We have learned about ethics, environmental sustainability, conservation and the renewal of resources through the product life cycle. In operations management sustainability refers to the ecological stability of the environment. The ethical approach extends through the design, production and destruction of the product. Ben & Jerry’s is one of the most ethical and socially responsible companies in existence today. Ben & Jerry’s views product design from a systems perspective by weighting the costs to the firm compared to the cost to society.
- Design-Ben & Jerry’s realize the importance of creating packaging that will reduce negative impacts on the environment. In 2009, they began using a certified paperboard for the entire stock of U.S. pint containers that comes from a forest managed for the protection of wildlife. Moreover, the boxes used for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream bars are made from 100% post consumer recycled paperboard. (Developing safe and environmentally sound practices)
- Production– In the Vermont manufacturing plants, Ben & Jerry’s has invested heavily in energy-efficient technology. This includes cooling systems, lighting, water and waste management systems. (minimizing waste of resources)
- Destruction– Ben & Jerry’s sends dairy waste from the Vermont plants to two of the farms that supply them with fresh dairy ingredients. The waste is put into methane digesters along with other farm waste where it produces energy to power the farm. (Reduce environmental liabilities)
Here are some ways Ben & Jerry’s focuses on ethics, the environment and social responsibility:
Ben & Jerry’s has always been focused on the communities in which they serve. In the UK, they have a bus that travels through the streets during festivals selling ice cream. The profits gained are used to support charitable causes in the local community such as “Childline” and “Trees for Cities”.
The company offered stock options to its hometown of Vermont where it began when it decided to expand into other cities. Ben & Jerry’s wanted the community who supported its beginning to be the first to benefit from its success.
Ben & Jerry’s uses certified humane cage-free eggs in their ice cream products in Europe. In the US, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products are 99% cage-free. The existing 1% is in the novelty ice cream bars sold in the US and Asia.
What are some things your employer has done to become environmentally friendly with respect to design, production and destruction?