Will Ben & Jerry’s continue to be Social Leaders?

October 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm 5 comments

Ben & Jerry’s mission statement (see http://www.benjerry.com/activism/) aligns with my own personal career goal to guide businesses to become more socially and environmentally responsible. (see www.michaellemons.com/about) I think environmental and social responsibility should be an integral part of any corporate culture. The environmental and social initiatives of a corporation should be something that all members of the organization feel ownership of and fully participate in.

The desire to contribute to the greater good of the society in which a company operates must be a core value present in all the members of the team. The social and environmental goals should be big hairy and audacious goals and the core value of social responsibility should be a timeless guiding principle for the company. I think Ben & Jerry’s does an excellent job of meeting these requirements. It seems like Ben & Jerry’s was actually thinking about and establishing the importance of the triple bottom line long before it became a common business practice.

Today, many companies have realized the importance that the stewardship of the community and environment in which they operate plays an important role in the amount of top line growth on their income statement. Ben & Jerry’s realized this long ago, and worked hard to maintain their core values and envisioned future through their day to day operations of the business. They truly led by example by talking the talk and walking the walk.

I am concerned that the acquisition of the company in 2000 may have shifted the company culture and forced the managers to focus more on bottom line growth by minimizing costs. They appear to have done this by scaling back corporate philanthropy and maximizing corporate social integration. I hope Ben & Jerry’s will continue to be a leader in the area of corporate social responsibility, and I am curious what all of my readers think?

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Question and Answer

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Erin Lear  |  October 4, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Ben and Jerry’s really have come a long way since their first ice cream shop in Burlington, Vermont. From 1978 and still till this day they continue to improve the quality of life nationally and internationally. They seem like such savvy business men. Not just talented business men, but also saavy good hearted human beings. I hope they continue to keep giving for years and years to come!!!
    -Erin

    Reply
    • 2. Michael Lemons  |  October 4, 2010 at 2:45 pm

      Well said Erin! I definitely agree with you. Do you think that the company will continue to give to environmental organizations even with the new publicity about how they will no longer brand themselves as all natural?

      Reply
      • 3. Erin  |  October 6, 2010 at 9:39 am

        Yes I believe so. Even though they are changing a few things, I think that their loyalty in giving to environmental organizations will stay intact. Ben and Jerry’s is known for this, and even though under new management this is what makes Ben and Jerry’s one of the best ice cream businesses around! If they lose their ecco friendly traits, they will for sure lose customers. Do you agree?

      • 4. Erin Lear  |  October 6, 2010 at 2:01 pm

        Yes I do think they will continue to give to environmental organizations. It is part of why they are one of the best ice cream company’s in the world! The loyalty that Ben and Jerry’s has shown over the years to these environmental organizations could not just stop because of new representation. If that did happen, I am afraid to say that they would probably lose a lot of loyal customers. Do you agree?

      • 5. Michael Lemons  |  October 7, 2010 at 9:50 pm

        I do agree. Ben & Jerry’s was founded on certain core values that aligned with that of their customers. I believe that if they stray too far from providing the social benefit(s) to society that they have in the past that those customers will switch to another brand. Thank you for the comment Erin.

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Michael Lemons

I will secure sustainability for your business with strategic CSR (corporate social responsibility) by making social impact integral to the unique value proposition of the company.

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