2001 CERES report
Policies, Organization & Management Systems
Ben & Jerry’s Mission Statement consists of three interrelated parts: Product, Economic and Social. Within the words of our Mission Statement, especially the social component, lies the foundation of our environmental philosophy:
To make, distribute & sell the finest quality all natural ice cream & euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients & promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment.
To operate the Company on a sustainable financial basis of profitable growth, increasing value for our stakeholders & expanding opportunities for development and career growth for our employees.
To operate the company in a way that actively recognizes the central role that business plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally & internationally.
LEADING WITH PROGRESSIVE VALUES
ACROSS OUR BUSINESS
We have a progressive, nonpartisan social mission that seeks to meet human needs and eliminate injustices in our local, national and international communities by integrating these concerns into our day-to-day business activities. Our focus is on children and families, the environment, and sustainable agriculture on family farms.
2001 SOCIAL MISSION FOCUS
The specific social mission goals for 2001 focused primarily on environmentally related projects:
A decision was made in late 2001 to include a tamper-evident seal on pint packaging. Beginning in 2002 the company will use a PETG (polyethylene terephthalate glycol) tamper-evident seal on all domestic and international pints. PETG is a thermoplastic polyester resin that is used in the medical and food packaging industry and is recyclable. Our decision to use PETG versus polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the industry standard, was due to environmental concerns associated with PVC. Greenpeace has identified PVC manufacturing process as the largest source of dioxin released into the environment.
Since our founding in 1978, we have expressed a commitment to provide the finest quality all natural ice cream and related products in a wide variety of innovative flavors made from Vermont dairy products. We have also expressed our belief that business has a responsibility to improve the quality of life in our communities, and that includes environmental stewardship.
Ben & Jerry’s products meet or exceed all standards of food safety everywhere they are sold, and that means around the world in a variety of markets.
The recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Dioxin Reassessment reports that there is more to be concerned about than originally thought. The report states that dioxins are carcinogens (over a lifetime of exposure, the risk is ten times higher than previously thought). The report also noted that the good news is that overall dioxin levels in the environment are coming down. The EPA Dioxin Reassessment report can be found at the following website: http://www.epa.gov/ncea/dioxin.htm.
Ben & Jerry’s believes that we need to be proactive in limiting harmful chemicals that may enter the environment. That’s why we have taken steps to make an impact where we can by converting our pint packaging to unbleached paperboard, with the knowledge that a reduced reliance on chlorine as a bleaching agent will lead to a reduction in dioxin releases from paper mills.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
We support consumers’ right to know how their food is produced and to make their own choices about what they eat. That conviction has shaped the essence of our position on recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). With regard to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we supported the establishment of a coordinated regulatory framework within the U.S. government that allowed for full consideration of the ecological and human health implications of GMO crops, as well as for meaningful public input.
The Vermont Dairy Farm Sustainability Project
Ben & Jerry’s is a dairy-based business. One of the most significant potentially adverse environmental impacts of dairy farming is to the water supply. Many of our supplier farms are located in the vicinity of Lake Champlain, which has experienced stress from phosphorus run-off from agriculturaL industrial and municipal sources. Nitrogen is also a potential concern for ground water quality.
In 1999 Ben & Jerry’s launched the Vermont Dairy Farm Sustainability Project (VDFSP). The purpose of the VDFSP is to address water quality issues as they relate to dairy farming. Nitrogen and phosphorus are potential water contaminants. Phosphorus is of particular concern in the Lake Champlain watershed, due to the formation of algae blooms from excessive nutrients. Research done at Cornell University indicates that dairy farming practices can lead to concentration of these nutrients on farms. Work done by Professor Dan Fox at Cornell inspired these VDFSP goals: 1) Assess nutrient status on participating dairy farms in the Lake Champlain area; 2) Identify economical opportunities for improving nutrient management on participant farm; 3) Demonstrate the impact of economic implementations; and 4) Educate the dairy industry and the public about Dairy Farm Nutrient Status and proven, economical methods for improving nutrient management on dairy farms.
To accomplish these goals the VDFSP relies on collaboration from many aspects of the dairy industry. VDFSP board members include representatives of Ben & Jerry’s, The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, Poulin Grain, Bourdeau Bros. of Middlebury, Bridgemanview Dairy Farm, and University of Vermont Extension Service. The result is a unique collaboration involving farmers, farm suppliers, milk processors, university extension services and dairy product manufacturers, all focused on improving nutrient management to safeguard water quality. The VDFSP is an incorporated nonprofit organization with funding provided by the Northeast SARE program, the Windham Foundation, Ben & Jerry’s and the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation.
In 2001, nutrient data was collected on eight farms. This included biweekly monitoring of rations fed to milking animals. Preliminary findings indicated that Nitrogen and Phosphorus do concentrate on dairy farms. Results also indicated that purchased feeds are the greatest contributor to imported nutrients. Improved precision in matching nutrient application to crop need resulted in significant reduction of Phosphorus and savings of over $2,300 on one farm, with no decrease in crop yield. Early evaluation of feed nutrient status in lactating cows indicated that nitrogen and phosphorus are, on average, fed in excess of animal requirement. These findings indicated opportunities to reduce the rate of nutrient concentration by increasing precision in crop and feed nutrient management.
In 2002, the VDFSP will work with the same eight farms to implement nutrient management improvement strategies. Data collection will continue to document implementation impacts.
At each Ben & Jerry’s manufacturing site in Vermont there is an Environmental Coordinator dedicated to operating and monitoring environmental activities. These activities include wastewater management, composting, solid waste management, and recycling. The Environmental Coordinators report to the Site Engineers, they also work closely and meet regularly with the Manager of Natural Resources Use.
The Manager of Natural Resources Use reports to the Sr. Director of Operations, who has responsibility for manufacturing, materials, quality control, research and development, retail operations and environmental activities. The Sr. Director of Operations reports to the CEO of Ben & Jerry’
Each Environmental Coordinator prepares monthly reports for his/her Site Manager. This information is also passed on to the Manager of Natural Resources, who in turn prepares a monthly report reviewed by both the Sr. Director of Operations and the CEO. The CEO meets with the Board of Directors on a regular basis, where environmental updates are provided.
Environmental Management System — EMS
The framework standard process was initiated by Unilever in 2001 as a way to develop an environmental management system (EMS). The EMS provides a process for the achievement of continuous improvements in environmental performance. The EMS focuses on 17 separate areas that include Environmental Policy, Environmental Aspects, Environmental Training and Awareness and Communication. By developing a program that focuses on these 17 key areas, the facilities will be able to establish priorities and set objectives and goals, determine environmental impacts and to monitor, manage and plan environmental activities. In 2001 the Waterbury Plant completed a gap analysis to determine how they measured up to the EMS. The results we’re good, indicating that the site met 83% of the identified focus areas. Waterbury had made many of the changes by year-end and has been engaged in developing a program for the entire company that will provide consistency between all sites.
INTERNAL ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS AND EMPLOYEE EDUCATION
Ben & Jerry’s has always encouraged employees to take the initiative in improving all aspects of the company. Of the variety of environmental training programs and activities available to help promote employee awareness and involvement, many are employee-driven:
The Company keeps the public informed about its environmental activities in a variety of ways:
Thermoacoustic Project Status
Ben & Jerry’s recognizes the severity of conventional refrigerants’ impact on the environment, and has long realized the need for alternative methods of refrigeration that can provide both practical as well as environmentally sustainable solutions for frozen storage applications. Promising research & development in Thermoacoustics technology may yield a solution; more than that, successful adaptation of this technology from laboratory benchtop to practical application would quite likely revolutionize the refrigeration industry. We’re currently working with researchers from Penn State’s Acoustics Research Labs (ARL) on a project to construct and test a prototype thermoacoustic unit that would be suitable for use in a Ben & Jerry’s freezer cabinet.
ENVIRONMENTAL TRACKING/COST ACCOUNTING
Ben & Jerry’s tracks the cost and impacts of all waste and energy use (e.g. waste disposal, recycling, composting, etc.) associated with company operations. The Manager of Natural Resource Use and the Environmental Coordinators use a system of integrated environmental tracking tables to collect data that’s updated monthly, and normalized to a gallon of first quality product. Solid, hazardous and dairy waste production data are collected, as well as data from wastewater production, energy usage and recycling. Costs of each category’s management are also incorporated into the tables.
Since 1994 Ben & Jerry’s has been normalizing all figures with this unit of measurement in order to create baseline data that will serve to identify trends and set goals.
Ben & Jerry’s annually conducts and publishes the results of an independently audited assessment of the Company’s social performance in all areas of the business. The independent auditor for 2001’s Social Performance Report was James E. Heard. (His remarks, along with the complete report, are available for public review online at www.benjerry.com.)
The Social Performance Report includes assessments of the company’s environmental record for the year. In addition, yearly environmental assessments are conducted and their results circulated internally to evaluate regulatory compliance and individual site performance against annual goals. The internal environmental assessments are reviewed by plant managers. The Social Performance Report is reviewed by senior management for subsequent publication on the company’s website.
Total spending for non-ingredient purchases in 2001 was $26,324,766, compared to $33,400,069 in 2000. In 2001 Ben & Jerry’s spent $1.8 million with diverse suppliers as compared to $1.5 million in 2000. Of total spending, 6.8% of that went to businesses operated by women and minorities as defined by the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
In 2001, our purchasing department began to use a network of purchasing contacts from various departments as control points to maintain compliance with policies introduced in 2000 to promote spending with diverse suppliers. These policies specify that all purchases for single items over $5,000 which are not covered by an existing contract shall go out for bid and must include at least one diverse supplier in the bid process.
We continued the use of Diversity Information Resources directories (national directories of minority and women-owned businesses) in 2001 to assist in sourcing diverse suppliers. We eliminated the bound versions and progressed to an online version, accessible via a link from our company intranet. This was a major improvement in that all employees have access and this version is current year-round. It is our intention to make this link available to Unilever in 2002.
Ben & Jerry’s has both a Pre-Certification Survey and a Self-Assessment Survey for all potential suppliers. There is no formal environmental training for Quality Assurance or Purchasing representatives at this time.
The compares supplier assessment efforts began in 1996 when Ben & Jerry’s initiated a Vendor Certification Program. The purpose of this program was to improve the quality and reliability of the materials we purchase, increase efficiency and profitability in manufacturing operations, increase opportunities for Ben & Jerry’s vendors to profit from their relationship with us, and to clarify expectations, responsibilities, specifications, and procedures.
Following are the environmental questions we ask potential suppliers. These concerns are part of our assessment and routine visits with vendors:
Socially Aligned Suppliers
Ben & Jerry’s spent $119,120,000 for ingredient and supply purchases in 2001. Approximately 51.87% of those purchases were from companies that we view as being aligned with Ben & Jerry’s values. This was an increase from 41.19% in 2000. A list of these suppliers follows:
In 2001 the PartnerShop program focused on developing systems and support to enrich our offerings to nonprofits that meet our criteria. In 2002 we will be piloting and/or launching several of these tools, including the PartnerShop Training Curriculum and the Training Activities Report. We also developed new materials to help us promote the program and attract qualified candidates. The updated materials more accurately reflect the mission and goals of the program.
In 2001, we opened two new PartnerShop locations: Haight-Ashbury (San Francisco) and Eastern Market (Washington, DC). The Haight-Ashbury store is operated by Juma Ventures. Juma now operates three scoop shops as well as the ballpark concessions at Pac Bell and 3Com Parks. The Eastern Market store is operated by the Latin American Youth Center, a youth and family development organization in Washington, DC.
No PartnerShops closed in 2001. After 15 years, the original PartnerShop in Ithaca, New York, owned by the Learning Web, closed, as did the shop in Siesta Key, Florida, owned by Suncoast Regional Youth Consortium of Sarasota. Both of these shops were run by organizations that today do not meet our criteria. At the end of 2001 there were 6 PartnerShop nonprofits operating a total of 12 locations.
For more information about the nonprofit organizations that own PartnerShops, visit our website at www.benjerry.com/scoop_shops/partnershops/.
Diversity and Ownership
At the end of 2001, 186 (78%) of our shops were owned by independent operators. 15.1% (28) of those shops were owned by women and people of color, compared to 13.9% in 2000.
Franchise Community Initiatives
In 2001, the total amount spent by franchisees on community-based efforts was $351,256 (13% of the annual 4% marketing obligation) as compared to $385,968 (13%) in 2000. In 2001, operators were again asked to report activities by category (i.e. community initiatives). Of the total community activity, 56.4% was focused on Children & Families (55.5% in 2000); 22.87. went to Civic Projects (24.8% in 2000); 17.6% on Other (15.3% in 2000); and 3.2% on Environmental Initiatives (4.4% in 2000).
At the 2001 Franchise meeting in Phoenix, participants completed a daylong playground build with KaBoom! for the Whitman Elementary School located in Mesa, Arizona.
Worldwide 2001 Free Cone Day
850,000 Free Cones were served on Free Cone Day 2001, which amounts to over 212,500 pounds of ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet. This is an increase of 15,000 cones from 2000.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE
All of Ben & Jerry’s sites have trained personnel and equipment capable of handling chemical emergencies. Following is a list of the steps we take to ensure employee, community and environmental safety: