Ben and Jerry's Case

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Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative University of New Mexico http://danielsethics.mgt.unm.edu

Managing Social Responsibility and Growth at Ben & Jerry’s
INTRODUCTION Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened their first ice cream shop on May 5, 1978, in a converted gas station in Burlington, Vermont, investing $12,000 in secondhand equipment. Their business credentials consisted of much enthusiasm and a $5 Pennsylvania State University correspondence course in ice cream making. Driven by Cohen and Greenfield’s 1960s ideals, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc., has grown to be a very successful business, with an enviable level of brand-name recognition for the firm’s internationally distributed frozen dessert products, including ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbets. In addition, there are 337 franchise or company-owned “scoop shops” in the United States, United Kingdom, Holland, France, Israel, Spain, and Lebanon. From the beginning, Cohen and Greenfield incorporated into their business a strong sense of social responsibility—to their employees, the community, and the world at large. Unlike most companies, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade has three mission statements—product, economic, and social. According to the company, it is “the belief that all three parts must thrive equally in a manner that commands deep respect for individuals in and outside the company and supports the communities of which they are a part.” Although Ben & Jerry’s has experienced some trying times, it remains firmly grounded in its original, socially responsible corporate vision. THE STORY OF BEN & JERRY’S Cohen and Greenfield’s converted gas station served rich, all-natural ice cream, which quickly became popular with local residents. During the winter months, however, the customers turned to warmer treats, so Cohen and Greenfield had to come up with new ideas to survive their first year. Soon they were packaging their ice cream and hauling it around to local restaurants. Gradually, they began to include

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