Ferrell___Ben___Jerry_s_Homemade - Ben & Jerry's...

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Ben & Jerry's Homemade: Social Responsibility B en Cohen and Jerry Greenficld opened their first ice-cream shop in 1978 in a converted gas station in Burlington, Vermont, investing $12,000 in some secondhand equipment. Their business credentials consisted of much en- thusiasm and a $5 Pennsylvania State University corrcspondence course in ice-cream making. Driven by Cohen and Greenfield's 1960s ideals, Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc., has become ver); successful, with brand-name recognition of the company much greater than its size and sales of $237 million in 1999. From ihe beginning, Cohen and Greenfield have incorporated into their husi- ness a strong sense of social responsibdity - to their employees, the community, and the world at large. The company lives by its mission statement: "We're not part of the economic machine that makes profits and oppresses people. We think there should be a spiritual aspect to business. As we help others, we cannot help but help ourselves." Although Ben & Jerry's has experienced some trying times of late, it remains firmly based on its original, socially responsible corporate vision. Cohen and Greenfield's converted gas station served rich, all-natural ice cream, which quickly became popular nlth local residents. During the winter months, however, the customers turtied LO warmer treats, so Cohen and Greenfield had to come up with new ideas to survive their first year. Soon they were packaging their ice cream and hauling it around to local restaurants. Gradudy, they began to in- clude grocery stores among their customers, soon gaining shelfspace in one hun- dred fifty stores across the state. Ben & Jerry's has always been a bit unorthodox in its busincss practices, rang- ing from Greenfield's executive title of "Big Cheese" to its products. For example, a popular Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor is Cherry Garcia, named after (now de- This case was prepared by 0. C. Ferrell, John Fraedrich, (2nd Terry Gable for clmsroonz discussion, rather than to illusfrate either effective or ineffective handling of an administratiue, ethical, or le- gal decision by management.
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Case 9 Ben &Jerry's Homemade: Social Responsibility and Growth 327 ceased) guitarist Jerry Garcia of the rock band the Grateful Dead. Another flavor, Wavy Gravy, is named after the master of ceremonies atwoodstock and, naturally, is packaged in a tie-dyed container. When the company went public in 1984 as Ben &Jerry's Homemade, Inc., Co- hen initially linlited the sale of the company's stock toVermont residents. His idea was that if local residents were part owners of the firm, the community would share in the success of the business. In Cohen's words, "What a strange thing we're discovering: As our business supports the community, the community supports us back." A nalional stock offering did follow two years later, but the company has continued its philosophy of supporting the local community.
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Ferrell___Ben___Jerry_s_Homemade - Ben & Jerry's...

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