At Ben & Jerry's, we take fairness seriously. Whether it's how we treat our employees, give back to our community, or dream up new flavors for our customers, fairness factors into all that we do. That's why we want to make sure that our farmers get a fair deal too. We support Fairtrade, a worldwide movement working to ensure that small-scale farmers in developing nations can make it in the ultra-competitive global marketplace.
Ben & Jerry's has always taken pains to be socially and environmentally responsible when sourcing ingredients. Back in 2005, we were the first ice cream maker in the world to use Fairtrade Certified ingredients. And in 2010, we decided to commit fully to the cause—across all our flavors and all the countries where our ice cream is sold. We made sure that every possible ingredient was Fairtrade Certified by 2011 in Europe, and did the same in the United States by 2014.
The trend worldwide in agriculture is all about getting bigger, a lot bigger. Fair trade is important because it assures a fair price for small-scale farmers' products—in the face of growth that could easily push them out of the market. That's great news for them, their families and their communities. But it's also great for us (and for you), because we get to use their amazing ingredients in our ice cream.
But there's more to the fair trade story. Linked prosperity, the idea that those who are successful should work to improve the world around them, is one of Ben & Jerry's founding principles. Fair trade puts this idea into action. All farmers in the Fairtrade system agree to use environmentally friendly farming practices, implement fair labor standards and invest in their communities. The Fairtrade social premium, an additional amount of money paid on top of the fair price that farmers receive, helps make those investments happen.
We source five Fairtrade Certified ingredients. In 2017, Ben & Jerry’s paid $3,416,775.91 in social premiums to our small-scale farmers and farming co-ops around the world.
$1,608,663.71 in Fairtrade Premium
We source our sweet Fairtrade sugar from a variety of small-scale farmers, including those in the Belize Sugar Farmers’ Association. Belize has become a global role model in sugar production. Up to 85% of the population in some rural parts of the country depends on the sugar industry, which is why investments utilizing social premiums are so important. For example, newly implemented alternative pest-management practices helped save the Association's sugar crop, while drastically reducing the application of harmful pesticides.
$1,505,888.03 in Fairtrade Premium
All of those delicious chunks of chocolate don't find their way into our pints by accident. We work with cocoa growers in Ivory Coast, which produces about 40% of the world's cocoa (although most of the crop is not fair trade). Social premiums allowed one co-op to build a new medical clinic, hire a nurse, install solar panels, and purchase a water pump. We also source Fairtrade cocoa from producers in Ghana, where they've invested in rural schools and scholarships for children.
$225,000.53 in Fairtrade Premium
Vanilla is an essential ingredient in dozens of our favorite flavors. Though most of the world's vanilla is grown in Madagascar, many farmers there are struggling to make a living. As we've seen around the globe, when farms fail, communities often follow. Fairtrade prices help end this cycle. One of the co-ops we work with in Madagascar put their social premiums to use rehabilitating a health center, repairing a school and building an office. We also work with Fairtrade vanilla farmers in Uganda who have begun to create independent networks that increase their sustainability and maintain their way of life.
$44,335.28 in Fairtrade Premium
The Huatusco Coffee Cooperative in Mexico supplies us with much of our Fairtrade coffee—since 2010, we have sourced more than 300,000 pounds of coffee from them for our flavors. Our social premiums are helping the cooperative's 1,465 farmers, along with their families and communities, in many ways. It has contributed to the construction of a medical center, a library and schools; the development of scholarships and education projects; and the production of 400 tons of compost.
$32,888.35 in Fairtrade Premium
Everybody loves bananas, which is one reason why we sourced more than 50 metric tons of Fairtrade bananas from the El Guabo Cooperative in Ecuador's El Oro province in 2014. Our purchase of all those bananas helped the co-op's 154 farmers complete various crucial projects, like providing scholarships to local children, helping children in need with language and physical therapy, and making healthcare more readily available to farmers, workers, and their families.
Doesn't knowing that all the delectable stuff that goes into our flavors is Fairtrade Certified make Ben & Jerry’s taste all the sweeter? Every time you pick up a product with the FAIRTRADE Mark (the green and blue symbol you see on each of our pints), you're helping small-scale farmers and their communities survive and succeed.
Fairtrade International is a global organization working to secure a better deal for farmers and workers.