees, is too sensitive to report publicly. At this time, we are only able to measure Social Mission engagement in our U.S. scoop shops.
In general terms, we saw a flat performance in the area of franchisee engagement in 2010. Our strongest scores were in the areas of franchisee optimism and franchisor leadership; our lowest score was in the area of store closings.
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, 2010. 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 2010 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, 2010 is fairly presented, in all material respects.
LeBlanc & Associates, LLC
June 28, 2011
Selected Data, published as of June 29, 2011, includes all information presented in Sections 3 through 15 of this 2010 report, referred to as the ‘Quality of Results’ sections.
Here’s a little bit more information about Ben & Jerry’s that doesn’t fit into our larger Quality of Results metric but that we think is worth reporting.
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 2010 was $14.64 per hour, up from $13.94 in 2009. This hourly wage translates to $30,451 per year. For comparison, at year-end 2010, the minimum wage in Vermont was $8.06/hr ($16,765/yr) and the national minimum wage was $7.25/hr ($15,080/yr).
Ben & Jerry’s is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity in our workforce. One element of this commitment 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.
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. DREAM staff have access to shared resources in the building, including the employee kitchen, meeting rooms, and photocopiers. We’re glad to be able to support their innovative and important work.