Peace, Love and Sustainability
by Jennifer Weiss -- January 13th, 2011
Over the holiday break, my family visited the Vermont headquarters of Ben & Jerry’s and learned that this progressive company is more than just Phish Food and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
Vermont has always been one of my favorite places. Country roads, friendly neighbors and so many outdoor activities that even the most energetic children are begging to crawl into bed at the end of the day (believe me on this one).
In early January, my family traveled to Vermont to visit my mom and spent a week participating in the three “S’s” of winter: skiing, skating and sledding. I soon realized that Vermont is also home to one more very important “S” – sustainability. And I’m not just talking about the solar panels and wind turbines I saw on many houses, churches and schools. Vermont is home to some of the most progressive environmentally focused companies in the world including two of my favorites – Green Mountain Coffee and Seventh Generation. But, for some reason it hadn’t hit home that family favorite Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was just as environmentally focused as it’s neighbors.
With an ice cream named “Imagine Whirled Peace”, you would think that I would realize that there was more to this company than just great ice cream. But it wasn’t until I visited their headquarters in Waterbury, Vermont that I learned how forward thinking this company really is. From their “cleaner, greener” hydrocarbon freezers and their sustainable packaging, to their waste management solutions and Dairy Stewardship Alliance with sustainable farmers, Ben & Jerry’s is indeed a global environmentally conscious firm.
As I start my second semester at the Nicholas school and look forward to learning much, much more about Sustainable Business Strategies and Life Cycle Analysis, I will keep this company’s values in the back of mind. Being a sustainable business is more than just lowering the company’s carbon footprint. It is also being a leader in new product innovations, giving back the communities they serve and educating their consumers on environmental issues.