We all Scream
Ben and Jerry's Ice cream is going 100% Fair Trade!!
Yes, by 2013 (2011 in Europe) every/any ingredient that is fair will be used to create every flavor, from the chocolate to the nuts to the fruit. They started this process back in '05 and their chocolate, vanilla and coffee flavors are Fair Trade certified. All of the chunks, swirls, the phish food and the chunky monkeys. All of it going fair. Business researchers say this move will force other companies to jump on board with Fair Trade because it has proved to be profitable for B and Js. Isn't this interesting? One company decides they don't want to exploit people and other companies are then forced to do the same..hmm, I think I like where this is going..
Here's an excerpt from Inc. com about Ben and Jerry!
"The effort will involve converting to Fair Trade ingredients for 121 different chunks and swirls and 11 ingredients including cocoa, banana, vanilla, fruits and nuts. The switch will happen in Europe by 2011, and in the U.S. by 2013. (The company also avoids milk from cows who have been injected with the growth hormone rBGH, and will convert to certified humane cage-free farm eggs by the end of 2010.) Managers in the U.S. were particularly resistant to going fully Fair Trade because the certification, which also comes with a promise for the producers of ingredients to get a fairer share of the profits, isn't as widely-recognized (and rewarded) as it is in the rest of the world. Less than a third of U.S. shoppers understand the term, according to TransFair USA , the nonprofit group that certifies ingredients as Fair Trade. That's compared to 50 percent of consumers worldwide, according to the group's recent poll.
The company -- an Inc. 500 alumnus -- first d ipped into Fair Trade in 2005. Observers predict the pioneering ice-cream brand's move will scoop more consumers into the still-fuzzy Fair Trade fold. Some experts say the ice-cream maker's move will force other brands to follow.
"It's the first 100 percent commitment from such a mainstream brand," said TransFair USA spokeswoman Stacy Geagan Wagner. (Green & Black, Cadbury's niche organic chocolate brand, promised a complete conversion to Fair Trade last month.) "I see it as the rise of the social consumer. We have the ability to choose product A, which tastes great, or Product B, which also tastes great, but doesn't exploit anybody."Greenfield said in a statement: “Fair Trade is about making sure people get their fair share of the pie. The whole concept of Fair Trade goes to the heart of our values and sense of right and wrong. Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting somebody else.”
Another interesting point is that Ben and Jerry's is no longer a small, private company. In fact Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield sold the company to Unilever , one of the world's leading food companies. They own many, many labels including Hellmans, Wishbone, Lipton, Country Crock, Slim Fast and Knorr. Not to mention their personal care labels: Dove, Axe, Vaseline and Lux and many more. Unilever seems to have overall sustainable and eco-friendly goals: "We have set targets to source all of our palm oil and all of our tea from certified sustainable sources by 2015." http://www.unilever.com/sustainability/environment/agriculture/index.aspx. They use 12% of the worlds source of tea and it doesn't say anywhere on the site that Lipton is going fair trade, but they do seem to have sustainable goals. They say:
"We work with smallholder farmers to implement sustainable agricultural methods and improve both their crop yields and business profits." They claim to source raw products from thousands of small farmers. They have also established training programs for teaching tea farmers about more sustainable practices. It doesn't mention labor rights for workers though. Again is this the disconnect between fair and green? Read here for more info about Unilever's practices. http://www.unilever.com/sustainability/environment/agriculture/farmers/?WT.LHNAV=Supporting_smallholder_farmers
I'm proud of Unilever for taking this step. I think it's a big deal for a company this big to leap into Fair Trade. It must be profitable for them somehow. One of my missions is to meet the folks who pushed them go 100% fair.
I can't tell you how deliciously awesome this is too. I was dreading the thought of my homemade berry cobbler without its sidekick the vanilla ice cream this summer.
On that note, I think I better get to the freezer to finish off the rest of the Chunky Monkey before Ted does...