Sustainable messaging should tell a story of your brand and the benefits the consumer stands to gain by choosing it over another.

In searching through the many companies that successfully highlight its sustainability initiatives, I found Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. As a long time fan, I was pleased to find that the value I gained as a consumer went beyond the bold and often delicious flavor combinations.

 Shel Horowitz, green/ethical marketing expert and author of Guerilla Marketing Goes Green, said B&J’s is one of the two companies that occupy up to 85% of the premium ice cream market, and is so largely because of their ability to consistently integrate their message, market and marketing.

Not only does B&J operate as cleanly as possible, it explains how and what that cleanliness equates to in clear and concise messaging. However, as I have said before, sustainability is comprised of economic, social and environmental approaches— B&J’s  considers all three components when incorporating sustainable actions into its business practices and conveying those actions through messaging.


B&J’s mission statement has three-parts: a social aspect, to recognize that business plays a role in society and should build it up; a product aspect, an all natural ice cream made by Earth and environment respecting business practices and a economic aspect, to sustainably grow, increase value for stakeholders and expand opportunities for its employees.

EcOnOmiC Efforts

The B&J website consists of three economic platforms:

  • The Occupy Movement states B&J’s support of the Occupy Wall St. movement and articulates what it believes to be the important issues raised by the movement.
  • The Get the Dough Out campaign states B&J’s stance on corporate corruption in politics and includes a call to action that allows consumers to get involved.
  • Tthe B&J Foundation, which has operated since 1985, grants $1.8 million annually to causes decided on by non-management employees.

SoCiAL Efforts

Along with B&J’s commitment to fair trade, its work with Greyson Bakery (a company leading in social consciousness) and its work with local farms and businesses, B&J’s has three main social programs:

  • Partnershops are stores that are independently owned by nonprofit organizations for which B&J’s waives the franchise fees to allow for community growth.
  • B&J’s is committed to providing employees a Livable Wage and recalculate that wage annually. In 2012 the wage was %15.97, and has been up to two times the current minimum wage.
  • The Community Action program creates a culture of caring within the company by providing an opportunity for employees to participate in large-scale community service projects.

The completeness of Ben and Jerry’s sustainability efforts is complimented by its ability to talk openly and with pride about them. The company’s website delivers messages in an engaging and concise manner, the packaging and design boldly states its ideals, and the social media plan is well executed (a topic I will undoubtedly cover later this month, so heads up).


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