Ben & Jerry’s is serving ice cream with a scoop of activism. Dating back to 1988, Ben & Jerry’s has expressed its mission to fight for social and environmental issues. Companies and corporations should use their platforms to fight for the greater good and heighten the voices of those who are often silenced.
The ice cream company has a tab dedicated to its values on the website's homepage. Racial justice, democracy, LGBTQ+ equality and climate justice are a few of the issues the corporation states it cares about and advocates for. The morals and political viewpoints of Ben & Jerry’s are made known to consumers on its website and on the products they sell.
Ben & Jerry’s has released a plethora of ice cream products related to social, political and environmental advocacy. Pints of ice cream have been labeled with advocacy puns, such as “Empower Mint,” “Justice Remix’d” and “Save Our Swirled.” It speaks volumes that Ben & Jerry’s would go as far as labeling its products with topics that are viewed as polarizing.
Following the murder of George Floyd, Ben & Jerry’s tweeted on the issue of white supremacy with a photo, saying “We must dismantle white supremacy.” Although many other companies and corporations spoke out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, many viewed it as performative activism, especially when companies speak out during the height of it all and then never refer to the cause again. Ben & Jerry’s has continually proven its involvement and support for racial justice and has worked toward heightening the voices of minorities.
Ben & Jerry’s spends $1.1 million a year on activism. This is a requirement that Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s, placed when selling the company to Unilever in 2000. Furthermore, Ben & Jerry’s is known for treating its employees well—Ben & Jerry’s originated in Vermont, where employees are paid a livable wage of $18.13 an hour. More corporations need to prioritize humanity over financial gain.
Ben & Jerry’s is an ally of the LGBTQ+ community. Following the legalization of same-sex marriage in the U.S. in 2015, Ben & Jerry’s released a pint of cookie dough ice cream labled “I Dough, I Dough” in honor of the marriage equality gained that day. Ben & Jerry’s has also stated that trans rights are human rights and has voiced how the criminal justice system has failed the trans community.
The company also advocates for refugees and has acknowledged the immigrant crisis going on in the U.S. Ben & Jerry’s says it believes refugees have been put in a situation out of their control and deserve to live comfortably and safely.
Cohen and Greenfield were arrested while advocating for the company’s Democracy Awakening movement in 2016. The heart of the movement focused on climate change and economic equality. It shows great leadership and passion for the two founders to use their immense platform to advocate for others.
It’s no secret that Ben & Jerry’s is passionate about what it values and makes that known to its consumers. The company is fully transparent in regard to what it stands and advocates for. More companies and larger corporations need to use their platforms to stand for something and make change. Corporations can either use their power for good or sit and watch as they make millions. Ben & Jerry’s has proven to be a corporation that cares about its people and wants what’s best for minority groups who have been silenced. Companies need to do more than create a single post when it’s convenient for them, especially if they intend to contribute to sustainable positive changes.
Mastan Rashid is a sophomore media arts and design major. Contact Mastan at email@example.com.