SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt., Nov. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- While recognizing the tremendous challenges we face as a global community, Ben & Jerry's can wholeheartedly get behind a holiday that celebrates good food and giving thanks. We have an almost overwhelming list of things for which we are thankful; first among them are the people who have worked with us to create linked prosperity and a more just society. Here, in no particular order, are some of the partnerships that have helped us address justice in all its many flavors.
Fairtrade farmers. Under Fairtrade, family farmers are paid a fair price for ice cream-essential ingredients like sugar, cocoa, vanilla, coffee and bananas. That helps them improve their livelihoods, grow the most delectable products, and protect the health of our planet. You could say: "Pretty sweet." Or you could say it's chocolicious, a-peeling, buzzworthy AND sweet!
Like-minded businesses. As a B-Corp member, we're in good company. More than 1,950 businesses—including Patagonia, King Arthur Flour, Rhino Foods and New Belgium Brewery—are part of a corporate community that believes business has a responsibility to address social and environmental problems. We work with other B-Corp companies as often as possible because we think it's the next chapter in social responsibility. As the B Corps share, together we can B the change we seek in our society.
Our Flavor Gurus. These tastefully talented, super sensory, euphoria experts were responsible for developing more than 40 new flavors in 2016, including Cake My Day and Totally Baked. They spend their days and nights tasting the best food in the world, then mix, chop, blend and whip until they come up with the most irresistible, completely unexpected Ben & Jerry's flavors. Look for more from these palate powerhouses in 2017.
Empowerment and Empower Mint. Our new fudge-filled peppermint ice cream helped us launch a campaign with an important message: Democracy is in Your Hands. We are thankful for our partners in pushing for a fair and inclusive democracy: Rev. William Barber and the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, HeadCount, Demos, Color of Change, Many Rivers to Cross, TurboVote, Cornell Brooks, and 150,000 newly registered voters. Together, we fought for the Voting Rights Act and against Citizens United. Our democracy works best when it works for everyone.
New vegan fans. We didn't think our fans could be any more passionate about our ice cream … until we met the non-dairy crowd. "Pleassssse!" they pleaded. "We dare you to go dairy-free." So we did. Our non-dairy flavor creations are so boldly loaded with chunks and swirls, you'd be hard-pressed to notice what's missing.
The freedom to speak up and take a stand. We're not shy about standing up for our values. Fighting for things like climate justice, marriage equality, and GMO labeling is just as important to us as making great ice cream. Our position on systemic and institutionalized racism--on why Black lives matter—sparked the biggest on-line conversation in our social media history. Not everyone agreed with us, but everyone was heard. We look forward to making more progress toward racial justice in 2017.
Our (very!) independent Board. Ben & Jerry's is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, but we maintain an independent Board of Directors that protects our social mission, brand integrity, and product quality. That means they not only encouraged us to attend the Democracy Awakening protest in April, but two of them were arrested alongside our co-founders. They are our heroes for ice cream, hungry for justice—and they literally take to the streets to stand up for what they believe in.
Greyston Bakery. This social enterprise (and fellow B-Corp) isn't just making the sweet brownie treats for our ice cream; it's making a pretty sweet difference to the community of Yonkers, too. Greyston has an innovative "open hiring model," which means they'll provide a job to anyone, regardless of background. That and making 30,000 pounds of brownies a day can't be wrong!
Our plant workers. The men and women of our production facilities are at the center of the magic. They add just the right amount of chunks and swirls, then mix and fill, freeze and package every last bit of the deliciousness that goes out our door. In 2016 they worked countless hours to keep up with high demand for our new line of Cores. Needless to say, we couldn't do it without them.
Phish fans. From Cherry Garcia to One Sweet Whirled, we have a long history of combining activism with groovy tunes. This year we had the opportunity to join Phish, WaterWheel Foundation and HeadCount to register voters and give out free Phish Food. During the summer tour, Phish fans donated to groups as diverse as the Conservation Law Foundation and the Mansfield Food Pantry through WaterWheel Foundation. Thank you, Phish fans!
Scoop Shops. Our franchisees are often the first point of connection between our fans and our euphoric flavors. They are the embodiment of our values and the face of our business. Every day we are grateful for the dedicated men and women who recognize that business success can be measured in many ways, including how much you can give back to the community.
And finally, our fans. We strive to love our fans more than they love us, but some days that seems impossible. We are fortunate to have the most ardent, loyal, vocal base of ice cream lovers in the world. Some of them have suggested flavors or flavor names; others protect their Ben & Jerry's stash with a pint lock. "Clearing my freezer today to make space for Ben & Jerry's products," Nancy W. wrote after our Black Lives Matter post. "Will only serve Ben & Jerry's from now on." Thank you, Nancy. We love you, too.
Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Ben & Jerry's.
Learn more about the things we care about at www.benjerry.com/values
About Ben & Jerry's
As an aspiring social justice company, Ben & Jerry's believes in a greater calling than simply making a profit for selling its goods. The company produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream, yogurt and sorbet using high-quality ingredients. Ben & Jerry's incorporates its vision of Linked Prosperity into its business practices in a number of ways including a focus on values-led sourcing. In 2015 the company completed its transition to using entirely non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) ingredients by source as well as to fully source Fairtrade-certified ingredients wherever possible, which benefits farmers in developing countries. Ben and Jerry's products are distributed in 35 countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchise Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops, restaurants and other venues. Ben & Jerry's, a Vermont corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. Ben & Jerry's became a certified B Corp (Benefit Corporation) in 2012. The Ben & Jerry's Foundation's employee-led grant programs totaled $2.5MM in 2015 to support economic and social justice, environmental restoration, and peace through understanding. For the inside scoop on Ben & Jerry's visit www.benjerry.com.
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