“Ben & Jerry’s”-The Ethical Approach

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)


Social Responsibility

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?








12 thoughts on ““Ben & Jerry’s”-The Ethical Approach

  1. Social responsibility definitely seems to be the next step today’s businesses are taking. Even in my marketing classes I’ve learned that the next stage for marketing is that which creates the social good. Going from mass production, mass customization, and now mass social good.

  2. I could not agree more with the above comment. Any company can be ethically doing great, however social responsibility has been growing and becoming more and more popular. People are becoming more concerned about the environment and how each company is dedicated outside just production. I worked for Starbucks for many years, and in those 4 years I noticed so many changing especially when it comes to going green. Starbucks FINALLY brought out recycling garbages into their stores and would offer old ground up coffee beans to customer for compost. I think we will notice more and more companies being more socially and environment friendly each day.

  3. It’s good to hear that many companies are taking initiatives towards becoming more environmentally friendly. When companies start to practice social responsibility and care for the environment, I think it encourages everyday people like us to do the same. In our mindset we tend to focus on things that are “popular,” and in my opinion these actions by large corporations will definitely impact the average consumer.

  4. Its nice to see a company being so environmentally friendly. I feel like only the negative sides of companies are highlighted.Ben and Jerry’s incorporating eco-friendly practices in their design, production and destruction is like a breath of fresh air.

  5. Sustainability is definitely becoming larger in the business sector, both for ethics and marketing. The positive effects of environmentally friendly seem to be obviously good for the consumer, but I think there could be a cost savings down the road for most of these businesses as well. Ben and Jerry’s is a great company and I definitely enjoy their product. I did wonder if anyone knew why the 1% of eggs for novelty bar are not cage free? My employer has not really had an option for environmentally friendly practices. The entertainment industry is a difficult sector to express this mindset, but I believe with the discontinuation of tangible products (such as CD’s, Tapes, Records), they have taken a step in the right direction (or have been forced to with increased technology).

  6. When companies choose to produce ethically and environmentally sound products, it isn’t only the climate and the community that it benefits. It also, more often than not, it is an extremely smart, forward looking business and marketing tactic as well. As the world changes to a more green aware, environmentally concerned society, consumers will be much more likely to buy green sensitive products. When a company chooses to recreate and advertise their production practices towards a more environmentally beneficial system it doesn’t benefit just the environment but also often their consumer demand. I would hope this is a motivation for more companies to continue the green movement.

  7. Since I was in Tax, my employer use to be paper heavy until it switched to an entirely electronic system. All the tax work can be done electronically 100%. This though does cause some headaches and problems as it is much easier to read and understand client information when it is right in front of you or doing some tax paperwork. Nevertheless, the programs that we use save an unquantifiable amount of time and are built well enough where we can utilize all the functions without resorting to paper files. This in in effect let employees, even in the busiest of times, work from home.

  8. Thats great for the company and consumer they get people to believe in their company and want them to keep succedding unlike Nike. However many companies today need to do the same not for money but for ethical reason . I still believe they did this for the money and pobliccity and wanted to get more market share for it. I like it and it makes compititors step up their game and have to spend money and R&D to get this done which is great for every one both the company and consumer.

  9. While I don’t doubt Ben & Jerry’s commitment to eco initiatives and sustainability, “greenwashing” has become a common phenomenon in the marketplace today. It is now seen as trendy for companies to be “green”, or use local ingredients and be sustainable, or have zero impact in a manufacturing cycle. Unfortunately, many companies want to reap only the marketing benefits of being seen as sustainable, rather than really put the effort in to doing so. BP is a great example-“Beyond Petroleum” is their motto and they strive with commercials and print advertising to project a environmentally conscious corporate image, but we all know what happened in the Gulf last year. If they truly were concerned with the environment, they would have put the necessary precautions in place during drilling to prevent such a disaster.

  10. Wow I didnt know that Ben & Jerry’s was so environmentally friendly. I think that it goes a long way for a company to add in ethical behaviors, seeing that there logic rubs off not only on there workers but it shows the community there respect for them. In the business world I feel that this is key to having a loyal customer base and reflects greatly on the owners.

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