A procrastinator’s mindset has no place in combatting climate change. With temperatures and sea levels on the rise, it’s the responsibility of the entire world to act now and act large, or face the wrath of economic, environmental and societal disruption en masse in the near future.
At the household scale, we can make small changes like turning off lights when not needed, and washing our dishes with a conservative amount of water. We can also make large scale changes, like reducing our consumption of meat which has massive follow on effects in reducing demand for meat and its resource intensive, greenhouse gas emitting processes, and using a bike to get around instead of a car when not necessary.
At a business level, at a small scale you can tweak your packaging and processes, but at this stage in the game we need large scale impacts which call for innovation and strategy focused directly on sustainability.
Ben and Jerry’s is a global ice cream power house that has done just that by implementing a climate change strategy throughout its business operations. Since 2002, B&J have been fighting the climate battle through being transparent in their carbon output through annual reports, continuously improving their process efficiencies from supply chain to manufacturing to shop front windows, and incentivising innovation in its dairy chain by putting a price on the amount of carbon it can generate internally.
This innovation has taken shape in the form of manure separators (with manure being a significant contribution to the potent greenhouse gas of nitrous oxide, which has approximately 310 times the effect that carbon dioxide does), energy efficiency improvements (to prevent wasted emissions in production), and providing farmers with incentives to sequester carbon in soils (to store carbon under the ground and prevent it from rising into the atmosphere) via several agricultural strategies.
Knowing that dairy, as part of the bovine industry, comfortably makes up the largest segment of its greenhouse gas emissions at 40% alone, Ben and Jerrys have also led the charge in wide-spread consumer veganism, by introducing an almond-based vegan ice cream to consumers, which is predicted to reduce emissions by more than 30%.
In addition to in house practices, Ben and Jerrys are passionate advocates on topics such as Global Warming, LGBT rights, GMO labelling and Fair Trade. Visit their values page to find them promoting things such as the Avaaz petition which was signed by 3.5 million globally, and contributed to the signing of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Climate Summit (COP21) by 196 countries, which aims to keep global warming temperatures below 1.5 ˚C
Let’s hope that this ethical and environmental model will become the benchmark for other producers in the food industry. For our part, we can make this dream become reality by using consumer power to support companies like Ben and Jerry and show other companies that sustainable and vegan products are a worthy investment.
To find out more check out Ben and Jerry’s value page: