At Ben & Jerry’s, we’re on a mission to make the best possible ice cream in the best possible way, and that motivates us to use our business to advocate for justice for historically marginalised communities. We’ve always aspired to be an ice cream company that fights for justice and equity—which is why we work to ensure that when our company prospers, everyone connected to our business prospers too.
Though we’ve committed to advancing the cause of racial equity for years, the truth is that we have been and still are an overwhelmingly white company. We know that people of color, by and large, have not equally shared in our prosperity. We also know that society treats white people very differently than people of color. There’s bias and racism baked into the systems and structures of our society, whether it’s the criminal legal system, the migration system, or even our companies. That’s why we’re diversifying our business relationships and continuing the fight for racial justice in our communities.
What are we doing to achieve our vision of a more just future while churning up euphoric ice cream flavors? Let’s dig in.
Brownies for the Greater Good
Our delectably fudgy brownies are made at Greyston Bakery, a social enterprise in New York with an open hiring policy that supports the predominantly Black and Brown members of their community who face barriers to employment. As Greyston puts it, “We don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people.” Like us, Greyston believes that business success and social progress should go hand in hand. Greyston has created thousands of jobs and brought millions of dollars to its community over the years. The bakery’s profits help support its parent organization, the Greyston Foundation, which provides job training, healthcare, housing, and more for low-income people in Yonkers, New York.
Even Sweeter than Cookie Dough
Love Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Half Baked? We source euphoric cookie dough chunks from Rhino Foods, a certified B Corp that hires from and supports the refugee community in Burlington, Vermont. We’ve been working with Rhino since the 1980s, but when we asked them to make the dough for our new Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream in 1990, our partnership grew exponentially. In need of workers, Rhino began hiring Bosnian refugees who had recently resettled in Vermont. Calling that decision “one of the best we ever made,” Rhino continues to add refugees from many different countries to their team, while ensuring—through actions like offering language classes, creating a prayer room, and celebrating cultural holidays—that refugees feel supported at work and welcome in their new Vermont community.
Dignity for Dairy Workers
At Ben & Jerry’s, we’ve always wanted to make the best possible ice cream in the best possible way. That means caring about our ice cream, as we like to put it, from cow to cone. Making all your favorite flavors obviously requires the highest quality milk and cream. But for us, it also requires ensuring that dairy farmworkers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. That’s why we’re proud to be the very first company to adopt the Milk with Dignity program, a farmworker-led social responsibility program designed to ensure dignified working and living conditions on dairy farms in the northeast US. Milk with Dignity ensures that farmworkers—most of whom are migrants from Mexico and Latin America—have paid time off and sick time, fair housing, fair wages, and more. We’re grateful for the farmworkers who make all the ice cream we love possible.
Rooting Out Racism Everywhere
We’re working hard within our supply chain and in our communities around the world to fight for equity. In the US, we’re working with those who seek to dismantle the systems and structures that perpetuate white supremacy and systemic racism. We’re partnering with nonprofits, community organizations, and activists to eliminate over-policing, end mass incarceration, and build a new system of public safety that invests in the health, safety, and dignity of all people.
Across Europe, we campaign to protect and advance the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum. And through our Ice Academy program, we work with refugee entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas.
Everyone deserves a life of dignity and well-being. We may be an ice cream company, but we believe that business can and should be a force for progressive social change. We hope you’ll join us in working toward a future where all people can thrive.
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