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Ben & Jerry's is more than just an ice cream company. Sure, we have an appetite for ice cream... but we also have a hunger for social justice!
As a business we strive to create a world where everyone gets a 'fair slice of the pie', and use the voice and programmes at the heart of our aspiring social justice company to make this happen. For us, a more inclusive world means the citizens across the world are included in how our society works, regardless of nationality, race, religion, sexuality, disability, economic background or age.
Since the early days, we've been a business with an ever-growing social mission focus, and we've championed a whole host of initiatives that strive to create a fairer, more inclusive world, including our Fairtrade certification, and supporting social enterprises like Greyston Bakery. We've also not been afraid to dig our spoons in and take a stand. From Marriage Equality, to access to democracy for all, we've advocated for a spectrum of social and environmental justice issues that tackle the very heart of what an inclusive society is!
We've been fortunate enough to work with many leading charities, social enterprises and clever cookies in the area of social inclusion - they've helped us define our campaigns and programmes, and we're continually learning as a business on the role we can play in this area. The road to a more inclusive future may sometimes be a rocky one, but we believe in doing business differently, and that business can drive change!
Here's how our vision translates into action.
Digging Into Democracy
At Ben & Jerry's, we believe that democracy only works when it works for everyone. We kicked off a campaign back in 2004, driving voter turnout among young people, partnering with "Rock the Vote". We registered over 11,000 voters - the biggest one-day grassroots registration in Rock the Vote's history! 2016 sees us building on this, as we launched 'Don't Get Frozen Out' in the UK, and 'Democracy is in Your Hands' in the USA!
We began campaigning on marriage equality back in 2000, when our home state of Vermont was considering civil unions for same sex couples - a precursor to marriage equality. As the movement around the world picked up some pace, we took a stand for marriage equality in the US, UK, Italy, Australia, Finland and, most recently, in Ireland. We believe freedom to marry whomever you love is a big step forward for a more inclusive world!
The People Behind the Ice Cream
- Let's not beat around the bush; 94% of Ben & Jerry's workforce is white. Our home state of Vermont, where we have two manufacturing plants and our corporate headquarters, is 95% white. Despite this, through our employees, supply chain and partnerships we have a wide range of opinions, attitudes and experiences about race and religion represented.
- Our society in Europe has grown into one of many races, religions and cultures, and society is all the better for it! We believe that too often those in minority in society are stigmatised and used as a scapegoat for wider issues within society. Our society is stronger when we stand together with all citizens, regardless of any aspect of their life or background. Building dialogue within society and celebrating common interests will help build stronger more resilient communities in Europe.
- We aspire to become a more suitable and inclusive business - and to build a culture that makes diversity the real source of our strength! We've formed an Equity Team to lead that work, and we are well on our way.
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