Saturday, July 25, 2009

chunky #csr monkey and more!

I am positively trembling with excitement. I just noticed that Ben and Jerry's have published a preview of their 20th SEAR report for us Chunky Monkey guzzlers and other stakeholders (to keep us busy while we consume more pints). They maintain that their Social and Environmental Assessment Report is not quite ready, and that the full Monkey will be available by mid-summer. Hmm. Today is 25th July. Wonder which hemisphere they are referring to because in mine, at 34 deg and 65% humidity, either mid-summer is here already or my hot flushes are due to menopause. A quick look at the preview tells us that the B&J team held a first ever Social Mission Summit in 2008 and agreed on three goals:

  1. Use our Company to further the cause of Peace and Justice
  2. Harmonize Our Global Supply Chain and Ensure its Alignment with Our Values
  3. Take the Lead Promoting Global Sustainable Dairy Practices

What's new? I hear you ask (always did have ears like an African elephant). Well, new Fair Trade Chocolate Macademia flavor for a start. Wow. Sounds positively ultimate. Will it beat Chunky Monkey in the B&J league? But B&J are not the only ice-creamers to go for FT ice cream – M&S, Tesco, Sainsbury and more all do it, and there is even a novel kind of Fair Trade in ice cream in the UK – a pint of ice cream in return for a pint of blood. That's a great incentive.. wonder if they limit the number of pints you can trade in a day? (I would just hook myself up to the machine and have both directions working simultaneously– blood out, ice cream in) Additional entries in the B&J soon-to-be-born SEAR report will include certified humane cage-free eggs, greener cleaner freezers based on non HFC technology, support for sustainable dairy farming and a campaign against cloned animals. But hey, why sit around and wait for the B&J report. I had a look for other Ice-cream reporters.

This is what I came up with:

Velvet Ice Creams – they don't report but they do support the fight against breast cancer

Mackies Ice Cream – they don't report either, but 70 people and 500 cows do what they can to save the planet

Cotswold Ice Cream - another non reporter but sure looks tasty! Fair trade ice cream from kindly Friesian cows

Haagen–Dazs – runs a program to save honey bees - buy a carton, do the bee disco-dance, save a bee. Bzzzzzzzzz. But Hagen Dazs is now owned by General Mills , and their CR report for 2009 includes a mention of the Haagen-Dasz plant which uses wastewater derived methane to power the plant. Hope that doesn't put you off your most sweetly romantic and richly satisfying Dulche de Leche flavored moment of indulgence.

Baskin Robbins – have community plastered all over their "about" page and clearly delight in Educational Outreach Programs and ice-cream social fundraisers for a range of good causes. No CR report tho.

Unilever (who own Ben and Jerry's) and Nestle are leading ice cream makers and they are regular reporters, and even socially conscious Starbucks is into the ice cream business with a range of coffee-flavored offerings.

No doubt there are more, but all the above just goes to prove what a socially oriented business ice cream seems to be. So the next time I devour my Chunky Monkey(s), I will take great comfort in the fact that I am doing the world so much good.

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm . Visit our website at:

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