Ben & Jerry's was sold to the multinational food and detergents company Unilever six years ago for £200m. Some of you think that puts Ben & Jerry's ethical image in question.
How can you be sure that Unilever looks after Ben and Jerry's in an ethical manner? In fact, is B&J still 'ethical' with such an owner? Has B&J influenced Unilever as a company elsewhere?
How do you think Unilever's ethicall standards compare to those of B&J? Have B&Js had to compromise their ethical standards since becoming part of Unilever?
Ben & Jerry's operates still as a semi-autonomous unit within Unilever. Customer should continue to push Ben & Jerry's to be ever more ethical and I think B&J has had a small but hopefully growing influence on Unilever. However it's clearly a case of a small tail trying to wag a very large dog.
When you say - small but growing influence - what can you point to? Where's the proof?
No proof, just a growing awareness of people within Unilever who come into contact with B&J who are captivated and motivated by a different way of doing business.
If Ben and Jerry's was truly ethical wouldn't all its franchises be set up as 'partnershop' social enterprise outlets? And what does Jerry think the ethical private sector can do to support the social enterprise sector?
We have a growing number and percentage of partner-shop enterprises. We hope to have even more. They tend to be more complex to open and to operate. But their social benefits are well worth it.