The Company contributed $1,206,412 to the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation in 2002, as compared to $1,178,423 in 2001. Ben and Jerry’s divide the philanthropic pool of funds between the Foundation, Corporate Philanthropy, and employee Community Action Teams (CATs). The company sponsors many PartnerShops. Partnershops are Ben and Jerry’s scoop shop outlets which are independently owned and operated by nonprofit organizations. The organizations they partner with, work with youth that encounter barriers to employment. They use the scoop shops as a place to carryout hands-on job training.
Ben and Jerry’s waive the franchise fee and provide additional financial support to their partners. They have more than 750 Scoop Shops worldwide. The company is involved in global warming campaigns. Ben and Jerry’s commitment is to reduce the company’s carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent. On many levels, their employees are directly involved to help make this commitment happen. After twenty-five years of independent operation, Ben and Jerry’s were bought out by Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer products firm for $325 million.
Under the deal, Unilever gave Ben and Jerry’s shareholders $43. 60 per share. Through it all, Ben and Jerry’s were able to retain their social responsibility stand. They were able to keep the co-founders involved with product development. Ben and Jerry’s brands complemented Unilever’s ice-cream brands. In the past, Ben and Jerry’s have lacked professionalism from their upper management. In 2006, the company’s former CFO, Stuart Wiles, was found guilty of embezzling some $300,000 from the company during his tenure which ran from 2000 to 2004.
He spent the money on car repairs, gifts, vacations, entertainment, clothing – and even a $58,000 addition to his home. He was sentenced to twenty-seven months in prison. Also, in 2006, they had to stop using Michael Foods as their egg supplier. An animal welfare campaign pressured Ben and Jerry’s to dump the egg producer accused of mistreating its chickens. An undercover video, showed dead and dying chickens stuck in their cages. Ben and Jerry’s bought about two million pounds of eggs per year from the supplier. Despite several corporate weaknesses, the company achieved success.
In 1994, Ben and Jerry’s reinvested large amounts of money into property and equipment. By purchasing the property and equipment, they increased their long-term debts by almost 45 percent. They also increased their marketing and selling expenses. They thought it would be best to take out an immense amount of capital lease to automate production. They saw the need to do this so they could keep up with the intense competition. In today’s health conscious society, Ben and Jerry’s have introduced more fat-free and healthy alternative ice-cream and frozen yogurt products.
These low-fat, no-fat products still contain the creamy richness and unbeatable quality, but only have three grams of fat per serving. Ben and Jerry’s also provide allergen free food items, such as gluten free and peanut free. In 2008, Ben and Jerry’s acquired Best Foods and Slim-fast. Slim-fast happens to be one of Unilever’s top-performers allowing them to enter a new industry of weight loss products. In turn, Unilever can now expand into more countries like Europe, where weight loss management is taking hold. In 2009, Ben and Jerry’s announced plans to introduce the country’s first HFC-free freezer.
These freezers do not emit harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. Most freezers in the U. S. use hydro fluorocarbon gases to generate cooling. These HFC’s have a significant downside. HFCs are among a group of refrigerants, known as “F-gases”, highly potent greenhouse gases. The most commonly used HFC has a global warming potential (GWP) of 3,200. This means that a ton of this gas in the atmosphere has the same global warming effect as 3,200 tons of carbon dioxide. Over time, all those leaking freezers can make a significant contribution to the problems of global warming.