Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s has formed a new dairy advisory council to provide guidance on sustainable agriculture and product manufacturing.
The ice cream business has convened experts in areas such as environmental health, animal protection, water quality and organic farming to achieve its new ‘values-led dairy vision’.
According to the vision, all farms used in the manufacture of Ben & Jerry’s products much have: “Thriving and dignified livelihoods for farmers and farm workers; exceptional animal welfare standards for cows; a flourishing ecosystem in which feed is grown ecologically, without use of harmful chemicals or GMOs, and in a way that protects water resources and promotes biological diversity; and, farm operations acting as a net carbon sink through minimising greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon in the soil.”
Dave Rapaport, Ben & Jerry’s global social mission officer, said: “Our values-led dairy vision is based on what our fans have a right to expect of us. While we’re proud of the progress we’ve made over the past decade in helping farmers build soil health, improve animal welfare and increase the sustainability of their farms through our industry-leading ‘caring dairy’ programme, we know there is still a long way to go in achieving our vision.
“This new, independent council will provide ideas and advice as we develop a long-term roadmap for our goals, with objectives and milestones along the way.”
Ben & Jerry’s values-led sourcing manager Cheryl Pinto added: “We expect this knowledgeable group of external stakeholders will keep us focused on our commitments and help us hold ourselves accountable.
“We’re proud of the work Vermont dairy farmers have done with Ben & Jerry’s, and we know we have a long way to go to achieve our vision. Dairy farmers are facing increasingly complex issues and we recognise the need for the council’s advice and insight in helping us build a programme which brings about beneficial outcomes for all.”