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Ben and Jerry’s rocky ESG roads buck vanilla trends

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Reuters Breakingviews or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Ben & Jerry's, known for its socially conscious ethos and flavors like Empower Mint and Save Our Swirled, exemplifies how a company can intertwine environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals with financial success
•  Amidst an increasing corporate shift towards neutrality on contentious issues due to backlash, Ben & Jerry’s stands out for integrating advocacy with its business model

🔭 The context: Unilever's planned spinoff of Ben & Jerry’s into a separate entity highlights the complexities of balancing ESG commitments with broader corporate strategies
•  This move comes as some investors and consumers push back against companies taking stances on political and social issues. The clash over Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling products in occupied Palestinian territories exemplifies these challenges

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Ben & Jerry’s commitment to social and environmental causes, from sourcing milk from hormone-free cows to supporting minority-owned businesses, showcases the potential for businesses to contribute positively to society and the environment while still achieving financial growth

⏭️ What's next: The separation of Ben & Jerry’s from Unilever tests the viability of maintaining strong ESG commitments in an increasingly polarized market
•  The success or failure of this strategy could influence how other companies approach integrating social causes with their business operations

💬 One quote: "Fully integrating advocacy into a business model, as opposed to jumping on a bandwagon to woo customers or investors, is no guarantee of success," but Ben & Jerry’s growth suggests it can be a viable strategy.

📈 One stat: Ben & Jerry’s has seen an average annual growth rate of more than 6%, outpacing Unilever's overall growth rate of about 2% since its acquisition.

Click for more news covering the latest on ESG

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