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Ben and jerrys

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Ben and jerrys

Due to the societal shift in the twentieth century toward material gain and capitalism, there has been an overwhelming emphasis put on monetary accrual and the pursuit of wealth. To generalize, people are no longer satisfied with familial happiness and achieving status through such things as cars and clothes has become the norm. Due to this, the job market has become increasingly more competitive, which in turn has given tremendous power to business. Corporations have all but taken over control of the distribution of assets. Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry's writes, "Corporations have been granted the right to become the major depositories and bestowers of wealth in our society." Businesses, whether they want to or not, have a tremendous impact on the economic and social status in the world. The underlying problem with this relatively recent shift is that too often is the case that larger corporations neglect to acknowledge the potential danger they pose to the environment and the society as a whole. Therefore, it is the duty of each and every enterprise to take into account the tremendous power it possesses and act in such a way that is not detrimental to society. Unfortunately, as history teaches us, too many businesses take the "its not my problem" attitude and the result is often times irreversible. Since 1978, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have accepted the fact that indeed companies have the capacity to have a tremendous influence on the economy and ecology, and done everything possible to make theirs a positive one.

To run a successful business, several factors must be kept in mind at all times. The business must function efficiently and at the same time produce a quality product. The consumer's interests also must be taken into account, and too often overlooked is the necessity to maintain a satisfied work force, making them feel important and needed. The Ben and Jerry's corporation, but a small two man operation running out of a gas station twenty years ago, has always rendered these qualities vital, no matter what their circumstance was. The two men met in 1963 as seventh graders in a small Long Island gym class. Ben, a native of Brooklyn, New York, attended Colgate University for only a year before dropping out to return to his high school job as a neighborhood ice cream man. He had a brief stint at Skidmore College as well as NYU, and moved to upstate New York before going into business with his partner and long time friend Jerry Greenfield. Jerry was also born in Brooklyn and after high school attended and graduated from Oberlin College. After being rejected form medical school twice and moving to North Carolina, he and Ben decided to make their dream a reality. They decided to move to Vermont, and with a $12,000 investment opened a small homemade ice cream shop in downtown Burlington.

When the business began Ben and Jerry sat down and had rather basic goals. Their credo was "If it's not fun, why do it?" They wanted to enjoy themselves while earning a living, and at the same time give something back to the community. As business began to take off, they needed to set down guidelines in order to achieve all three goals. Ben and Jerry execute what is referred to as a values-led business.

"Values-led business is based on the idea that business has a responsibility to the people and the society that make its existence possible. More all-encompassing and therefore more effective than philanthropy alone, values-led business seeks to maximize its impact by integrating socially beneficial actions into as many of its day-to-day activities as possible*By incorporating concern for the community - local, national, and global * into its strategic and operating plans, the values-led business can make everyday business decisions that actualize the company's social and financial goals at the same time."(Ben and Jerry's Double-Dip, p.30)

Their mission statement, due to the type of company they desired was broken down into three separate parts (p.46):

Product Mission: to make, distribute and sell the finest quality product

Social Mission: to operate the company in a way that actively recognizes the central role that business plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life of the local, national, and international community

Economic Mission: to operate the company on a sound fiscal basis of profitable growth

This method of business and sense of mission allows Ben and Jerry's to do several things. The business naturally holds profit and success as a priority, but at the same time acknowledges and does its best to help the community and its surroundings. Ben and Jerry's current CEO, Perry Odak, says that he originally "sought out the company because of its excitement about combining social endeavors with a growing, profitable business."(p.188)

The management in Ben and Jerry's is very people oriented. If run properly, values-led businesses often yield an incredibly motivated workforce. "If people understand that the work they do produces more than just profits, and they're in alignment with the values of the company, there's no end to what they can contribute."(p.165) The management at Ben and Jerry's has always strived to keep the employees happy and emote a real sense to the staff that indeed they are important. "Values-led management aspires to respect employees and seeks to meet their needs as well as the needs of the ...

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