A Letter From Our CEO
November 28, 2012
Welcome to Ben & Jerry’s Social and Environmental Assessment report for 2011. The data we report here is collected every year for Ben & Jerry’s independent Board of Directors and our leadership team, to honestly evaluate whether we’re living up to our Company’s Social Mission. Overall, I am very pleased with the progress we are making.
We’re happy to share this report with you in hopes that it might offer some inspiration, some entertainment, and maybe even a few valuable lessons. Most of all, we hope this report helps keep the socially responsible business revolution going!
If you’re looking for the headlines, we’re proud of many things in 2011:
- Our excellent progress in transitioning to Fair Trade ingredients in many of our products;
- Our support for the Occupy movement;
- The growth of our Caring Dairy program with dairy farmers in Vermont and the Netherlands;
- Our introduction of a new, environmentally-friendlier freezer to the United States;
- Our activism in support of fair trade agreements, peace-building legislation, and democratic reform.
We also stumbled a few times in the past year. For example, our global progress towards FSC packaging was slower than we planned and due to sticky logistical challenges, we're stuck at 99% in our progress towards sourcing cage-free or free-range eggs for all of our products.
What I am most proud about is that this report clearly shows that our Company is making decisions and taking risks in line with our core values of social and economic justice, fair trade, sustainable practices, and peace. Making and selling the highest quality ice cream profitably in a competitive marketplace is not easy; but doing it in line with our Social Mission requires extraordinary commitment and passion from everyone in the Ben & Jerry’s community. I am grateful to have that high level of commitment from our Ben & Jerry’s team around the world.
One final note: Ben & Jerry’s engaged Ernst & Young to examine the Quality of Results indicators disclosed in the Social and Environmental Assessment Report. However, due to the items discussed below, Ernst & Young was not able to, and did not express an opinion on the indicators. You can read their Disclaimer of Opinion here, which we accept. It indicates that we were unable to satisfy their requirements for sufficient evidence to enable them to conclude that the indicators we present in this report are fairly stated.
To provide you some context, the estimation methodology we use in this report is described in each section. Our 2011 analysis was especially complicated, for several reasons. Notably, we made a rapid transition from a variety of conventional to Fair Trade ingredients in 2011 and we converted to a new supply chain purchasing database system.
I am confident that we have made clear progress during 2011 in many areas of our social performance. Nevertheless, we don’t take this outcome lightly. We have important work to do to in response to this result, and to prepare for a smoother ride next year. But equally important, we have work to do in making even more progress on Social Mission projects and priorities – so we are making positive impacts in the world that we can report on next year!
Thanks for taking the time to read our report and learn more about Ben & Jerry’s.
Welcome to the Highlights page of Ben & Jerry’s 2011 Social and Environmental Assessment Report. Here’s a glance at some of our current efforts to make positive change in the world through our business.
2011 – 2012 Highlights
Ben & Jerry’s operates on a three-part mission that aims to create prosperity for everyone that’s connected to our business: suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers, and neighbors alike.
You can read the whole Ben & Jerry’s Mission Statement at www.benjerry.com/activism.
WE FOCUSED ON THREE MAJOR
SOCIAL MISSION GOALS IN 2011.
Use our Company to further the cause of Peace and Justice.
Democracy.In January 2011, Ben & Jerry’s was one of the founding companies of Business for Democracy, a campaign to raise the voice of business leaders who are concerned about the corrupting influence of corporate money in American politics. On the first anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision (which gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited money to influence election outcomes) our co-founders, Ben and Jerry, joined with dozens of other business leaders to sign a statement in support of a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Since then, Business for Democracy has grown to include over 2,000 business leaders nationwide. In 2012, we plan to keep building the grassroots movement to overturn Citizens United with a campaign to Get the Dough Out of Politics.
Occupy. When protestors in New York City and other places took to the streets in the fall of 2011 to rally against increasing economic inequality in the United States, high unemployment, mortgage fraud, and too much corporate influence in American politics under the Occupy Wall Street banner, Ben & Jerry’s was one of the few companies (okay, maybe the only company) to voice our support. Our Board of Directors issued a direct statement of solidarity and we showed up in Zucotti Park on several occasions to scoop ice cream for Occupiers. Later, with our co-founders Ben and Jerry leading the way, we provided ice cream to several other occupations around the country, including Seattle, Dallas, and Washington, DC; and material support to the Burlington Occupy encampment. In December, our CEO, Jostein Solheim, spoke at the National Press Club urging other companies to support the protests in the name of social and economic justice.
Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. Part of Ben & Jerry’s commitment to social and economic justice is our support of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, which makes grants to grassroots activists making positive change in their own communities. Through the Foundation, we’re helping immigrant workers, neighborhood groups, farm workers and dozens of other groups around the country to get organized and fight for a fair deal. In 2011, Ben & Jerry’s contributed $2,180,808 to the Foundation based on the 2010 sales of the Company.
Fair Trade Ingredients. Ben & Jerry’s is proud to be a part of the growing Fair Trade movement around the world that is empowering small farmers in developing countries to compete and thrive in the global marketplace. (Or, if you prefer the European spelling, it’s the Fairtrade movement.) A central tenet of Fair Trade is that farmers get paid a fair price for their harvest no matter what happens in global commodity markets. And Fair Trade also means farmers support fair labor practices, employ environmentally friendly farming practices, and invest in their communities. Fair Trade is a way to use the global economy to serve people, not the other way around!
Ben & Jerry’s is going Fair Trade for all of the key commodities that we buy from developing countries where we can have a significant, positive impact on farmer livelihoods. Our commitment to Fair Trade is global, though we are at different stages of the Fair Trade conversion in different parts of the world. For example, all the cocoa, vanilla, sugar, coffee, and bananas we bought for our European business were Fairtrade-certified by the end of 2011. Most of the chunks and swirls we’re famous for also made the Fairtrade transition in 2011. Meanwhile, in the U.S., we made good progress on our transition to Fair Trade vanilla, cocoa and coffee over the course of 2011, and more Fair Trade ingredients are on the way. The truth is, we haven’t figured out every last detail of the transition, but we’re committed to going as far as we can to purchase Fair Trade ingredients for our ice cream. Find out more about where we are in our Fair Trade transition in an upcoming section devoted to it.
Building the Fair Trade Movement. Fair Trade will only succeed in its mission to create social, economic, and environmental benefits in developing countries if ice cream-lovers and coffee-drinkers and morning banana-eaters understand what Fair Trade is – and seek out products with the Fair Trade logo. That’s why we think teaching people about Fair Trade is just as important as sourcing Fair Trade ingredients for our products. For example, we brought the Fair Trade message to more than a dozen colleges and universities as a part of the Campus Consciousness Tour in 2011, helping students to organize for more Fair Trade products on campus. We also teamed up with local Fair Trade activists in the U.S. who are urging their towns to go Fair Trade. In addition, some of the proceeds of our flavor, “Late Night Snack” are earmarked to support Fair Trade Universities; and several of Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops have supported their local communities’ efforts to become Fair Trade towns. We also supported events for World Fair Trade Day, Fairtrade Fortnight in the UK, and Fair Trade Month in the U.S. to spread the word!
Citizens Trade Campaign. While we’re working to put more Fair Trade ingredients into our ice cream, we think everyone in the world deserves a fair deal. That’s why we took to the streets in 2011 to lend our support to grassroots efforts to write Fair Trade principles into the proposed TransPacific Partnership Free Trade agreement that the U.S. is currently negotiating with Pacific Rim countries. We collected thousands of postcards with our partners at the Citizens Trade Campaign to send to the U.S. Trade Negotiators’ Office calling for strong protections for labor, human rights, and the environment in any trade deal.
Peace Partnerships. One of our favorite days of the year is September 21 – the International Day of Peace. In 2011, for the second year in a row, we celebrated in the U.S. by teaming up with the Student Peace Alliance to advocate for key legislation in Congress that supports peace. We scooped ice cream for the U.S. House of Representatives, where about 1,000 Congressional staffers showed up to learn more about the Youth Promise Act, the U.S. Institute for Peace, and the Complex Crises Fund. The evidence is very clear that the U.S. can save a lot of money in policing and the military, if we are willing to invest a little bit more into violence prevention at home and abroad. We’ll keep doing what we can to work for peace!
In Europe, we are still partnered up with Warchild, a nonprofit that helps child soldiers in war-torn countries re-integrate into society and reclaim their childhood. We support Warchild financially and through awareness-building events.
Scoop Shop Community Action. Here’s a shout out to the men and women who own and operate franchised Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops for the positive impact they are having on their local communities. Every year, our franchisees contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in time, ice cream, and sponsorships in support of community projects of all sizes and shapes, from Green-Up Days to Food Drives to Hunger Walks. On Free Cone Day, many of our franchisees team up with local charities to raise awareness and money from free ice cream seekers who flock to their shops by the thousands. Even better, three Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops are actually owned and operated by nonprofit organizations. These so-called ‘PartnerShops’ use the scoop shop as a platform to achieve their mission of helping young people facing challenges to gain job and life skills. You can learn more about our current PartnerShops here.
Make ice cream that’s aligned with our values.
Cage-free & Free-range Eggs. Just about every egg that Ben & Jerry’s uses in the base mix of our products now comes from certified cage-free or free-range farms. We are still working to solve the logistical challenges to get the last 1% of our eggs – those used in our Canadian production, our ice cream novelty bars sold in the U.S., and one “no-sugar added” flavor sold in U.S. scoop shops, to cage-free. Details are coming soon with our full cage-free eggs section.
Sustainable Packaging. For years, we’ve been working to reduce the negative environmental impacts of our packaging materials. A few years back we phased in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paperboard for all of our U.S. pint containers. At the tail end of 2011, we made additional progress in this direction, beginning a year-long project to phase in FSC paperboard for our European 500 ml tubs. The FSC certification means that the paperboard comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife habitat, maintenance of biodiversity, avoidance of genetically modified tree species, and protection of traditional and civil rights, among other Rainforest Alliance criteria for healthy forests.
In addition, the boxes that we use for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream bars in the U.S. are made from 100% recycled paperboard. We are still exploring to find even better materials for all of our products that can stand up to the demands of the freezer and that won’t bust open when we dive into a pint with a little too much élan.
Climate Change. We continue to devise and pursue plans to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to respond to the pressing challenge of climate change. We are continuously improving the energy-efficiency of the cooling, lighting, water and waste management systems in our Vermont manufacturing plants and Company offices. With an eye towards closing loops in our supply chain, we even send the dairy waste from our Vermont plants back to two of the farms that supply us with fresh dairy ingredients. Our waste is put into methane digesters with other farm waste – where it generates energy to power the farm!
For the eleventh year, we offset all of the emissions associated with our Vermont manufacturing facilities and employee air travel with the help of Vermont-based NativeEnergy, a nationally recognized provider of high quality carbon offsets. All of our U.S. offsets support the development of new sources of renewable energy.
We continued our association with BICEP, the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy, to join other progressive companies in advocating for climate action at the federal and state level.
Meanwhile, in Europe, we have achieved ‘Climate Neutral’ status according to the standards of HIER, a consortium of 40 NGOs. This means we’ve committed to a demanding multi-year carbon emissions reduction plan and the purchase of Gold Standard carbon offsets for all of our annual emissions, including manufacturing, distribution, and air travel emissions. Part of the plan includes the installation of a bio-digester at our manufacturing plant in Hellendoorn, the Netherlands, which will turn the factory’s dairy waste into energy.
Cleaner, Greener Freezers At Last! In 2011, our ship finally came in when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved our petition for the commercial use of hydrocarbon (HC) freezers in the U.S. HC freezers are significantly more energy-efficient and use gases with lower global warming potential than standard freezers, so the EPA approval is good news for the environment. We’ve already got 250 of these HC freezers in a successful pilot test in the U.S., and we’ll be bringing thousands more to the marketplace in the next several years. A side benefit: they’re cheaper to run than the old HFC freezers, so we have high hopes that other companies will fall right in line with our subversive plot to save the environment. In Europe, HC freezers are already in widespread use, including many that contain Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
Take the Lead Promoting Global Sustainable
Caring Dairy™. We’ve been working with dairy farmers in Vermont and the Netherlands for many years to help them push towards the leading edge of sustainable dairy practices. Our Caring Dairy™ program sponsors and supports farmers on their journey of continuous improvement in their social, environmental, and economic performance. In 2011, we had 71 farmers enrolled in Caring Dairy from the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, our primary supplier of dairy ingredients in the U.S. These 71 farmers produced a volume of milk equivalent to 92% of Ben & Jerry’s needs in 2011, and we’ll sign on more farmers in 2012 until we reach 100%. Our Dutch dairy supplier, CONO Cheesemakers, has more than 90% of its nearly 500 farmers participating in Caring Dairy, more than enough to cover Ben & Jerry’s dairy needs. Our long-term goal remains to engage all of our dairy suppliers around the world in sustainable dairy partnerships.
rBGH. Almost twenty years ago, Ben & Jerry’s came out in opposition to the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a genetically engineered hormone given to cows to increase their milk production. We think rBGH is a step in the wrong direction towards a chemically-intensive, high-tech food system that has unacceptable social and environmental costs. In the U.S., we require our dairy farmers to pledge that they don’t treat their cows with rBGH, and our products carry a label that states our opposition to rBGH. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that there is no significant difference between milk from rBGH-treated and untreated cows. But in Canada and most European countries, rBGH has never been able to win government approval, so in those countries, it’s one less thing we have to worry about. Even in the U.S., rBGH use has declined in recent years – and we look forward to the day when it is no longer used in the dairy industry.
Good Food Policy. We continue to wait and watch as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers whether or not to allow genetically engineered (GE) salmon into the U.S. food supply, which would be the first-ever GE animal to gain such approval. While we don’t use any fish in our ice cream, we know that genetically engineered cows and other animals are in development. And at Ben & Jerry’s, we believe the ethical, environmental, and economic risks of tinkering with animal genes for food production are unacceptable – certainly until such time as we have a fuller understanding of what we’re getting ourselves into. Even worse, the U.S. doesn’t have any regulatory framework in place yet that’s designed to comprehensively evaluate the risks of these newfangled animals. The scene is different in many other countries, where GE animals have not come up for approval yet – or where ‘novel foods’ regulations are generally clearer and stronger. We’ll keep speaking out for good policy in this important arena of ‘novel food technologies,’ as we have with rBGH and cloned animals in earlier years.
2. OUR COMPANY
How We Work
Ben & Jerry’s has been making ice cream since 1978 when grade school buddies Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened their first scoop shop in Burlington, Vermont. Though we’ve never strayed from the boys’ original dream — to create unique and euphoric ice cream flavors while making a positive impact along the way — we have grown and changed in all sorts of ways.
Today, Ben & Jerry’s is owned by Unilever, and our packaged ice cream and novelties are sold in stores across the U.S. and in more than 30 other countries around the world. Our products are produced in pints, quarts, 500 ml cups, 2.4-gallon and 4.5 liter tubs, single-serve cups and individual novelties; and these are distributed in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, scoop shops, restaurants and other venues. Outside of North America, Ben & Jerry’s products are marketed and distributed by affiliated companies within Unilever, and third-party licensees in Israel, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Ben & Jerry’s global business is managed out of our Central Support office in South Burlington, Vermont. Within Unilever, we are grouped with the Breyers®, Klondike®, Popsicle® and Good Humor® brands in the U.S. Ice Cream division, managed out of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors
Our Chief Euphoria Officer Jostein Solheim receives feedback and counsel on the Company’s direction from an independent Board of Directors, established at the time of the Unilever acquisition. The Board is responsible for advising and supporting Ben & Jerry’s senior management in maintaining and strengthening the Company’s three-part Mission Statement and protecting Ben & Jerry’s brand equity. This Board, which meets quarterly, includes several former directors of the Company with longstanding ties to the business. In 2011, the Board had important input on the Company’s support for the Occupy movement, Ben & Jerry’s Fair Trade strategy, Business for Democracy initiative, and numerous other issues.
Ben & Jerry’s is founded on and dedicated to a sustainable corporate concept of linked prosperity. Our mission consists of three interrelated parts:
Product Mission To make, distribute and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment.
Economic Mission To operate the Company on a sustainable financial basis of profitable growth, increasing value for our stakeholders and expanding opportunities for development and career growth for our employees.
Social Mission To operate the company in a way that actively recognizes the central role that business plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally.
Underlying the mission is the determination to seek new and creative ways of addressing all three parts, while holding a deep respect for individuals inside and outside the company and for the communities of which they are a part.
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for the North American market is made in our manufacturing plants in Waterbury and St. Albans, Vermont and in a Unilever facility in Henderson, Nevada. We make Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for the European market in a Unilever facility in Hellendoorn, The Netherlands and for the Canadian market in a Unilever facility in Simcoe, Ontario. Our U.S. frozen novelties are manufactured at a Unilever facility in Sikeston, Missouri.
At the end of 2011, Ben & Jerry’s employed 442 people globally, as compared to 497 in 2010. The decrease is primarily due to a reorganization of Ben & Jerry’s Vermont manufacturing plants which reduced the workforce at our Waterbury plant. Unilever’s Hellendoorn manufacturing plant, which makes Ben & Jerry’s for the majority of its production, employs approximately 200 additional people; and about 35 other Unilever employees across the globe (amounting to about 15 full-time equivalents) work on sales, marketing, and related functions for the Ben & Jerry’s brand.
We have a progressive, nonpartisan Social Mission that seeks to meet human needs and eliminate injustices in our local, national, and international communities by integrating these concerns into our day-to-day business activities. Our focus is on children and families, the environment and sustainable agriculture on family farms.
Capitalism and the wealth it produces do not create opportunity for everyone equally. We recognize that the gap between the rich and the poor is wider than at any time since the 1920s. We strive to create economic opportunities for those who have been denied them and to advance new models of economic justice that are sustainable and replicable.
By definition, the manufacturing of products creates waste. We strive to minimize our negative impact on the environment.
The growing of food is overly reliant on the use of toxic chemicals and other methods that are unsustainable. We support sustainable and safe methods of food production that reduce environmental degradation, maintain the productivity of the land over time, and support the economic viability of family farms and rural communities.
We seek and support nonviolent ways to achieve peace and justice. We believe government resources are more productively used in meeting human needs than in building and maintaining weapons systems.
We strive to show a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.
4. CARING DAIRY
Fresh cream and milk make up more than half of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. So we’ve always tried to make sure our Company’s values — including support for safe and sustainable food production, family farms, and rural communities — are reflected in the milk we buy.
For over two decades, we’ve been buying milk for our Vermont production from the St. Albans Cooperative in Vermont, made up of about 450 family farmers; and we have required all of our farmers to pledge not to treat their cows with rBGH, an artificial growth hormone. In the Netherlands, where we produce ice cream for the European market, we buy milk from CONO Cheesemakers, made up of about 500 family farmers; rBGH is not even legal in the Netherlands, so it’s one less thing we have to worry about!
We’ve also been working with these dairy farmers in Vermont and the Netherlands for many years to help them push towards the leading edge of sustainable dairy practices. Our Caring Dairy™ program – now up and running in both places – supports farmers on their journey of continuous improvement in their social, environmental, and economic performance.
We also buy some dairy ingredients from two other suppliers for the ice cream we make in Unilever facilities in Canada, Nevada, and Missouri. These suppliers also provide us with milk from family farmers who pledge not to treat their cows with rBGH.
The figures presented in this section are based on estimates of dairy volumes needed to cover Ben & Jerry’s production at each Unilever plant during 2011. These estimates are generated by combining production data for each Ben & Jerry’s product with product formulas and ingredient specification targets. It is not possible to rely on actual dairy purchasing records because dairy ingredients are ‘shared’ with other Unilever brands in each plant where Ben & Jerry’s is made. We rely on our dairy supplier, the St. Albans Cooperative, to calculate dairy volumes produced by individual farmers. Farmer performance scores presented in this section are derived from farmer self-assessments.
Quality of Results:
In 2011, Ben & Jerry’s had 71 farmers from the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery enrolled in our Caring Dairy program. These 71 farmers produce a volume of milk equivalent to about 92% of Ben & Jerry’s needs in North America. Our goal is to sign on more farmers in 2012 until we reach 100% of our total dairy volume used in North America.
Our Dutch dairy supplier, CONO Cheesemakers, had more than 90% of its farmers participating in the Caring Dairy program. These farmers supply more than enough milk to cover all of Ben & Jerry’s dairy needs for all of our European production.
In 2011, our U.S. Caring Dairy farmers also began to report farm performance data on their social, environmental, and economic impacts. This data was gathered from the online Caring Dairy self-assessment which each participating farmer completes.
A total of 66 U.S. farmers completed the self-assessment survey in 2011. Based on their responses, they were given a score in each of 11 indicators of farm performance and a traffic light color (red, yellow, or green) to show their progress towards best practices. For all the indicators, a red light means that a farmer has made no progress or minimal progress towards best practices; a yellow light means a farmer is using some good practices but still has significant room for improvement; a green light means that a farmer is using some or all of the best practices on their farm. The table below shows how farmers scored in 2011.
Some of our Caring Dairy farmers in the Netherlands began collecting data on some, but not all, of the indicators in 2011. A total of 146 farmers completed the self-assessment in the ‘Cow Compass,’ which measures animal husbandry practices. When we have more complete data, we will present the progress we’re seeing.
We have not implemented Caring Dairy with our three smallest suppliers of milk and cream, serving our factories in Canada; Henderson, Nevada; and Sikeston, Missouri. Rather than develop separate Caring Dairy programs in these places, our intention is to enroll additional Vermont farmers in the Caring Dairy program – enough that these additional farmers will produce an equivalent volume of milk to what Ben & Jerry’s uses in these other factories. We believe this so-called ‘mass-balancing approach’ is the most efficient and high-impact way that we can drive improvements in the dairy sector.
There’s plenty of sugar in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, no doubt about it. Our goal is to make sure our sugar is coming from suppliers who are doing right by their workers and following environmentally friendly farming practices.
In Europe, we have been phasing in Fairtrade sugar in all Ben & Jerry’s products since 2010; and in North America and Asia, Fair Trade sugar is in our plans for the years ahead.
The figures presented in this section are based on estimates of sugar volumes needed to cover Ben & Jerry’s production at each Unilever plant during 2011. These estimates are generated by combining production data for each Ben & Jerry’s product with product formulas. It is not possible to rely on actual sugar purchasing records because conventional sugar is a ‘shared ingredient’ with other Unilever brands in each plant where Ben & Jerry’s is made.
We are able to check our estimates of Fairtrade sugar usage in Europe against actual purchasing records because as of 2011, Ben & Jerry’s was the only Unilever ice cream brand using Fairtrade sugar.
Many Ben & Jerry’s products made in Europe transitioned from conventional to Fairtrade sugar over the course of 2011. This transition makes it more difficult to get precise figures on Fairtrade sugar usage.
Quality of Results:
In 2011, we estimate that 23.1% of the sugar used in all Ben & Jerry’s ice cream base mix, globally, was Fairtrade certified, up from 16.4% in 2010. In Europe, about 74.9% of the sugar we bought was Fairtrade, primarily from Belize. By year end 2011, Ben & Jerry’s had transitioned virtually all of its ice cream recipes to using only Fairtrade sugar in Europe.
By contrast, none of our sugar bought in the U.S. or Canada was Fair Trade. The supply of Fair Trade sugar for the North American market that is suitable for use in our ice cream continues to be very limited. We are working with others in the Fair Trade movement to develop this supply in time to meet our goal of converting to Fair Trade sugar by year end 2013.
As we proceed through our Fair Trade conversion in the next few years, we anticipate this metric will show significant improvement.
Several years ago, Ben & Jerry’s decided to switch to using cage-free eggs in our ice cream. We were convinced by the research that shows cage-free egg systems, combined with rigorous third-party certification, allow hens more opportunity to engage in normal behaviors such as roosting, scratching, and stretching their wings.
As one of the earliest companies to commit to cage-free, we were ahead of the market and had to make the change in stages so the cage-free egg industry could catch up with our demand. We also had logistical challenges of our own to solve. We went ‘free-range’ for our European egg supply in 2005; and we began to go cage-free in the U.S. in 2007. As of year-end 2011, we are very close to completing this conversion.
The figures presented in this section are based on estimates of egg volumes needed to cover Ben & Jerry’s production at each Unilever plant during 2011. These estimates are generated by combining production data for each Ben & Jerry’s product with product formulas. It is not possible to rely on actual egg purchasing records because cage-free eggs are a ‘shared ingredient’ with other Unilever brands in some plants where Ben & Jerry’s is made.
In Europe, some Ben & Jerry’s egg ingredients transitioned to using Fairtrade sugar over the course of 2011. This transition makes it more difficult to get precise figures on the percentage of eggs purchased with Fairtrade sugar.
Quality of Results:
In 2011, on a global basis, we estimate that 98.8% of the eggs used in Ben & Jerry’s base ice cream mix came from cage-free or free-range suppliers.
All of the eggs we use in the ice cream base of our European production – that’s 100% - are ‘free range’ eggs, certified by Control Production Eiren and KAT.
In the U.S., we estimate that 99% of our eggs came from Certified Humane cage-free suppliers. The remaining 1% represents the eggs we put into Ben & Jerry’s ice cream novelty bars sold in the U.S. - and one “no-sugar added” flavor sold in U.S. scoop shops. We are still ironing out the final logistical challenges to get all the way to 100%.
In the course of our 2011 examination we also determined that small volumes of conventional eggs were used in some Ben & Jerry’s production runs at the Henderson manufacturing plant. Our understanding is that no more than 10% of the eggs used in any production run were conventional eggs. This was done in order to manage egg inventories for optimal ingredient freshness. We have begun the process of reviewing and re-aligning our practices to ensure that, going forward, only cage-free eggs will be used for Ben & Jerry’s production at Henderson.
The eggs we use in our Canadian production are conventionally sourced and are not cage-free at this time. It is in our long-term plan to transition these eggs to cage-free, but we face significant logistical challenges at this time.
Beyond the cage-free egg transition, we are also working to make sure that the eggs we buy are sweetened with Fair Trade sugar. In 2011, we estimate that 61.9% of the eggs we purchased for our European ice cream were processed with Fairtrade sugar, up from 48.2% in 2010. Neither Canada nor the U.S. have begun the transition. On a global basis, therefore, we estimate that 22.2% of the eggs we bought in 2011 were processed with Fairtrade sugar, up from 17.2% the year before.
7. CHUNKS & SWIRLS
Chunks & Swirls
The number of different chunks and swirls in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream literally reaches into the hundreds, from plain walnuts to chocolate-covered waffle cones to whiskey-caramel swirls. Our aspirations for these most adventuresome ingredients are very high. In some cases, we want them to be made with Fair Trade Certified ingredients; in other cases, we want to find suppliers who are aligned with Ben & Jerry’s Mission and values. Three companies who currently provide us with chunks and swirls are considered ‘Values-Led Sourcing” (VLS) suppliers.
The Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York, has been supplying us with chocolate brownies for our Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavor for over 20 years. The bakery is owned by the Greyston Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to support low-income people and families on the path to self-sufficiency. Greyston’s programs reach over 2,000 people a year through child care, housing, health care, and other services!
Rhino Foods is another longtime VLS Supplier that makes the gobs of cookie dough we use in our Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. Rhino employs dozens of people who have come to the U.S. as refugees from around the world. Through a variety of support programs, Rhino helps these workers earn a living, save money, develop a credit history, and make a new life for themselves and their families.
The Superior Nut Company also supplies Ben & Jerry’s with some of our peanut-based inclusions. Superior Nut has invested for many years in a leading reforestation project in Costa Rica that aims to offset the company’s carbon emissions.
The figures presented in this section are based on estimates of ingredient volumes needed to cover Ben & Jerry’s production at each Unilever plant during 2011. These estimates are generated by combining production data for each Ben & Jerry’s product with product formulas. It is not possible to rely on records of actual purchases of chunks and swirls because many are ‘shared ingredients’ with other Unilever brands in each plant where Ben & Jerry’s is made.
We are able to check our estimates of Fairtrade/Fair Trade chunks and swirls against actual purchasing records because to date, Ben & Jerry’s is the only Unilever ice cream brand using any Fairtrade/Fair Trade chunks and swirls.
Some Ben & Jerry’s chunks and swirls transitioned to Fairtrade/Fair Trade certification over the course of 2011. This transition makes it more difficult to get precise figures on the percentage of Fairtrade chunks and swirls used.
VLS results presented in this section are built on the same volume estimates, and are also subject to error from changing exchange rates and variable contract pricing of ingredients.
Quality of Results:
In 2011, we estimate that 4.4% of the chunks and swirls in our ice cream made in the U.S. and Canada were Fair Trade Certified (measured by volume), essentially unchanged from 4.0% the year before. In Europe, we estimate that 70.2% were Fairtrade Certified, up quite a bit from 52.9% the year before. On a global basis, therefore, our best estimate is that 27.7% of the ingredients in this category were Fair Trade/Fairtrade, up from 21.6% in 2010.
At the same time, we estimate that 18% of our total spend on chunks and swirls in the U.S. and Canada was with our three VLS suppliers, down from last year’s 23%. In Europe, 2011 is the first year that we were able to estimate our VLS spend percentage in this category, which came in at 36%. Globally, our VLS spending on chunks and swirls was therefore approximately 24% in 2011. We did not add or drop any VLS suppliers in 2011 in the chunks and swirls category.
We have high standards for the fruit we use in our ice cream. Beyond excellent quality, we want them to be grown, harvested, and processed in ways consistent with our values. For some ingredients, that means we are moving towards Fair Trade certification. We also have a goal to source some of our fruit from suppliers who meet our ‘Values-Led Sourcing” (VLS) criteria, meaning they are delivering extraordinary social or economic benefits through their products, their business operations, or their business model. As fruit is a relatively small part of our total ingredient purchasing, it has been a lower priority for developing Fair Trade and VLS initiatives.
The figures presented in this section are based on estimates of fruit volumes needed to cover Ben & Jerry’s production at each Unilever plant during 2011. These estimates are generated by combining production data for each Ben & Jerry’s product with product formulas. It is not possible to rely on records of actual fruit purchases because many are ‘shared ingredients’ with other Unilever brands in each plant where Ben & Jerry’s is made.
We are able to check our estimates of Fairtrade fruit purchases in Europe against actual purchasing records because to date, Ben & Jerry’s is the only Unilever ice cream brand using Fairtrade fruit.
Some Ben & Jerry’s fruit used in European production transitioned to Fairtrade certification over the course of 2011. This Fairtrade transition makes it more difficult to get precise figures on the percentage of Fairtrade fruit used.
Quality of Results:
In 2011, none of the fruit we purchased for our U.S. and Canadian ice cream was Fair Trade Certified. In Europe, where we have already phased in Fairtrade banana puree, which is our single largest fruit ingredient, we estimate that 84.0% of our fruit purchases were Fairtrade Certified, down a bit from 89.9% the year before. Globally, about 19.0% of our fruit was Fairtrade, compared to 19.9% in 2010.
As of 2011, we did not have any VLS suppliers of fruit in the U.S., Canada, or Europe.
9. CHOCOLATE & COCOA POWDER
Chocolate & Cocoa Powder
For many diehard Ben & Jerry’s fans, there wouldn’t be much point to eating ice cream at all if it didn’t have chocolate in it somewhere. So it’s no surprise that nearly three-quarters of our flavors have chocolate or cocoa in them somewhere, in the form of cocoa powder, chocolate chunks, milk chocolate Peace signs, fudge swirls, and various other gobs, chips, and flakes.
Taken together, these ingredients use a significant volume of cocoa powder or cocoa butter. We believe that by transitioning these cocoa-based ingredients to Fair Trade Certified, we can have a significant impact on improving the livelihoods of our cocoa farmers.
We also have a goal to source some of our chocolate and cocoa ingredients from suppliers who are especially aligned with Ben & Jerry’s Mission and Values, in addition to Fair Trade certification. We call these suppliers “Values-Led Sourcing”(VLS) suppliers.
The figures presented in this section are based on estimates of cocoa and chocolate volumes needed to cover Ben & Jerry’s production at each Unilever plant during 2011.
These estimates are generated by combining production data for each Ben & Jerry’s product with product formulas. It is not possible to rely on records of actual cocoa and chocolate purchases because some are ‘shared ingredients’ with other Unilever brands in each plant where Ben & Jerry’s is made.
We are able to check our estimates of Fairtrade/Fair Trade cocoa and chocolate purchases against actual purchasing records because as of 2011, Ben & Jerry’s was the only Unilever ice cream brand using Fairtrade/Fair Trade cocoa and chocolate.
A significant percentage of Ben & Jerry’s cocoa and chocolate transitioned to Fairtrade/Fair Trade certification over the course of 2011. This transition makes it more difficult to get precise figures on the percentage of Fairtrade/Fair Trade cocoa and chocolate used.
Quality of Results:
We made huge strides in phasing in Fair Trade cocoa powder in 2011 in our cocoa and chocolate ingredients. On a global basis, we estimate that 39.5% of these chocolatey ingredients contained Fairtrade/Fair Trade cocoa powder in 2011 (by volume), up from 14.9% in 2010.
While this figure does not include some candies that contain chocolate, which we count in the QoR Chunks & Swirls category, (e.g. peanut butter cups, chocolate-covered almonds) it does represent a major shift in our cocoa and chocolate buying practices. We are moving as rapidly as we can towards Fair Trade cocoa, given the complexity of our supply chain.
Most notably, we are now using Fair Trade cocoa powder in most of our chocolate-based ice cream flavors in the U.S. and Europe, including New York Super Fudge Chunk, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Phish Food, Half Baked, everything but the, Chocolate Therapy, and Smooth Chocolate.
In Europe, we estimate that 88.2% of ingredients in this category were made with Fairtrade cocoa powder, up from 57.9% in 2010. In the U.S. we hit an estimated 19.7% Fair Trade, up from 1.9% the previous year.
None of our suppliers of cocoa and chocolate ingredients were VLS suppliers in 2011.
Natural flavorings such as vanilla, coffee extract and cinnamon are an important part of the party inside our pints. Where possible, and where we can make a significant impact on farmer livelihoods, we are transitioning these ingredients to Fair Trade Certified. Although it can be hard to make vanilla bean-to-coffee bean comparisons among flavorings, we are able to estimate our overall progress towards our Fair Trade goals in this category by looking at the total number of dollars we spent on Fair Trade and conventional flavorings.
We also have a goal to source some of our flavorings from suppliers who are especially aligned with Ben & Jerry’s Mission and Values, in addition to Fair Trade certification. We call these suppliers “Values-Led Sourcing”(VLS) suppliers.
The figures presented in this section are based on estimates of flavoring volumes needed to cover Ben & Jerry’s production at each Unilever plant during 2011. These estimates are generated by combining production data for each Ben & Jerry’s product with product formulas and ingredient pricing data. It is not possible to rely on records of actual flavoring purchases because some are ‘shared ingredients’ with other Unilever brands in each plant where Ben & Jerry’s is made.
We are able to check most of our estimates of Fairtrade/Fair Trade flavoring purchase volumes against actual purchasing records because with one exception, Ben & Jerry’s was the only Unilever ice cream brand using Fairtrade/Fair Trade flavorings in 2011.
The pricing data we rely on are estimates subject to error from changing exchange rates and variable contract pricing of ingredients.
Several Ben & Jerry’s flavorings transitioned to Fairtrade/Fair Trade certification over the course of 2011. This transition makes it more difficult to get precise figures on the percentage of Fairtrade fruit used.
Quality of Results:
In 2011, we estimate that just over 80% of the flavorings that we purchased and used in our global production were Fair Trade Certified, measured in dollars. We recognize that because Fair Trade ingredients in this category cost significantly more than conventional ingredients, this estimate measured in dollars shows a higher Fair Trade percentage than an estimate by volume would show. However, it is the most practical way we have found to show our progress in the flavorings category which lumps together dissimilar ingredients.
In the U.S., we estimate that 84% of our flavoring spend went to Fair Trade ingredients (vanilla and coffee extracts), up from 65% in 2010. (The 2010 figure is a corrected number from the 62.7% we published in last year’s report.) In Europe, we reached about 71% Fairtrade flavorings, which is the first time we have been able to calculate this number.
None of our suppliers of flavorings were VLS suppliers in 2011.
11. NON-GMO SOURCING
At Ben & Jerry’s, our Company Progressive Values Statement includes support for “sustainable methods of food production” and our three-part Mission Statement calls for the use of “wholesome, natural ingredients.” In principle, we believe that sourcing ingredients that are not derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is one way that we can align our business practices with these intentions. We are working to achieve this ambition.
In Europe, where public opposition to GMOs is strong, and where there is legislation that spells out labeling requirements for foods made from GMOs, it is relatively straightforward to source all ingredients non-GMO. Therefore, all Ben & Jerry’s products made and sold in Europe are non-GMO. We also source non-GMO ingredients for some products we sell in Asia where markets require it.
However, in the U.S. and Canada, the situation is more challenging. Without any GMO labeling requirements for approved GMO foods, GMO crops have been fully integrated into the food supply and it is difficult and expensive to source verifiably non-GMO ingredients. Because Ben & Jerry’s buys a large number of conventionally-sourced chunks and swirls from third party suppliers, we have found it difficult to exclude GMO ingredients from many of our products. In most cases, the volume of GMO ingredients in Ben & Jerry’s products represents a very small fraction of the total.
Nonetheless, in alignment with our values, Ben & Jerry’s is in the process of transitioning away from GMO ingredients in our U.S. and Canadian products.
Ben & Jerry’s relies on our suppliers’ assurance for determining the GMO or non-GMO status of ingredients, in line with European Union regulations. In the U.S., because there is no regulation around non-GMO labeling, the assurance we receive from suppliers is not standardized.
Quality of Results:
In 2011, we did not use any GMO ingredients in our European production. In the United States and Canada, we did not use any GMO ingredients in the base mix of our regular ice cream flavors. However, some of the chunks and swirls we add into our U.S. and Canadian products, and the corn syrup used in our frozen yogurt and sorbet, are sourced conventionally and may contain GMO ingredients. In addition, we make one no-sugar-added flavor for our scoop shops that may contain GMO ingredients.
We are in the process of working with our U.S. suppliers to transition away from GMO ingredients in all of our products. To measure our progress, we have done a careful analysis of all the chunks and swirls we use in the U.S. and identified all those that are potentially derived from GMOs, such as corn, soy, canola, cottonseed, and sugar beets. This total represents the number of ingredients we still need to convert to non-GMO. By year-end 2011, we had converted 42.3% of these potentially GMO ingredients to non-GMO sources, up one percentage point from 2010. Our slow progress in the past year reflects the fact that our R&D and supply chain resources were primarily focused on our Fair Trade transition in 2011.
For years, Ben & Jerry’s has been working to reduce the negative environmental impacts of our packaging materials. It has always been a challenge, given that our packaging must meet strict requirements for food packaging and also has to stand up to temperatures of 20 degrees below zero (F). In recent years, we have focused on making sure all of the paperboard used in our pint cartons and novelty boxes (our two largest packaging uses) is coming from environmentally friendly sources. Toward this end, we have phased in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paperboard for all of our U.S. pint containers. The FSC certification means that the paperboard comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife habitat, maintenance of biodiversity, avoidance of genetically modified tree species, and protection of traditional and civil rights, among other Rainforest Alliance criteria for healthy forests. We are still working to get FSC paperboard into the paperboard that we use in our Canadian, European, and Asian packaging. We are on track to have Europe’s packaging converted to FSC by year-end 2012.
While our pint containers are not allowed to contain post-consumer recycled material because of food contact regulations, we are using 100% recycled paperboard in the boxes that we use for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream bars in the U.S.
We are confident that we can continue to improve our primary packaging materials, such as pints and 500 ml tubs, in the years ahead. Our long-term goals include using unbleached paperboard and finding food-safe renewable resins that can make our packaging fully compostable.
We are working to improve the packaging materials used in Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops, such as bowls, spoons, drink cups, and napkins. For example, in the U.S., we have used unbleached paper in our napkins for many years and our drink cups, while made of plastic, are recyclable and have been light-weighted to use as little material as possible.
In our corporate office, we have made significant strides in using environmentally friendly materials, including 100% post-consumer recycled and process chlorine-free paper; compostable dinnerware, green cleaning solutions, low-VOC paints, and environmentally sound flooring.
The figures presented in this section are based on estimates of container counts needed to cover Ben & Jerry’s production at each Unilever plant during 2011. We are able to check our estimates of container counts against actual purchasing records. Aggregate paperboard weights are calculated from the container counts and target weights of the paperboard components of each Ben & Jerry’s package. There is natural variability in the actual weight of the paperboard used in each container, which introduces a small margin of error into our results.
Quality of Results:
In 2011, on a global basis, we estimate that 61% of the paperboard we used in our primary packaging was FSC certified, down from 67% in 2010, measured by weight.
Our score reflects our use of FSC paperboard for U.S. pint packaging but none is in use yet in Canada, Asia, and Europe; nor in our U.S. minicup and quart containers. The year-over-year decline is the result of our European sales growing faster than our U.S. sales last year. None of our primary packaging used process chlorine-free paperboard in 2011.
All of the boxes used on Ben & Jerry’s novelty bars in the U.S. and Canada were made with 100% recycled fiber. We do not sell novelty bars in Europe or elsewhere.
We have not yet developed metrics that track our progress towards improving the environmental attributes of our secondary packaging, scoop shop packaging or our office materials. We will keep working on it!
13. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT & ACTIVISM
Our co-founder, Ben Cohen, once said, “Business has a responsibility to give back to the community from which it draws its support.” Jerry Greenfield, our other co-founder, once asked, “If it’s not fun, why do it?” In many ways, these two ideas capture the yin and yang of Ben & Jerry’s formula for success. And they have inspired our Company and our employees to all sorts of community service, social activism, and fun for over 30 years. Here is a look at a few of the ways we pitched in and shared our voice in 2011.
Ben & Jerry's Foundation
Part of Ben & Jerry’s commitment to social and economic justice is our support of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, which makes grants to grassroots activists making positive change in their own communities. Through the Foundation, we’re helping immigrant workers, neighborhood groups, farm workers and dozens of other groups around the country to get organized and fight for a fair deal.
Community Service Projects
Each year, Ben & Jerry’s employees work together on several large-scale community service projects - to fix, clean, build, and refresh things that improve the quality of life for our neighbors. Our Community Action Teams at our Vermont sites organized projects in 2011 with Vermont State Parks, Relay for Life, and Vermont Dairy Days, among other things.
At our annual Franchise Community Gathering, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, dozens of Ben & Jerry’s employees and hundreds of franchisees and scoop shop staff worked at the nearby St. Jude’s Ranch for Children on a variety of renovation, maintenance, and fundraising projects.
Ben & Jerry’s also gives employees paid time off for volunteering in the community on projects of their own choosing. Employees’ participation in our Bucket Brigade program hit an estimated 50% in 2011, up from 30% last year.
Social Mission Campaigns
Beyond hammering nails and painting fences, Ben & Jerry’s involvement in the community extends to activist campaigns around important issues that are aligned with our Company values. We’ve never been afraid to speak up for social and economic justice, safe and sustainable food, or peace! Here’s a look at where we were active in 2011.
Royalties paid to nonprofits
Every day around the globe, in scoop shops, shopping centers, and grocery stores, a percentage of sales of certain Ben & Jerry’s products are directed to nonprofit charitable organizations, including Fairtrade organizations. These products include:
- All Fairtrade Certified flavors sold in Europe and Fair Trade Certified flavors sold in the U.S. contribute funds that support the work of Fairtrade/Fair Trade labeling organizations and around the world – in addition to Fairtrade premiums paid to farmers for the ingredients they grow for us.
- Phish Food® (global) – Some of the royalties from this flavor are paid to the Waterwheel Foundation’s Lake Champlain Initiative, which protects the health of this beautiful lake on Vermont’s western border, and its surrounding watershed.
- Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream™ (US) – Royalties are paid to the Stephen Colbert AmeriCone Dream Fund and its mission to benefit children, veterans, and the environment.
- Hannah Teter’s Maple Blondie (US) – Royalties are paid to World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization helping communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Hannah’s project through World Vision brings clean water and better sanitation to the rural community of Kirindon in Kenya.
- Dave Matthews Band’s Magic Brownies® (US) – Royalties go to Bama Works, a nonprofit organization that supports charitable programs in the Charlottesville, Virginia area including those serving disadvantaged youth, the disabled, protection of the environment, and the arts and humanities.
- Willie Nelson’s Country Peach Cobbler™ (US) – Royalties are paid to Farm Aid and its ongoing mission to support family-farm centered agriculture in America and to keep family farmers on their land.
We use a variety of data sources to compile the figures in this section. Employee volunteering data is based on employee self-reporting or simple headcounts at group service projects. Media impressions data for selected Social Mission campaigns are compiled by Ben & Jerry’s PR agency. Our annual Social Mission survey is administered to employees in Ben & Jerry’s Vermont plants on a single day via a paper survey. Office workers respond via an online survey that is ‘open’ over a period of three weeks. Spending on royalties comes directly from financial records.
Community & Activism Quality of Results
In 2011, Ben & Jerry’s contributed $2,180,808 to the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation based on the 2010 sales of the Company, up 4.9% from the previous year.
Ben & Jerry’s employees around the world volunteered for a total of 3,179 hours by our best estimate. That’s up from the 2,849 hours that we estimated for 2010.
We paid royalties to nonprofits on some of our products, totaling $1,246,995 in the U.S. and €566,447 in Europe, for a grand total of about $1,998,103 worldwide in 2011. Due largely to our conversion of so many of our products to Fair Trade/Fairtrade certification in 2011, the total of global royalty payments to nonprofits was up 111% from 2010.
The overall global investment we made in the community through nonprofit royalties, community action, social mission campaigns, and charitable giving (not including the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation) was more than $2,436,000, up a hefty 96% from the year before.
Our Social Mission campaigns in the U.S. earned 165,900,000 media impressions – in print, broadcast, and web channels - by our best count in calendar year 2011. Our support of the Occupy movement led the way. This 2011 total dwarfed the 25,129,000 Social Mission campaign impressions we received in 2010. We were not able to collect media impressions data on Social Mission campaigns outside the U.S. But in 11 of the 21 countries where Ben & Jerry’s is ‘seeding’ or ‘nurturing’ we had a Social Mission partnership with an NGO, according to our brand representatives in those countries.
Our employees’ attitudes about the importance of Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission stayed roughly the same from 2010 to 2011, according to a company-wide survey administered in our Vermont manufacturing plants and office sites in Vermont, the UK, and Singapore.
Using a 5-point scale, where 1 represents “strongly disagree” and 5 represents “strongly agree,” office workers rated the Company at an average score of 4.1 (up 1% from 2010) and plant workers rated the Company at 3.6 (down 1%) on questions related to Social Mission commitment, importance, communication, and leadership.
The highest average score in the survey was 4.1 out of 5 for the statement “The Social Mission is important to Ben & Jerry’s success as a business.” The lowest average score was 3.3 out of 5 for the statement, “Ben & Jerry’s management effectively and honestly communicates about Social Mission priorities and projects.”
14. ENVIRONMENT & CLIMATE
Environment & Climate
At Ben & Jerry’s, we are committed to reducing the environmental impacts of our business. For many years, we have invested aggressively in energy-efficient technology from cooling systems to lighting to water and waste management systems at our manufacturing plants. We continue to devise and pursue innovative plans to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our business to respond to the urgent challenge of climate change. We send dairy waste from our Vermont ice cream plants back to two of the farms that supply us with fresh dairy ingredients. Our waste is put into methane digesters with other farm waste - where it generates energy to power the farm!
In 2011, we were thrilled to learn that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved our application to use hydrocarbon (HC) freezers in the U.S. These next-generation HC freezers are significantly more energy-efficient and use gases with lower global warming potential than standard freezers, which use hydrofluorocarbons (HFC). We’ve already got 250 of these next-generation HC freezers in a successful pilot test around the U.S. and now the path is clear to bring thousands more in the coming years and phase out of HFC freezers in our supply chain. In Europe, HC freezers are already in widespread use, including many that contain Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
For the eleventh year, we offset all of the emissions associated with our Vermont manufacturing facilities and employee air travel with the help of Vermont-based NativeEnergy, a nationally recognized provider of high quality carbon offsets. All of our U.S. offsets support the development of new sources of renewable energy.
Meanwhile, in Europe, we have achieved ‘Climate Neutral’ status according to the standards of HIER, a consortium of 40 NGOs. This means we’ve committed to a demanding multi-year carbon emissions reduction plan and the purchase of Gold Standard carbon offsets for all of our annual emissions. Part of the plan includes the installation of a bio-digester at our manufacturing plant in Hellendoorn, the Netherlands, which will turn the factory’s dairy waste into energy.
Figures presented in this section are based on four environmental performance parameters at each Unilever plant that makes Ben & Jerry’s products. The source data is collected and managed through Unilever’s Environmental Performance Recording system according to internal standards.
Ben & Jerry’s Climate Counts performance score was not calculated in 2011. Our 2010 score was determined by the nonprofit Climate Counts using their independent scoring methodology available at http://climatecounts.org/pdf/Climate_Counts_Scorecard.pdf.
Environment & Climate Quality of Results
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for the North American market is made in our manufacturing plants in Waterbury and St. Albans, Vermont and in a Unilever facility in Henderson, Nevada. We make Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for the European market in a Unilever facility in Hellendoorn, The Netherlands and for the Canadian market in a Unilever facility in Simcoe, Ontario. We make ice cream for Asian markets in our Vermont manufacturing plants. Our frozen novelties are manufactured at a Unilever facility in Sikeston, Missouri.
We are measuring Ben & Jerry’s environmental impact for the purposes of our Qo R metric by looking at four performance parameters at every plant that makes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products. Using a formula that weights each plant’s performance by the volume of Ben & Jerry’s products it produces, we calculated the following outcomes in 2011: (weighted global results - normalized performance – per gallon of product).
- Water Use: 0.3% better than 2010 (cubic meters per unit of production)
- Solid Waste: 14.0% better than 2010 (kg per unit of production)
- Energy Use: 0.3% worse than 2010 (gigajoules per unit of production)
- CO2 Emissions: 3.1% worse than 2010 (kg per unit of production)
In 2010, Ben & Jerry’s U.S. business scored 71 out of 100 in its climate impacts ranking by the independent nonprofit Climate Counts. This put Ben & Jerry’s near the top of the climate rankings for food manufacturing companies in the U.S. We did not complete a 2011 Climate Counts scoring for our U.S. or European business but we intend to return to it in 2012.
15. MINORITY SOURCING
It is our intention to develop a metric that measures the volume of Ben & Jerry’s sourcing that comes from women- or minority-owned suppliers. At this time, no minority sourcing program is in place and no data is collected that focuses specifically on this area. We will develop the metrics to measure our progress in this area once we have begun to develop a program.
16. FRANCHISEE ENGAGEMENT
Ben & Jerry’s began as a single ice cream scoop shop in 1978, and though our business has expanded wildly since then, our roots are still firmly planted as a scoop shop company. Most are owned and operated by independent franchisees, although Ben & Jerry’s also operates a small number of company-owned stores. A handful of our scoop shops are what we call a PartnerShop®, owned and operated by a nonprofit organization.
In many ways, our scoop shops are the centerpiece of our Social Mission, because they are the places where we directly touch local communities. Every year, they contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in time, ice cream, and sponsorships in support of community projects of all sizes and shapes, from Green-Up Days to Food Drives to Hunger Walks. On Free Cone Day, many of our franchisees team up with local charities to raise awareness and money from free ice cream seekers who flock to their shops by the thousands.
Results presented in this section are mostly drawn from an online survey of U.S. franchisees administered each year in the month of February. Results collected in February 2012 were used to measure 2011 performance.
Franchisee Engagement Quality of Results:
We measure the Social Mission engagement of our franchisees - and our support for their Social Mission activities – with several specific scores that relate to financial performance; the franchisor-franchisee relationship; and Social Mission activities. Most of this data is proprietary or, because it relates to our business relationships with franchisees, is too sensitive to report publicly. At this time, we are only able to measure Social Mission engagement in our U.S. scoop shops.
In general terms, we saw improvement in 2011 on all four measures of scoop shop financial performance, relative to 2010. Likewise, we saw improvement in all four measures of the franchisor-franchisee relationship. The six measures of franchisee Social Mission engagement were generally flat.
Our biggest improvements were in the areas of franchisee optimism and ‘trust in franchisor,’ while no category declined more than one percentage point.
17. AUDITOR’S OPINION
Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors Audit Committee Statement
November 28, 2012
As Chair of Ben & Jerry’s Board of Director’s Audit Committee, I confirm that we have reviewed with Ben & Jerry’s Management the conditions and circumstances resulting in the Disclaimer of Opinion on our Social and Environmental Assessment Report by the independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young.
The 2011 audit gave this Committee valuable insight into the full range of issues under the purview of Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors, which include the performance of the Company’s Social Mission, values-led initiatives and brand integrity, among other things.
The Committee regards the Disclaimer of Opinion as a constructive outcome of this year’s audit. The core issue it raised is that the global database systems under which Ben & Jerry’s operates, while extremely robust, require significant manual analysis to achieve the level of detail necessary for the brand specific data that the Ben & Jerry’s audit requires. The Audit Committee supports Management’s decision to limit its extensive investment in manual analysis to the level presented in this report.
In alignment with our ongoing responsibilities, this Committee has reviewed in detail the Company’s Social Mission performance in 2011. We agree with the assessment, as presented by Jostein Solheim in his CEO Letter in this report, that there is real Social Mission progress being made at Ben & Jerry’s.
Going forward, we are working with Ben & Jerry’s Management to determine the appropriate level of resources and the steps necessary to provide the Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors the level of assurance that supports our oversight responsibilities.
On behalf of Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors’ Audit Committee, I accept Ernst & Young’s Disclaimer of Opinion.
Kees van der Graaf
Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors
Audit Committee Chair
18. LIVABLE WAGE POLICY & MORE
Here’s a little bit more information about Ben & Jerry’s that doesn’t fit into our larger Quality of Results metric but that we think is worth reporting.
Ben & Jerry’s is committed to paying all of its full-time manufacturing workers a livable wage. In 1995 we established a method for calculating a livable wage benchmark for Vermont. We defined it as the starting wage for a single person that will sustain a reasonable quality of life to include expenditures for housing, utilities, out-of-pocket health care, transportation, food, recreation, savings, taxes, and miscellaneous expenses. Since then, we’ve adjusted this livable wage annually to ensure the relative value is sustained in today’s marketplace. Ben & Jerry’s livable wage benchmark for 2011 was $15.34 per hour, up from $14.64 in 2010. This hourly wage translates to $31,907 per year. For comparison, at year-end 2011, the minimum wage in Vermont was $8.15/hr ($16,952/yr) and the national minimum wage was $7.25/hr ($15,080/yr).
Ben & Jerry’s is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity in our workforce. One element of this commitment is our application of Affirmative Action practices to look for conspicuous imbalances in our workforce and take positive steps to correct them. Affirmative Action plans focus on equality in hiring, training, promoting, and compensating employees. We are proud to say that this year (and once again), for the facilities where we completed analysis, there were no areas in which statistically significant adverse impact to our employees were found.
Within our South Burlington office, Ben & Jerry’s donates office space to DREAM, a nonprofit mentoring organization that matches college mentors with young people growing up in subsidized housing projects. DREAM staff have access to shared resources in the building, including the employee kitchen, meeting rooms, and photocopiers. We’re glad to be able to support its innovative and important work.