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Renewable Energy in the UK is at Risk... And It Needs Your Help!

Despite our country’s massive potential for clean energy, the UK government has not only cut support to solar, but also our cheapest and most liked form of new energy - wind. If we want to stand any chance of keeping the promises made in 2015’s Paris Climate Agreement, then we must act now!

We’ve teamed up with climate activists 10:10, to petition the government to reinstate support for clean energy. Join us and thousands of others in demanding a greener future NOW by signing the petition below, because there really is no PLANet B.

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The UK is lucky enough to have a wealth of renewable energy sources right on its doorstep. Sure, us Brits like to grumble about the grey days, but let’s look on the bright side – our weather gives our country a huge potential to tap into clean energy, in particular wind, which we think is pretty awesome!

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Global Warming. Climate Change. Climate Justice.
What Does it All Mean?

We live in a world where the effects of climate change are increasingly real; from melting ice caps to rampant forest fires, it can no longer be denied that man-made carbon pollution is affecting our fragile planet. The scientific evidence is settled; global warming is real and already impacting people around the world. The question now is, “What are we doing about it?”

The Effects on Our Planet and Its People:

Every passing year, we see changing patterns of precipitation, including more intense rainfall events around the world, dramatic changes in the arctic, changes in agricultural growing seasons and rising sea levels and ocean acidification. Some of these changes in our climate will have dramatic ecological and social consequences. The cruel irony of climate change is that people in the developing world, who can least afford to adapt to climate change, will pay the steepest price for the 200 years of industrialization and pollution from the developed world. It truly is an issue of climate justice.

 

Solutions:

It is more urgent than ever that we take steps to dramatically reduce global greenhouse gas emissions – and to do it in a way that equitably shares the burdens and risks of climate change among the nations of the world. Ultimately, we have to break the link between economic growth and development from natural resource extraction and depletion.

There is no quick fix to solve climate change, but we know what we need to do. We must:

  • Divest from fossil fuels
  • Increase renewable energy sources
  • Put a price on carbon pollution
  • Work with developing countries to invest in renewable energy

Learn more:

What Does it Mean for Ben & Jerry’s?

Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of fighting for climate justice and finding ways to reduce the environmental impact of our business. In 2002, we launched a carbon offsets program for our Vermont manufacturing facilities. In 2007, we ran our first global warming advocacy campaign in partnership with the Dave Matthews Band. We’ve invested early and often in efficiencies throughout our manufacturing facilities, supply chain, and Scoop Shops to increase energy efficiency and shrink our carbon footprint.

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Nearly all businesses have greenhouse gas emissions associated with their operations, and that includes Ben & Jerry’s. We rely on agriculture for our main ingredients, especially dairy, as well as manufacturing to make our products, trucks to transport our finished products and freezers to keep our ice cream cold. We know our carbon footprint, and are working throughout our operations to reduce it. We are working with our farmers to reduce methane emessions from farms, we lead the change to a cleaner, greener freezer in the United States and built the Chunkinator at our Netherlands factory which helps power the factory from ice cream bi-products.  We also know what we’ve done is not nearly enough and we must do more. We make progress and report on this each year in our our Social and Environmental Assessment (SEAR) Report. Read more about the steps we’re taking to reduce our carbon footprint and our plan to get to 100% clean energy at all of our U.S. sites by 2020.

Join the Climate Movement!

If it’s melted, it’s ruined. It’s true for ice cream, and it’s true for the planet.

Thanks in part to over 3.5 million citizens around the globe who signed the Avaaz petition urging world leaders to tackle climate change at the United Nations Climate Summit (COP21), the landmark Paris Agreement was signed by 191 countries committed to keep global temperature warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

And now the real work begins. It’s time to keep the pressure on our world leaders to make strides to rapidly transition to 100% clean energy, and meet the ambitious goals that will lead us towards a greener, cleaner future. Add your voice to the millions demanding climate action, and sign the petition today!

  

FAQs

  • What is Ben & Jerry’s position on climate change?

    It’s real. It’s happening now. For us, its not just about polar bears and ice sheets, it’s about people and it’s an issue of economic and social justice.

    We’ve always had a commitment to minimizing the negative impact our business has on the environment. We’ve made investments in energy efficiency and waste reduction at our manufacturing facilities, installed bio-digesters that turn waste to clean energy at our European manufacturing facility, and source only Forest Steamship Council (FSC) paperboard for our packaging.

  • What have you done in the past on the issue of Climate Change?

    We’ve been at this for a while. We ran our first global warming advocacy campaign in 2007, in partnership with the Dave Matthews band. We have a long history of focusing on reducing the environmental impact of our business. We’ve invested early and often in efficiencies at our manufacturing facilities to increase energy efficiency and reduce waste. We’ve recently christened a bio-digester at our ice cream plant in the Netherlands that turns waste from manufacturing process into cool clean energy. Here is a full list of what we’ve done:

    • 2002 - Began Carbon offsets with NativeEnergy for our Vermont manufacturing facilities
    • 2004 - Life Cycle Analysis completed for European Union (EU) production
    • 2007 - EU began carbon offsets/insetting
    • 2007 - One Sweet Whirled Advocacy Campaign
    • 2008 - Carbon inventory completed in the US
    • 2008 - Partnered with Greenpeace to win EPA approval of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) free refrigeration cabinets
    • 2014 - Life Cycle Analysis complete for US
    • 2014 - Installed a bio-digester at our Netherlands manufacturing facility
    • 2015 - Life Cycle Analysis to be completed for EU

  • Doesn’t your company have a big carbon footprint?

    Yes, we do. Our carbon footprint per pint is about 1kg or approximately 136,000 metric tons of green house gasses annually. View our Life Cycle Analysis here.

  • Do you have a goal to reduce your greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint?

    Yes, Ben & Jerry’s is committed to reducing its absolute GHG footprint. We believe corporations should set ambitious goals that are rooted in science. Ben & Jerry’s is committed to de-linking the growth of our business with the growth of our GHG emissions. We’ve committed to an 80% reduction in our absolute emissions by 2050, despite an ambitious plan to grow our business. Between now and 2020, we’ve committed to reduce the emissions intensity per unit of production by 15%.

  • How do you intend to achieve your greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals?

    More than half of our company’s carbon emissions come from the production of our ingredients, most notably, milk. On farm emission are 42% of the overall life cycle emissions of our company, so in order to make real progress to reduce our footprint, we’ve got to partner with our family dairy farmers to improve manure management, reduce enteric emissions from the herd, and move towards better cropping methods that promote soil health and sequester carbon. In addition, we’ll continue to drive efficiencies throughout our manufacturing plants, our logistics network and our frozen supply chain.

  • Isn’t shipping ice cream from Vermont to countries like Australia and Brazil very GHG intensive?

    Outbound transportation accounts for about 15% of our businesses footprint, so logistics is a sizable part of our footprint. However, ice cream that we ship internationally is moved by sea, which is the most efficient way to move goods. The World Shipping Council says that a ton of goods can be shipped from the Port of Melbourne in Australia to the Port of Long Beach in California, a distance of 12,770 kilometers (7,935 miles), while generating fewer CO2 emissions than generated when transporting the same cargo in the U.S. by truck from Dallas to Long Beach, a distance of 2,307 kilometers (1,442 miles). You can look into that further here.

    In order for us to make meaningful reductions in the roughly 15% of our footprint associated with outbound shipping, we’ll need to drive increased efficiency in the over the road refrigerated truck fleets that move our products domestically.

  • What about all those cows?

    Yes, we’re a dairy company and we’re proud of our relationship with the family farmers that supply all of our milk and cream. However, with agriculture responsible for 15-20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, we’ve got a lot a work to do to reduce on farm emissions. That’s why we’re reviewing our Caring Dairy program to explore possibilities like the development of a greenhouse gas model for our farms that will allow us to measure real reductions in the footprint of our farms. We’ve also begun to invest in important technologies like manure separators and biodigesters on dairy farms in our supply chain to reduce our GHG footprint and benefit farmers at the same time.

  • You say you look after the environment, but your packaging is not recyclable, why not?

    We’re big fans of our planet, and always monitor the impact we’re having on the environment. When it comes to packaging, all the paperboard in our packaging is made from Forest Stewardship Council certified paperboard. Due to hygiene issues, we are required to coat our FSC paperboard; therefore the packaging is not currently widely recyclable. This is something we are looking to improve, and hope in the next year we can make progress on this issue.

  • What public policies do you support?

    In order to keep global average temperature below 2º C, Ben & Jerry’s supports the following policies.

    • Ensure that 2/3 of all present commercially viable fossil fuel reserves remain in the ground
    • Completely phase out all fossil fuel emissions as soon as possible, but no later than 2050
    • Make no new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure
    • Engage all countries in phasing out fossil fuel emissions, with actions varying depending on countries’ common, but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities
    • Transition the global economy to 100% renewable energy while ensuring sustainable energy access for all by 2050
    • Put a science-based price on carbon pollution that limits warming to 2º Celsius.
    • Create a global framework in which developed economies help fund the shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient sustainable development in developing countries and the global south

     

  • Who are 10:10?

    10:10 is a charity that helps people tackle climate change. They run positive, practical projects at a community level, and are the people behind projects such as Solar Schools and the 10% Challenge. To find out more, click here.

  • What is the ‘Blown Away’ campaign about?

    10:10’s petition urges the government to reinstate financial support for onshore wind and solar energy. No new energy generation can be built without financial support from government, so 10:10 wants to ensure that one of the cheapest options for new energy available is well funded. The ‘Blown Away’ campaign aims to illustrate to the UK government that individuals, businesses and civil society want those in power to keep to the UK’s climate commitments made in the Paris Climate Agreement.

  • If wind is such a great option, why is the government cutting funding for onshore wind?

    Quite simply, some people don’t like onshore wind turbines and some of these people are MPs and people with influence. Some anti-wind lobbyists encouraged their MPs to ban onshore wind turbines altogether, and the 2015 Conservative election manifesto included a policy to ‘ban the spread of subsidised onshore wind farms’. The media reporting of wind power tends to skew towards the negative. 10:10 recently worked with Imperial College London to analyse newspaper articles on wind power between 2011 and 2016 and found that over half of comment pieces and editorials for wind were negative – 52% in fact, with 31% being neutral and 17% positive. 10:10 argue that the reasoning behind blocking wind is wrong. Onshore wind is the cheapest energy source out there and it's one of the most popular - almost 75% of the British public support the technology.

    The Blown Away campaign illustrates that the wider public are in fact very supportive of onshore wind, and we need the government to take note!

  • What cuts has the UK government made to renewable energy growth?

    Firstly, in 2016 the UK government cut the Feed in Tariff for small scale renewable energy by 65%. This affected solar on rooftops – on local schools, businesses and some farms – as well as small turbines and even hydro power.

    Secondly, the government blocked financial support for large scale onshore wind – big farms that plug into the national grid and power our kettles.

    Onshore wind has also been blocked in the planning system, which means that local authorities can’t give the go-ahead for even one wind turbine, and a farm of them would be impossible.

    Meanwhile, the government continues to give financial support to more polluting forms of energy such as coal, oil and gas. This is a real climate justice issue that requires action – as the moves to block wind energy in favour of fossil fuels go against the UK’s commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement to move towards renewable energy.

  • Isn't Onshore Wind Unpopular?

    Not as much as people might think! A recent survey conducted by ComRes on behalf the Blown Away campaign found that almost three quarters of people (73%) in the UK back onshore wind power, compared to only 34% for fracking and 46% for nuclear. To find out more, check out these facts on wind on 10:10’s website.

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