This story is part of an editorial series featuring speakers, organizations and themes we will discuss in depth at the 2019 3BL Forum: Brands Taking Stands—What’s Next, a two-day event on Oct. 29-30 that delves into the "why" and "how" behind corporate responsibility. You can follow the series here.
Never doubt Ben & Jerry’s ability to take swift action to raise awareness about the most pressing social and political issues of our time.
The popular ice cream brand is now drawing attention to the need to enact meaningful criminal justice reform with its new “Justice ReMix’d” flavor.
Let’s address the flavor profile first: Justice ReMix’d boasts cinnamon and chocolate ice creams swirled with chunks of of cinnamon bun dough and spiced up fudge brownies. That blend alone should be an easy sell.
But take note of those brownies tucked into these pints of Ben & Jerry’s; they help sum up the mission of this ice cream. The brownies are sourced from Greyston Bakery, the Yonkers, NY supplier which has been an important part of Ben & Jerry’s supply chain for years. Since the early 1980s, the bakery has provided jobs and training to people who face barriers to joining or reentering the workforce, including the formerly incarcerated.
Partnering with Ben & Jerry’s to launch Justice ReMix’d is the nonprofit Advancement Project National Office, which for 20 years has advocated for human rights and social justice causes including criminal justice reform. Among the causes the Advancement Project has taken on includes its “Close the Workhouse” campaign, which has been determined to close a notorious St. Louis jail that critics say has a long history of accepting abusive prison guard behavior in addition to its reputation for providing inadequate health care.
Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of developing flavors in the name of political and social activism. Past flavors have raised attention to voter disenfranchisement, a “Pecan Resist” blend promoted as a way to speak out against various Trump White House policies – and, a temporary rebranding of a cookie dough flavor to “I Dough, I Dough” to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to cement marriage equality as U.S. law.
Whether it’s to raise awareness about where Ben & Jerry’s on certain social issues or to support nonprofits’ work in pursuing a certain cause, the Vermont-based company has made it clear it won’t stop these marketing tactics anytime soon.
“Our approach to creating social change is to raise up the work non-profits are doing on the ground,” said the company’s co-founder, Ben Cohen, in a public statement. “We bring every resource we have to support them—our business voice, our connection with fans, our Scoop Shop community and of course, ice cream. Somehow, it’s easier to talk about difficult issues over a scoop or two.”
Matthew McCarty, CEO of Ben & Jerry’s, is among the speakers who will take the stage at the 2019 3BL Forum. Together, 80-plus speakers promise this two-day event one that is fast-paced, high-octane and invaluable with their perspectives on the latest in the environmental, social and governance (ESG) community.
Image credit: Ben & Jerry’s
Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010, and became its Executive Editor in 2018. He is also the Director of Social Media and Engagement for 3BL Media. His previous work can be found at The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. Kaye is based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas. He's lived in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He's an alum of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California.