Welcome Back B+J
Kevin Salwen on Environment & Sustainability
One of the true originals of enlightened leadership, Ben & Jerry's, has been mighty quiet lately on the social responsibility front. After the company was acquired by Unilever in 2000 (a move that founder Ben Cohen lamented in March to Worthwhile Senior Editor David Batstone, saying most of 'the soul of Ben & Jerry's has been lost'), the company promoted its products for product sake. It could have been selling almost anything.
While it's unclear if 'caring capitalism' is coming back for real, B+J are launching a new ad campaign focusing on doing good. Starting tonight, a set of five TV spots this year will promote social issues; the first ad laments the decline of family farms.
'Ben & Jerry's has tremendous heritage in leading with its values. Over the last few years, we've honored our values, but we haven't stepped out there boldly the way that (founders) Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield taught us to lead,' CEO Walt Freese told USA Today. 'Our social mission is built into our business. We're focused on making the best ice cream, a fair financial return and being a force for social and economic justice and the environment. That's as important to us as profitability and product quality.'
Amen to that. Welcome back, B&J. Let's hope they mean it.