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Wyatt Thomas

Q1: How can such companies protect their core values as they grow
from small firms to large ones and/or are acquired by multinational
conglomerates?
Q2: What is B&J currently doing to display their commitment to social
responsibility?

A1:
One of the main examples I noticed while reading the case study
was that Ben & Jerry placed a lot of focus on maintaining the core
family values the original 2-man company embodied throughout their
massive growth process, in which the article mentioned, Ben & Jerrys
grew from 150 employees to 300, virtually overnight. While this can
ultimately be one of the most difficult times to maintain a familybusiness mentality, an idea incorporated into Ben & Jerrys Caring
Capitalism ideology, it appears that the corporation chose just the
right steps to help combat this problem. With social awareness being
one of the core values of the company, alongside their product and
economic mission statements, attempting to and succeeding in
extending this social awareness to its employees is by no means an
easy task, but one that was necessary to keep the companys core in
tact. From a salary ratio to extended employee benefits, it is obvious
that Ben & Jerrys has done nearly everything to ensure that their
employees are happy, which in turn allowed the company to maintain
its family oriented atmosphere during a time when its sales were
reaching into the hundreds of millions.

Another trying time for a business can be during a firms Initial


Public Offering (IPO), which for Ben & Jerrys came in two waves. In
what I think is one of the most brilliant ideas the company utilized to
attempt to combat the big, bad corporation mentality, Ben & Jerrys
initially limited sale of the companys stock to its hometownVermont
residence. The logic behind this move was perfectly outlined by
owner, and self proclaimed Big Cheese of Ben & Jerrys, Ben Cohen
when he noted that if local residents were part owners of the firm, the
community surrounding the company could share in the success of
the business. While a national stock offering of the firm followed just
two years later, funneling the initial shares of the corporation towards
those, essentially, involved in its upbringing was an absolutely
ingenious way to keep the community a part of the company,
especially as it goes from ground floor to one of the largest Ice Cream
distributors on the planet.
All in all though, I believe the implementation of the Ben & Jerrys
Social and Environmental Assessment was the game-changing
decision in keeping the idea of Caring Capitalism in tact. These social
audits played as a sort of reality check for the corporation as it moved
from a smaller publicly owned corporation to a national giant. This, in
combination of the terms outlined during the Unilever buyout, I believe
remain as the keys to the company maintaining, at least a part of the
philosophy it set out to embody during its start in the 1980s. Though
it is obvious that the current state of Ben & Jerrys might not
necessarily live up to the full potential that Ben & Jerry had envisioned
several decades ago, during very turbulent financial times, it is equally
as obvious that they are one of the industry leaders in social and
environmental awareness, which is a major win in itself.
A2:

While Ben & Jerrys may not embody the same social,
environmental, and community awareness it did at its founding, the
company is still working to this day to make an impact on causes it
believes are important to the well being of its surrounding
communities. From baking a huge cake and serving it in front of the
U.S. capital to protest oil drilling in Alaska, to founding the Caring Dairy
program that that helps dairy farmers in Vermont and the Netherlands
move towards more sustainable farming practices, Ben & Jerrys had
made many efforts to live up to its founding fathers ideologies. The
company has also made major strides in terms of their products,
including switching to chlorine-free packaging, switching to socially
responsible ingredients inside the actual ice cream, as well as
partnering with the first all Native American owned Wind farm to help
minimize the carbon emissions behind their processing plants.
More recently, the company has made a major push to fight
Genetically Modified Organisms. In a video posted on their website,
the company outlines their stance on GMO labeling legislation and
exactly what the company is doing on its own end to help fight the
problem. While there are a countless number of social and
environmental problems that our planet currently faces, it is refreshing
to see a company make such influential strides in the causes they feel
the strongest about. No single company can do it all, but with more
companies like Ben & Jerrys doing its part, the planet will surely have
a fighting chance.