19 June, 2016
On June 23, we must answer one of the more defining questions of our lifetime. Is our future best served by remaining part of a cooperative and interconnected Europe, or is it better to isolate ourselves from our neighbours? The answer could have huge social and environmental justice implications for the future.
That’s why Ben & Jerry’s is actively encouraging everyone to take part in the EU referendum. Working with charity partners including HOPE not Hate, we’re on a mission to encourage as many people as possible to register to vote – especially young people who’ll be the most affected. All too often young people are frozen out of the democratic process, and it’s crucial that everyone is represented. In the end, of course, how to cast a vote is a personal decision – it’s up to individuals to weigh up the potential benefits of EU membership for themselves.
As a company that was created to tackle social justice, we believe that we owe it to ourselves to seriously question in the coming days whether some of the world’s most pressing issues are simply too big to be tackled alone. Take climate justice for instance; one of the biggest shared global challenges of mankind. Whilst not perfect, the EU led the way in driving forward the global deal achieved in COP21 in Paris at the end of 2015. The UK itself, however, remains the 14th largest carbon emitter globally and, we need to go faster and further if we are to meet the 1.5 degree target. We need to question if the target can be achieved without the continued scale and pressure from the EU on nations that are falling behind, and if climate justice is best achieved by separating ourselves from our European neighbours.
Humanity needs to be at the core of the debate. Our world is more connected today than ever before; advances in technology, including WhatsApp chats with family and friends across the Channel and all around the world, and Airbnb creating a community of people who share their homes with travellers from all corners of the world! We’re all closer today than we’ve ever been, and that genie is not going back in the bottle any time soon…and, of course, we also share many global challenges: climate change, social exclusion, security and economic inequality. Coordinated action has arguably helped us celebrate the many, as opposed to demonise the few, and to harness rather than divide our communities. The European Union may not be perfect, but what it represents is a continent of many flavours and possibilities!
It seems to us that finding a solution to the many challenges we face as a planet is, on balance, best done when working together. In the simplest terms, it feels better to look out not only for ourselves, but for one another…to work together on the guiding principles of equality, sustainability and social justice. With social justice at the heart of our values, our feeling is that a Remain vote would signal solidarity, hope and compassion, and align less with the interests of fear and hate.
Sure, it might not seem like it has that much to do with ice cream, but it has everything to do with Peace & Love.
Peace, Love & Ice Cream
Ben & Jerry's