From Cows to Cocoa: Our Linked Prosperity Business Model Works to Ensure Our Ingredient Producers Get Their Fair Share
When our co-founders first started scooping ice cream way back in 1978, they decided that they were going to run their business differently from the companies they saw around them. They believed that businesses had a responsibility to their communities and to everyone in their supply chain. We still live those values today, with every fudge chunk and caramel swirl.
How do we make sure that as we prosper, everyone who has a hand in making our ice cream prospers, too? We use our innovative business model called linked prosperity, which works to ensure that from the farmers who cultivate our cocoa to the dairy workers who milk the cows, everyone gets their fair share.
What does that look like in practice? We’re glad you asked . . .
Fairtrade Means A Fair Share For Farmers
Every one of our flavors is Fairtrade Certified, which means that we support smallholder sugar, cocoa, vanilla, banana, and coffee farmers who receive an additional social premium on top of the purchase price of their crop. They can then use that extra money to support their families, build climate resilience into their operations, and support thriving communities through health services, education, affordable housing, and more. Did you know your pint of ice cream could be a part of doing all that?
The Journey To A Living Income
In addition to paying a premium to Fairtrade farmers, we also work with Fairtrade International to pay an even higher price for the cocoa in our ice cream (chunks and swirls coming soon!) to support our cocoa farmers on their journey to achieving a living income. Why cocoa farmers specifically? Other than the fact that we’re pretty big fans of chocolate ice cream, cocoa farmers are in a particularly vulnerable position.
Fluctuations in the global cocoa market, changing rainfall patterns, and increasing deforestation all have an outsized impact on cocoa production, which translates to a lot of inequity in the global cocoa supply chain. For example, almost 40% of the world’s cocoa comes from the Ivory Coast, where farmers earn an average of $1 per day, trapping many in extreme poverty. That’s why we’re committed to paying farmers an even higher price for their product, supporting their journey to achieving a living income and helping them adapt to a changing climate.
Dignity For Dairy Workers
As an ice cream company, milk and cream are pretty important to us. And making sure that the farmers and farm workers who get that milk from the cow to the factory have a dignified and safe working environment is just as important. That’s why we’re proud to be the very first company to adopt and implement the Milk with Dignity program, a northeast US farmworker-led social responsibility program designed to ensure dignified working and living conditions on dairy farms.
The Milk with Dignity program ensures that farm workers have adequate breaks, time off, paid sick days, safe working conditions, fair housing, and more. And in exchange for farms’ participation, we pay an additional premium on top of the regular dairy price. That money goes toward worker wages, bonuses, and investment in improvements to housing and labor conditions.
A Fair Share Of The Pie (Er, Sundae)
We think ice cream tastes the sweetest when everybody who helped make it gets their fair share. Ben and Jerry built their business on that premise, and we continue to live it today. Using our linked prosperity business model, we’re working to ensure that everyone who has a hand in making your pint of Half Baked ice cream has been compensated fairly.