How Is Ben and Jerry's Environmentally Friendly

How Is Ben and Jerry’s Environmentally Friendly?

Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Krystine

Ben & Jerry’s stands out as an ice cream company committed to sustainable business practices.

Their unique model prioritizes environmental stewardship alongside linked prosperity and social responsibility.

Let’s explore some of the ways they aim to reduce their ecological impact.

How Is Ben and Jerry’s Environmentally Friendly?

Ben and Jerry Ice Cream
Image Credit: Food Navigator

Ben & Jerry’s aims to be environmentally friendly through efforts like reducing greenhouse gas emissions, using renewable energy, eliminating petroleum-based plastic packaging, and supporting sustainable agriculture. However, reliance on industrial dairy and lack of recyclable packaging undermines some sustainability claims. The company still demonstrates a commitment to improving environmental practices.

Key Points

  • Ben & Jerry’s has set goals like using 100% renewable energy and eliminating plastic packaging, showing commitment to the environment.
  • Sourcing ethical ingredients like cage-free eggs and Fairtrade items demonstrates social responsibility.
  • Industrial dairy reliance and lack of recyclable packaging undermine some sustainability claims.

Our Opinion

In my opinion, Ben & Jerry’s deserves credit for their ambitious sustainability goals and ethical sourcing efforts. These commitments set a positive example. However, the company still relies on practices like industrial dairy that conflict with environmental values. Significant work remains to fully align business operations with their admirable mission and values. But Ben & Jerry’s shows that progress is possible, even if imperfect. Their efforts demonstrate how a company can take steps to be more eco-friendly.

Ben & Jerry’s Sustainable Packaging

Ben and Jerry Sustainable Packaging
Image Credit: Pack World

Ben & Jerry’s has set ambitious sustainability goals for their packaging by 2025:

  • Eliminate petroleum-based plastics – shift to reusable, recyclable or compostable materials
  • Ensure all paperboard comes from environmentally friendly sources
  • Make all packaging 100% renewable energy-powered

They’ve already started by:

  • Using sugar cane tubes instead of plastic spoons
  • Sourcing paperboard from sustainable forests
  • Joining Pack4Good initiative to improve packaging sustainability

However, some areas still need work. For example, pint cartons aren’t yet compostable due to their plastic coating. But Ben & Jerry’s partnership with environmental non-profits like Canopy signals their commitment to meaningful progress.

Through thoughtful material selection and ambitious goals, Ben & Jerry’s aims to minimize their packaging footprint. Their willingness to collaborate and evolve puts them ahead of the curve on sustainable packaging.

Ben & Jerry’s Renewable Energy Use

Ben & Jerry’s prioritizes renewable energy to reduce their environmental impact. Here are some of their efforts:

  • Company-owned facilities powered by 100% renewable electricity
  • Investing in on-site solar panels at factories
  • Purchasing renewable energy credits to offset non-renewable use
  • Aiming for net-zero emissions from facilities by 2030

These initiatives align with Ben & Jerry’s mission of linked prosperity. By transitioning to renewable sources, they aim to reduce their carbon footprint and promote environmental sustainability.

There’s still room for growth. As of 2020, only 60% of their total energy consumption came from renewable sources. But they’re committed to reaching 100% through investments in solar, wind, and other clean energy.

Ben & Jerry’s energy strategy shows how businesses can gradually shift their practices to be more eco-friendly. Their steady progress and transparency set an example for sustainable operations.

Ben & Jerry’s Efforts Against Climate Change

In addition to increasing renewable energy use, Ben & Jerry’s is working to reduce emissions across its operations. Some key initiatives include:

  • Transitioning to more efficient lighting and refrigeration in stores to cut electricity use. This aligns with their goal to reduce absolute emissions from their entire value chain by 40% by 2030.
  • Shrinking the carbon footprint of their products through sustainable dairy and crop practices. For example, they encourage dairy suppliers to use rotational grazing and methane digesters.
  • Partnering with dairy farmers to plant cover crops and use no-till methods. These techniques help sequester carbon in the soil.
  • Sourcing Fairtrade-certified and organic ingredients when possible. This supports farmers using climate-friendly agricultural methods.
  • Offsetting the emissions they can’t eliminate by investing in forestry projects and renewable energy.

Ben & Jerry’s comprehensive approach shows how a mission-driven business can fight climate change. By improving efficiency, changing practices, and offsetting emissions, they aim to reduce their carbon footprint. Their efforts demonstrate how small changes add up to create a more sustainable operation.

Ben & Jerry’s Sustainable Ingredients

Ben & Jerry's Sustainable Ingredients
Image Credit: USA Today

Ben & Jerry’s seeks to source high-quality, ethically produced ingredients for its ice cream. This aligns with the company’s focus on linked prosperity across its supply chain.

Some of their initiatives include:

  • Using Fairtrade certified sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and other ingredients. This provides fair wages and good working conditions for farmers.
  • Supporting cooperative dairy models, where farmers own the business and share profits. This empowers producers.
  • Sourcing non-GMO, organic ingredients when possible to support sustainable agriculture.
  • Avoiding palm oil due to its links to deforestation. They use sunflower oil instead.
  • Partnering with suppliers practicing regenerative techniques like cover cropping and crop rotation.
  • Working to source 100% cage-free eggs and gestation crate-free pork. This improves animal welfare.

Through these efforts, Ben & Jerry’s uses its purchasing power to drive positive change. They demonstrate that ice cream can be a force for good both in taste and in its production methods. Their focus on ethical sourcing makes sustainability part of their DNA.

Ben & Jerry’s Environmental Initiatives

In addition to sustainable ingredients, Ben & Jerry’s takes steps to reduce their environmental impact:

  • They set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and water use across their facilities. For example, they aim to cut emissions intensity by 43% by 2025.
  • Their facilities increasingly run on renewable energy. Their Netherlands factory will soon operate on 100% wind power.
  • They are phasing out petroleum-based plastic in pint cartons for renewable materials like paperboard.
  • Ben & Jerry’s seeks innovative ways to make containers reusable or compostable. Their pilot programs test compostable spoons and cups.
  • They partner with organizations like the Climate Reality Project to advocate for climate solutions. This spreads awareness.
  • Their business model directs 7.5% of profits to charitable causes, supporting environmental and social justice non-profits.

Ben & Jerry’s willingness to invest in sustainability sets them apart. While ice cream production will always have some environmental impact, they strive to lead by example. Their mix of smart operations and activism embodies their motto of “peace, love, and ice cream.”


What Is Ben and Jerry’s Impact on the Environment?

Ben & Jerry’s aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, use renewable energy, support sustainable agriculture, and eliminate petroleum-based plastic packaging. However, some practices like reliance on industrial dairy farming have been criticized.

Is Ben and Jerry’s Actually Sustainable?

Ben & Jerry’s has ambitious sustainability goals but faces challenges in fully implementing them. For example, sourcing cage-free eggs and Fairtrade ingredients at scale is difficult. Critics argue their reliance on industrial dairy undermines sustainability claims.

What Do Ben and Jerry’s Do That Is Ethical?

Ben & Jerry’s seeks to source ethical ingredients, including Fairtrade, non-GMO, and cage-free items. They aim to pay a living wage to employees and support progressive causes. However, sourcing ethical ingredients at scale remains challenging.

Is Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Containers Recyclable?

Currently, Ben & Jerry’s pint containers are not recyclable due to their plastic-coated insides. The company aims to have all packaging reusable, compostable, or recyclable by 2025. Progress has been slow and most packaging today goes to landfills.


Ben & Jerry’s has ambitious sustainability and social justice goals, though faces challenges fully implementing them at scale. Key practices like sourcing cage-free eggs, paying employees a living wage, and eliminating petroleum-based plastic show the brand’s commitment to environmental responsibility and social justice. However, reliance on industrial dairy and lack of recyclable packaging undermines some sustainability claims. Overall, Ben & Jerry’s efforts show how a company can work to be more environmentally friendly, though significant work remains.

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