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How Ben & Jerry's has helped tackle social justice

Where it all began

The story began with two guys and an ice cream business. In 1978 Ben and Jerry opened their first ice cream shop in a gas station in Burlington, Vermont. This started out from a $5 course in ice cream making and an investment of $12,000. One year on they were still successful, and to celebrate their one year anniversary they held a Free Cone Day, which meant free scoops for every one. This is a tradition which still happens today around the world. The company continued to grow meaning the first franchise shop opened in Shelburne, Vermont, there are now 615 Ben and Jerry's stores worldwide. To continue reading about the history of Ben and Jerrys click here.

The Ben & Jerry's Foundation

The Ben & Jerry's Foundation was established with 7.5% of the company's profits and an amount from Ben and Jerry themselves. This foundation was built to fund community-oriented projects. It was set up to offer grants of $20,000 to non-profit organisations through Vermont or the US who had an impact on issues such as the environment or social justice. In 2016 the company put aside $200,000 to set up the foundation in the UK as well. The purpose of this foundation was to support refguees, asylum seekers and migrant groups. The company funds organisations to help tackle the stigma and challenge the role of refugees to be seen more positively. On average the company puts 1.8 million into the Foundation.

Flavours of support for the environment

One movement that the company got involved in was the global climate issue. In 2015 they created an ice cream called "Save our Whirled". This ice cream was lead by caramel and the deputy was coffee mixed together with support from marshmallows, caramel swirls, and coffee-flavoured fudge chips. This flavour lead to over 300,000 people to join the movement and help make their voices listened to for a future that is greener. December 2015, 196 countries join in Paris for a conference to outline an action plan to tackle the climate crisis and to keep the global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. Ben & Jerry's continue to support climate crisis through their own mission statements around renewable energy and greenhouse gases.

Flavours of support for LGBT

Ben and Jerry's have continued to show support to the LGBT community as legislation has changed. In 2009 they brought out "Hubby Hubby" which was in support of Vermont legalising same sex marriage. When similar legislation came in for the UK and Ireland between 2012-2013 the company released "Apple-y Ever After”. Once again their support continued in 2015 when they raised dough for the Human Rights Campaign to support them. This was celebrated by rebranding Chocolate chip Cookie Dough to become "I Dough, I Dough." Ben and Jerry's also supports LGBT in other ways such as attending pride worldwide.

Flavours of History

Alongside the work of the company's UK Foundation they also created an ice cream flavour called "Home Sweet Honeycomb" in 2017. This was created due to the company believing that everyone should be entitled to home which is a safe space. They partnered with the international Rescue Committee to create a new ice cream flavour which would draw attention to its customers that they needed support to help legislation, which would allow refugees to safely settle in Europe. The campaign managed to get over 100,000 supporters globally with 30,000 emails sent to local MPs.

The company launched "One Sweet Word" 50 years around Martin Luther King Jr's campaign to help low-income people. Ben and Jerry's teamed up with the Poor People Campaign to raise awareness and support a rally with messages of justice and equality. The proceeds of this ice cream was given to the organisation to continue their work around economic and racial justice.

The company decided to create a flavour called "EmpowerMint" to landmark the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which ended segregation in the school system. This ice cream was teamed with NAACP in North Carolina to continue making a difference. The purpose of this ice cream was to help bring together a unity of voices to have activism through sharing values and viewpoints.

Flavours of You

There is always ways to help make someone's today better tomorrow. What are you passionate about? If you could make an ice cream to help activism what would it be?


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