By: Rajira Hernandez, VP of Public Relations
Over winter break, our Salem State PRSSA chapter was invited to tour both the Ben & Jerry’s Factory and their headquarters in Vermont by Sean Greenwood, the head of public relations for the company. Before these tours, I already loved their ice cream and knew about the way they tied in social justice to their ice cream. For example, the Chubby Hubby name change to “Hubby Hubby,” in support of gay marriage rights, a case I learned about in many of my classes. However, after learning about all the great ways in which the Ben & Jerry’s team uses their ice cream as a platform to support greater social and environmental issues, I can say I am proud to be a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream lover.
Sure, you have probably heard, or have seen the many pints of ice cream that contributed to some social responsibility, like the ones listed in their website (http://www.benjerry.com/whats-new/2014/corporate-social-responsibility-history), but what you may not know is that the company has an entire social responsibility department where staffs are continuously researching and learning about multiple social justice movements to help contribute to. Something that really stood out to me was the story about the bakery that creates the delicious fudge brownies for their Chocolate Fudge Brownie pints. The Greyston Bakery was founded during the urban housing crisis in New York City, and has had a partnership with Ben & Jerry’s for over 25 years. With their “PathMaking” program, Greyston has been able to make a great impact in lowering the poverty line in their community by offering open hiring to “employment challenged people” and supporting their employees and their families as they work towards advancing their lives and careers. At Greyston, they “don’t hire to bake brownies” they “bake brownies to hire people.” (http://www.benjerry.com/whats-new/2015/brownie-partnership)
It is clear that Ben and Jerry’s stays true to their three-part mission: “to make, distribute and sell fine ice cream […] To operate the Company on a sustainable financial basis […] To operate the company in a way that actively recognizes the central role that business plays in society…” (http://www.benjerry.com/values)
What else makes B&J awesome?
- Employees are required to take 3 pints of ice cream home a day
- There’s a slide in the middle of their HQ office
- They’re family oriented
- Scoops University is real (where employees learn about the franchise operation and business and come up with new flavors)
There is so much more that makes Ben & Jerry’s an awesome company. The most important being their AMAZING flavors!