BURLINGTON, Vt.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct 22, 2012--A quarter-century after pioneering the socially responsible business movement, Ben & Jerry’s is throwing its support behind the growing B Corporation (B Corp) movement, a network of companies that meet what Inc. magazine has called "the highest standard for socially responsible businesses." Ben & Jerry’s is the first wholly-owned subsidiary to gain B Corp certification. The move was supported by Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s parent company, as consistent with Ben & Jerry’s core values and mission and fully aligned with Unilever’s own ambitious sustainability agenda.
Ben & Jerry’s Independent Board of Directors, established at the time of the Unilever acquisition of the ice cream maker a dozen years ago, has long supported the values espoused by Certified B Corps. “Becoming a Certified B Corp is an important step, not only because it re-affirms our deep commitment to values-led business practices, but also because it affirms how Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever work together to advance our Social Mission,” said Ben & Jerry’s Board Chair, Jeff Furman.
“We want to constantly challenge ourselves to be better,” said Rob Michalak, Ben & Jerry’s Director of Social Mission. “The B Corp community is made up of organizations that share similar goals and have high standards that we can use to improve our performance over time.”
“Ben & Jerry’s has always believed that a successful business creates prosperity for all stakeholders,” said Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab, the nonprofit that certifies B Corps, “Meeting the rigorous standards to become a Certified B Corp demonstrates that Ben & Jerry’s cares about more than nice beliefs, it cares about verified and transparent performance.”
As a wholly-owned subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s has met additional transparency requirements to earn its B Corp certification, making its full B Impact Assessment and relevant excerpts from its governing documents visible to the public at www.bcorporation.net/benjerry. Highlights of Ben & Jerry’s B Impact Report include: 45% of its cost of goods sold go toward investing in and supporting small scale suppliers through the Caring Dairy program; 100% of its U.S. pint containers are made with FSC-certified paperboard; and its lowest paid hourly worker receives 46% above the living wage.
“We are pleased to join the community of Certified B Corps because responsible business is what the world needs and increasingly, what consumers want, so it’s just good business,” said Ben & Jerry’s CEO, Jostein Solheim. Ben & Jerry’s history has proven that companies with more than a single bottom line focus can be a successful and popular business model to follow. “There is a tremendous upside to being linked more closely to other companies on the socially responsible journey,” added Solheim. The ice cream maker’s CEO is looking forward to learning and sharing best practices with other regional B Corps in Ben & Jerry’s home state of Vermont.
About Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream and ice cream novelties, using high-quality ingredients including milk and cream from family farmers who do not treat their cows with the synthetic hormone rBGH. The company states its position on rBGH* on its labels. Ben and Jerry’s products are distributed nationwide and in selected foreign 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. Contributions made via the employee-led Ben & Jerry’s Foundation in 2011 totaled $1.98 million. Additionally, the company makes significant product donations to community groups and nonprofits both in Vermont and across the nation. The purpose of Ben & Jerry’s philanthropy is to support the founding values of the company: economic and social justice, environmental restoration and peace through understanding, and to support our Vermont communities. For the full scoop on all Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop locations and fabulous flavors, visit www.benjerry.com.