- Taschenbuch: 288 Seiten
- Verlag: Agency/Distributed (1. Januar 2014)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1609948130
- ISBN-13: 978-1609948139
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 2 x 14 x 21,6 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 221.655 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Ice Cream Social: The Struggle for the Soul of Ben & Jerry's (Agency/Distributed) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Januar 2014
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"In 2011, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center gave Ben & Jerry's one of its highest honors. This book explains why."
--Martin Luther King III, human rights activist
"As this fine telling of the Ben & Jerry's story indicates, it's harder than it looks to integrate consumer capitalism and political integrity. There are lessons here: hard ones and of course some sweet ones."
--Bill McKibben, author of Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist
"A fascinating look behind the scenes of a company as beloved as the ice cream it makes."
--Barbara Ehrenreich, New York Times bestselling author and Founding Editor, Economic Hardship Reporting Project
"The pioneering experience of Ben & Jerry's shows that corporate social responsibility can, thankfully, be contagious. Brad Edmondson takes us behind the scenes to tell this riveting and timely story."
--United States Senator Patrick Leahy
"This book reveals the true ingredients that go into every pint of Ben & Jerry's: GMO-free cream, fair-trade cane sugar, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears."
--Eric Utne, founder, Utne Reader
"What once was radical is becoming mainstream. By earning B Corp certification, Ben & Jerry's has proven that you can sell without selling out and scale with integrity. Much of the global movement to redefine success in business stands on its shoulders, and much of what we know about better practices and better governance can be traced to lessons the company learned the hard way. Finally, this important story has been well and completely told."
--Jay Coen Gilbert, cofounder, B Lab
"Brad Edmondson vividly conveys the passion, conflicts, and raw humanity behind an iconic brand. He gives us an uncensored look at how smart, caring people poured their hearts and souls into making Ben & Jerry's the standard-bearer for 'caring capitalism.' The story leaves the reader in awe of all they achieved, and it also imparts invaluable lessons by talking frankly about their failures. It puts on full display the contradictions and painful choices that eventually confront all successful mission-driven businesses. It's a journey into uncharted territory."
--Rink Dickinson, cofounder and copresident, and Rob Everts, copresident, Equal Exchange
"The founders of Ben & Jerry's put up a long and determined fight to keep their dream of a socially responsible company intact. Cutthroat capitalism doesn't make it easy for entrepreneurs who want living wages for their employees, environmentally sustainable ingredients, and socially beneficial business practices. Brad Edmondson gives us a fascinating look behind the scenes of a company as beloved as the ice cream it makes."
--Barbara Ehrenreich, New York Times bestselling author and Founding Editor, Economic Hardship Reporting Project
"Ice Cream Social is a factory tour of the ups and downs and arounds of Ben & Jerry's. We get an insider's description of the struggle of two guys who strived through good times and bad to achieve their mission to make the world's best ice cream, pursue social change, and treat both employees and shareholders fairly. Much of the time, they succeeded."
--Madeleine M. Kunin, former governor of Vermont
"St. Albans Cooperative has been a proud partner of Ben & Jerry's since the beginning. Through all of its organizational changes, it has remained committed to its core values, family dairy farms, and the cooperative. I am proud to be part of this story."
--Ralph McNall, dairy farmer, St. Albans Cooperative Creamery
"When Calvert first heard about Ben & Jerry's, we wondered whether our mission of social investing could even include a company that sold ice cream treats. This book shows how the founders convinced us. For decades, they have been a stellar example of walking the talk."
--Wayne Silby, Founding Chair, Calvert Funds, and cofounder, Social Venture Network
"A fascinating business morality tale . . . Edmondson offers an entertaining and enlightening account of the highs and lows that can be encountered in the quest to give capitalism a soul."
--Lynn A. Stout, Distinguished Professor of Corporate & Business Law, Cornell University Law School
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Brad Edmondson is an award-winning journalist and business consultant, the cofounder of ePodunk.com, and the former editor-in-chief of American Demographics magazine. He is a nationally recognized expert on consumer trends, advertising, and marketing, as well as a frequent keynote speaker at national conferences.
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As I recall, I first saw Ben Cohen sitting in a circle at an SVN conference in 1991. (Anita Roddick was sitting next to me, literally bouncing up and down, impatient to speak.) Not to put too fine an edge on it, I was star-struck. We didn’t speak then, but within short order I found opportunities to ask Ben about some of the innovations he’d introduced to Ben & Jerry’s to advance social justice. I learned a great deal from him, with profound results for my company when I later put those lessons into action.
In the ensuing years — SVN’s four-day conferences were held twice annually — I got to know Ben as a person rather than a star. He invited me to join him on the board of his organization, One Percent for Peace, and I became engaged in the negotiations to merge that small venture into Business for Social Responsibility, of which we’d both been co-founders in 1992 (along with a cast of dozens). At one point, believe it or not, this marketing genius even hired me to do some marketing work for his company’s huge nationwide campaign in support of the Children’s Defense Fund. Much later, I felt comfortable enough with Ben that I was able to talk him into putting his name as my coauthor on a book I was writing for SVN, published in 2006 as Values-Driven Business: How to Change the World, Make Money, and Have Fun.
Despite this unusual degree of access to Ben, and strong relationships with a number of mutual friends, I wasn’t aware of what had really happened in the tumultuous days leading up to the sale of the company, much less in the thirteen years that followed. None of the several books I’d read about Ben & Jerry’s had helped at all. Now I believe I know . . . well, a lot, though certainly not everything, thanks to Brad Edmondson’s excellent new book, Ice Cream Social. Edmondson’s subtitle, The Struggle for the Soul of Ben & Jerry’s, is right on target, melodramatic though it may seem at first glance.
Much of the author’s information and contacts came from Jeff Furman, who, little known outside, was effectively Ben and Jerry’s third partner in founding the company. In fact, factoring in both Ben’s and Jerry’s long absences – Jerry through several years in the 1980s, and both of them through most of the 2000s — Jeff is in all likelihood the only person (at least at a senior level) who has stayed with Ben & Jerry’s throughout its history. A board member for many years now, he has served as chair since 2010. Jeff is fiercely dedicated to social and economic justice — and a nice guy to boot.
Ice Cream Social details Ben, Jeff, and Jerry’s halting journey through the 1980s toward shaping the three-part mission that the company has been known for since 1988: making the best ice cream in the world; supporting causes that promote economic, social, and environmental change; and taking into account all the company’s stakeholders when making business decisions. Ben publicly called this the “double bottom line.” Within the company, and in Ice Cream Social, the concept is termed “shared prosperity.”
For a quarter-century, Ben & Jerry’s has been an icon of socially responsible business — a movement that the company was a leading factor in creating — but through much of the decade following its sale in 2000 the company fell far short of its exemplary performance in the last century. Clueless executives placed in charge by Unilever progressively whittled away at all three pillars of the mission, deliberately lowering product quality, getting in the way of the social mission, and shoveling economic benefits toward the outsiders brought in as executives. Ice Cream Social is most compelling when telling the story of how Jeff Furman and his allies on the company’s board started fighting back against Unilever in 2007.
Aggressively holding the parent company to the precise terms of the extraordinary sales agreement Ben and his colleagues had negotiated, and holding the threat of a major lawsuit over their heads, the Ben & Jerry’s board ultimately succeeded in winning over Unilever’s top management — and, in the process, embedding some aspects of its uniquely progressive mission into the priorities of a $68 billion global conglomerate, the world’s third largest food company (after Nestle and Pepsico). Today, Ben & Jerry’s is once again a sparkling example of how a company under brilliant and visionary management can realize big profits not despite an aggressive social and environmental mission but because of it.
Though every company is unique, and the Ben & Jerry’s story is far more unusual than most, there are lessons to be learned from the company’s experience.
For starters, the differences in perspective between social entrepreneurs like Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield on the one hand and top executives at most large public corporations are profound. They can’t be bridged simply by briefings, educational sessions, or show-and-tell exercises. The differences lie on the level of values. B Corporations like Ben & Jerry’s express the the personal values of their founders. Most big companies are still mired in the narrow-minded focus of Wall Street on short-term financial performance.
The hard bargaining between Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever, and the rocky relationship between the two companies after the sale, makes clear that good intentions are far from enough to preserve the unique character of a socially responsible company. The extraordinary sales agreement — a year and a half in the making — contained tough, enforceable provisions that made it a legal requirement for Unilever to operate Ben & Jerry’s in a manner that would maintain its unique and quirky character. Even so, the company was nearly driven into the ground over its first seven years as a subsidiary of Unilever, and it took extraordinary courage and disciplined action by Jeff Furman and others on the Ben & Jerry’s board to confront the reality and hold Unilever’s feet to the fire: genuine corporate responsibility doesn’t come easily in a classical corporate environment.
However, the history provided in 'Ice Cream Social' is an excellent illustration of the social mission challenge from an insider's perspective - something I haven't read before.
In one way, the story is one giant irony. The final pages say that Ben, Jeff and friends have realized that "Ownership matters", and "chain stores are like invasive species to local economic ecosystems. We need to encourage locally made ice cream..."
Ben & Jerry succeeded locally years ago. It is now an invasive species. They could have survived indefinitely in their local market area, and would have successfully been able to keep Haagen-Dazs from becoming dominant in Vermont. And they would have had a positive social impact locally. Jerry would have been satisfied with that outcome. Ben wasn't.
Ben Cohen is a businessman, not a saint. He had focus, vision, ambition. He was a clever and bold marketer. He also has his own political vision, and pursued it with his money and time via the vehicle of his company. Others do, or have done the same, such as Henry Ford or the Koch Bros to name a couple.
The personal ethics of Ben & Jerry appear to be average. They both achieved personal financial independence in the first growth phase of the company. The only sacrifice they make for the good they want to achieve is to not be obsessed with accumulating even more money, again something I suppose most people would share.
The episode early in the book when they first tried to sell the company, reminded me of the sort of story Donald Trump likes to tell. They reneged on a valid and well understood contract in which they agreed to pay a broker a fee for finding a buyer and getting a full sale contract negotiated. They change their minds after all this work is done, and don't pay per their agreement, They then defy a court judgement by quickly moving their cash across state lines, thereby forcing the broker to forego his legitimate rights and accept a much reduced payment, in order to avoid further legal fees. Just as with Trump, this is touted as business chutzpah.
They lost their business because, primarily, they were unsatisfied being a small, locally focused business and wanted to be a BIG business, with national and international distribution; and secondarily, they made serious mistakes in executing the 'big business' plan: they completely mismanaged the building of the St Albans' plant wasting a substantial portion of the funds they raised from new - and non-Vermont based - investors; and, they completely mismanaged the transition to 'professional management', by being cavalier about the construction and evolution of the Board, and by being cheap but clever, in offering new management an excessive amount of stock options. With a bit more in the cash salary, they could have avoided the risk to control that such excessive options created. So, it is largely Ben's fault, and you can understand why he was reluctant to relive it in interviews with the author.
That being said, in the case of Ben & Jerry, in terms of their personal social mission, they did in fact have some real impact which was not simply a marketing gimmick. They took their social mission increasingly seriously, and got out-sized results given the size of their organization.
The attempt to estimate and pay a 'living wage' and to control the environmental impact of their suppliers led to real results - results that coincidentally I happen to support. However, I think this says more for Ben as a social activist, than it does for his concept of a socially conscious business.
In a competitive market economy, individual players are very very limited in their ability to set their own rules. Only a profitable company is a happy company. Even the employee morale surveys at Ben & Jerry's showed a preference for 'traditional management' as the means to good wages. Only a company earning an above average return for a substantial amount of time will be able to re-direct a portion of its profits to objectives other than monetary return on investment. Such profitability is rare.
Under the Unilever structure, with the unique Ben & Jerry's board and its explicit social mission, the tension is simple and straightforward: each year the question is asked whether the subsidiary's profits are high enough to allow a portion to be diverted to a social mission, a mission which is allowed to exist solely to the extent it contributes to global brand value, i.e. a marketing edge.
There is a self-congratulatory tendency in the socially aware business community to treat one's own political priorities as self-evidently true and good. The implication is that "we are making a sacrifice by not putting these profits straight into our pockets, therefore, our goals must necessarily be good for society".
But the reason we have representative, democratic government is to answer precisely the question what is "good for society".
So, I confess, I don't believe in socially aware businesses as a vehicle for change. Every time I see Whole Foods, Starbucks or Patagonia advertising their consciences, my inner scrooge comes out. And for many of them, I know I'm right - it IS simply brand marketing and the pursuit of a sentimental purchase at a premium margin.
I accept and applaud socially aware individuals as a vehicle for change - some of whom may happen to also control businesses which are profitable enough to allow them the kinds of choices Ben Cohen was able to make. And I welcome them putting their money where their mouths are. For example, one of the suppliers we used at a bank I worked at once was a small businessman - also Jewish with a love of humor - who actually made a real sacrifice in offering full health insurance to his employees. His competitors didn't do that, and in the local market he didn't have to. And it came directly out of his personal earnings.
As for social policy however, I would far prefer a situation where businesses are allowed and encouraged to focus on one objective only - satisfying the customer for their product or service - c'est tout. And the conditions under which they pursue that objective would be set politically via mandatory governmental structures that apply to all businesses. National health insurance, a $10 minimum wage increase and a 10% carbon tax will do a million times the good of all socially aware businesses combined.
This book was thought provoking, and gave a good feel for the individuals and their decisions. And it reminded me that not every social mission in a business is motivated by 'brand value' and the pursuit of upscale boomer purchasing power.
I look forward to more such works from Brad Edmondson.
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