TRENDS AND ISSUES IN THE WORLD
OF CORPORATE REPORTING
Directions Monthly February 2007 Issue 9
Welcome to Directions Monthly. This month we look at the importance
of bringing your home values into work with you. We are delighted to have
Philippa Marshall discuss how Ben & Jerry’s have been able to go from
Cow to Cone giving equal weight to product quality, economic and environmental
and social goals. Also known as ‘The Cone Ranger’ she provides an insight into
the real people and values behind the logo, and how the culture is kept alive.
Nigel Salter Lucie Harrild
From Cow to Cone Why you shouldn’t bring your work home with
you, but you should bring your home values into work with you.
How Ben & Jerry’s brings it home - from the pasture to Paraguay,
and limits its carbon hoofprint too.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield; friends The words hit home, and the boys went on to
since junior high; business partners since base their company on a three-part mission,
they converted an abandoned gas station giving equal weight to product quality,
in Vermont, USA in 1978, were an unlikely economic and social and environmental goals.
business success story. Ben had been fired However, as they’re the first to point out,
from just about every job he’d had, and Jerry, while it’s their names above the door, on the
bless him, failed three times to make it into pints, and on the web, behind the logo, are
medical school. When they finally found their hundreds of dedicated souls who’ve been
niche at the gas station and began churning bringing their home life to work for the
out some of the tastiest, all natural, super- past twenty nine years. And this article will
premium ice cream around, success deeply attempt to explain why they do it, what they
troubled the pair. Suddenly the fun chaotic get out of it and how this culture is kept alive,
Philippa Marshall gas station with its Free Cone Days, outdoor beyond big business stuff like mergers and
The Cone Ranger aka movie festivals and in-house honky-tonk acquisitions*.
European Communications Manager piano-man gave way to expansion through
selling pints to local grocery stores and Values Led Sourcing
restaurants. Our dairying duo had grown up There were lessons to be learnt about values
in the sixties with a strong sense for social led sourcing. ‘We’d be lying if we said it’s no
and environmental justice. A sense which extra trouble to do values-led sourcing. But
didn’t exactly sit right, in their opinion, with one of the most powerful ways we can influence
their slow transformation from feckless scoop the world is through our purchasing power’
shop owners to gasp, golly – business people! Mike Spinelli, Ben & Jerry’s Flavour Guru.
The duo were ready to throw in their spoons, One of our earliest flavour sourcing stories
until wise words from Maurice Puropora, an came in 1990 working with Greyston Bakery
octogenarian artist/restauranteur made them Company, a social enterprise that employed,
change their minds. While Maurice’s exact trained and counselled the homeless. Our first
words are lost in the mists of time, the gist of order to Greyston was a couple of tons. For us
it, so the guys tell us, was this – who says that was a small order. For Greyston, that was
business has to be negative? You own the a huge order. It caused their system to break
company, you decide how it runs and how down. And our supply chain people were
it could be a force for positive change. really unhappy about the quality of Greyston
Bring your own values into how you treat product. Mike Spinelli’s first few weeks at the
suppliers, customers and the planet – and company were spent on secondment to
business can be much more powerful than Greyston. He remembers,
philanthropy ever could.
* B&J’s was acquired by Unilever in 2000, who to its credit signed an unprecedented agreement with
Ben & Jerry’s to allow us to run it as a separate company within Unilever. As a result to this day we
continue to operate with most of the same faces, under the guidance of our own independent board
of directors, and most importantly with full protection for our unique three part social mission.
Don’t miss the next Directions Monthly
“By the time I was sent to Greyston we were
advancing them money and helping them
design the line and train their staff to make
the goods. It was a baptism of fire for me in
my first days with the company, but working Sometimes, doing business in this way,
alongside the employees at the Bakery is still
one of my most rewarding memories – and means a lot of obstacles, but our experience
I’m still here some 18 years later”.
has shown that people will work harder to
Without engaging our staff by sending
them over to Greyston to meet the people, overcome these, and are generally more fun
experience the social side to their business
and providing Greyston the technical
to be around when their personal values are
expertise so they could supply us,
Chocolate Fudge Brownie, one of our top
reflected in the work they’re doing.
three selling flavours wouldn’t exist.
Caring Dairy is another example of when
something great occurred as a result of
engaging in dialogue with stakeholders.
This European sustainable dairy farming Climate change 1963 Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
initiative began in 2004. It helps the dairy Back in 2002, the overwhelming majority meet in 7th grade gym class in
farmers supplying our H’doorn factory, of our staff felt we had to start doing Merrick, New York (Long Island).
improve their sustainability performance – something to combat global climate change.
finding the right balance between the Dubbed later Lick Global Warming, we 1977 Ben and Jerry move to Vermont.
economic, social, environmental and animal launched a campaign diet to lose tonnes 1978 Ben and Jerry open their Ben &
welfare aspects of farmers. Caring Dairy of CO2; switching to green energy at our Jerry’s Homemade ice cream
project manager or Happy Cow Girl, Anniek factories; setting up efficiency plans and scoop shop and hold their first free
Mauser explains: “One of the biggest communicating this to our consumers through summer movie festival, projecting
environmental impacts from our ice cream our website www.lickglobalwarming.org. movies on the outside wall of the
originates in dairy farming. What’s more, dairy In 2005, we also got everyone committed to old gas station in Burlington.
farmers in Europe are under huge pressure. cutting air travel and offsetting any essential
Our end goal is to develop sustainable dairy business travel through our own Cool Your 1979 Ben & Jerry’s marks its one-year
guidelines that can help farmers everywhere – Jets carbon offsetting portal at anniversary by holding the first-
and the planet!” Holding meetings with https://benjerryuk.myclimate.org ever Free Cone Day: free scoops of
production, marketing and supply chain on Ben & Jerry’s for all, all day long.
these farms, and vice versa has been a We also initiated the Ben & Jerry’s Now an annual celebration at Ben
mutually rewarding exchange. www.ClimateChangeCollege.org – a launch-pad & Jerry’s Scoop Shops nationwide.
for young people to grow their own grass-
Fairtrade 1985 The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation is
roots campaign to fight climate change.
In July 2006, co-founder Jerry Greenfield established at the end of the year
Launched in association with WWF and polar
introduced our first Fairtrade Vanilla flavour with a gift from Ben and Jerry to
explorer Marc Cornelissen, the college aims
at ‘Sundae at the Common’, B&J’s UK music fund community-oriented projects;
to inspire students to lead with their values,
festival. For us, the transition to Fairtrade it is then provided with 7.5% of the
in whatever path they choose.
is about making what we have been doing company’s annual pre-tax profits.
for years – working closely with co-ops in The First Ben & Jerry’s PartnerShop
At the heart of our business are two
developing countries on sustainable opens in Ithaca, New York.
friends united in their passion for full-fat,
agriculture and paying them a fair price – chunky dairy ice cream and their belief that 1990 Ben & Jerry’s prints a “Support
more visible and credible to our consumers. capitalism should, and can care. But this Farm Aid” panel on 8 million pint
But it’s not without its headaches too. doesn’t always mean a cuddly, easy-going cups with an 800# for supporters
work environment. Sometimes, doing to call in a grass-roots effort to
The size of the sugar bags we receive from business in this way means a lot of obstacles, support family farmers.
our co-op in Paraguay proved really difficult but our experience has shown that people will
for our production team to lift into the mixer. work harder to overcome these, and are 1994 B&J’s arrives in the UK
Sharing stories and photos of the value the generally more fun to be around when their 1999 B&J’s in the U.K. launches the
fairtrade premium gives to sugar farmers personal values are reflected in the work Flying Friesian, a raucous tour bus
in Paraguay has been really important in they’re doing. retrofitted for fun, with a focus on
reinforcing that this flavour is about more
fundraising for U.K. kids-in-need
than a smooth, efficient production line! And there’s nothing like sharing experiences network, Childline.
It’s all about giving equal weight to between suppliers, customers, and employees
product quality, economic, social and to help this whole process tick along. 2002 It’s an ice cream flavour... it’s an
environmental goals. environmental action website: it’s
Finally, people, don’t stop being who they are One Sweet Whirled™ – and it’s all
when they cross the office threshold each day, interconnected, as Ben & Jerry’s
and bringing a bit of home with you – whether partners with the Dave Matthews
that’s your dog (30 dogs a day in our head Band and SaveOurEnvironment.org
office and counting…), your recycling or your in a campaign to fight global warming.
views on cloning dairy cows – is in our humble
view, a good thing. 2006 First Fairtrade Vanilla flavour