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Global Warming. Climate Change. Climate Justice.
What Does it All Mean?

We live in a world where the effects of climate change are increasingly real; from melting ice caps to rampant forest fires, it can no longer be denied that man-made carbon pollution is affecting our fragile planet. The scientific evidence is settled; global warming is real and already impacting people around the world. The question now is, "What are we doing about it?"

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The Effects on Our Planet and Its People:

Every passing year, we see changing patterns of precipitation, including more intense rainfall events around the world, dramatic changes in the arctic, changes in agricultural growing seasons and rising sea levels and ocean acidification. Some of these changes in our climate will have dramatic ecological and social consequences. The cruel irony of climate change is that people in the developing world, who can least afford to adapt to climate change, will pay the steepest price for the 200 years of industrialization and pollution from the developed world. It truly is an issue of climate justice.

 

Solutions:

It is more urgent than ever that we take steps to dramatically reduce global greenhouse gas emissions – and to do it in a way that equitably shares the burdens and risks of climate change among the nations of the world. Ultimately, we have to break the link between economic growth and development from natural resource extraction and depletion.

There is no quick fix to solve climate change, but we know what we need to do. We must:

  • Divest from fossil fuels
  • Increase renewable energy sources
  • Put a price on carbon pollution
  • Work with developing countries to invest in renewable energy

Learn more:

What Does it Mean for Ben & Jerry’s?

Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of fighting for climate justice and finding ways to reduce the environmental impact of our business. In 2002, we launched a carbon offsets program for our Vermont manufacturing facilities. In 2007, we ran our first global warming advocacy campaign in partnership with the Dave Matthews Band. We’ve invested early and often in efficiencies throughout our manufacturing facilities, supply chain, and Scoop Shops to increase energy efficiency and shrink our carbon footprint.

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There is no quick fix to solve climate change, but we know what needs to be done:

  • Divestment from fossil fuels
  • Increase in renewable energy sourcess
  • Put a price on carbon pollutions

Nearly all businesses have greenhouse gas emissions associated with their operations, and that includes Ben & Jerry’s. We rely on agriculture for our main ingredients, especially dairy, as well as manufacturing to make our products, trucks to transport our finished products and freezers to keep our ice cream cold. We know our carbon footprint, and are working throughout our operations to reduce it. We are working with our farmers to reduce methane emessions from farms, we lead the change to a cleaner, greener freezer in the United States and built the Chunkinator at our Netherlands factory which helps power the factory from ice cream bi-products.  We also know what we’ve done is not nearly enough and we must do more. We make progress and report on this each year in our our Social and Environmental Assessment (SEAR) Report. Read more about the steps we’re taking to reduce our carbon footprint and our plan to get to 100% clean energy at all of our U.S. sites by 2020.

What Does it Mean for Australia?

In Australia, the impacts of climate change are already being felt. From water shortages to extreme weather events, it is clear that the time for action is upon us. There are a few key issues in Australia that we think are of utmost importance, and urge you to take action on:

  • Fossil Fuel Subsidies

    Australia is slated to give $7.7bn in hand outs to the fossil fuel industry in the form of taxpayer funded subsidies over the course of 2016-2017.

    We believe that fossil fuels should not be given the upper hand against clean energy sources energy like wind and solar in the form of taxpayer funded subsidies. In fact, the fossil fuel industry should be required to cover the full externalized costs of their pollution, in the form a price on carbon. 

    Take Action and Learn More, here.

  • Fossil Fuel Divestment

    Divestment is the act of uninvesting in investments, typically ones that are considered unethical – in this case, fossil fuels. Right now, the world has far more reserves of coal, oil, and gas than it can safely burn. That’s just straight up physics. Recent studies suggest that as much as 80% of fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground if we’re to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

    We believe this makes holding investments in coal, oil, gas, a losing bet. Fossil fuel companies tend to assume we’ll burn all of those reserves, but if 80% of remaining fossil fuels must remain in the ground, these companies are holding trillions of dollars in assets that we should be keeping in the ground, making fossil fuel a risky investment that promotes climate change and it’s impacts.  

    In addition to the fact that these stocks represent a bad long term investment, there is an even more compelling reason to divest, the moral case. To profit from companies whose business model relies on destroying the planet is to be complicit in the demise of society as we know it. To date, more than 500 intuitions representing more than $3.4 trillion U.S. have divested their investments in the fossil fuel industry

    Take Action and Learn More, here.

  • Galilee Coal Mining Expansion

    The proposed Galilee Coal mines in central Queensland represent one of the planets most devastating potential carbon time bombs. In fact, the mines proposed for just this part of Queensland contain as much carbon as all of ExxonMobil’s, the world richest company, global oil and gas reserves.

    Investment’s in new fossil fuel infrastructure will lock us into another generation of dirty energy sources that are driving the climate crisis. Every dollar spent on expanding and investing in the energy sources of the past is a dollar not spent on the transition to the clean energy economy of the future. Instead of building new mines and expanding coal export facilities that will set us on a path to overshoot 2ºC, Australia should be in clean and safe energy sources like wind and solar. 

    Take Action and Learn More, here.

  • Western Australia Fracked Gas

    Proposed fracking in Western Australia at the fifth largest natural gas reserve in the world is not just a bad idea for the climate, it would potentially cause irreversible damage to critical fresh water aquifers in WA.

    Instead of exploiting fracked gas reserves in WA that cause climate change and threaten the local environment, now is the time transition to a clean energy future. The warming potential of this natural gas reserve, if released, makes it more difficult to avoid the worst impact from climate change and keep global average temperature rise well below 2ºC, the scientific guardrails for our climate.

    Take Action and Learn More, here.

  • Clean Energy

    There has been a drastic drop in renewable investment in Australia over the past few years which has had a direct impact on the amount of energy generated by clean sources like wind and solar, declining from 14.76% in 2013 to 13.47% in 2014. Meanwhile the global renewable energy supply has continued to steadily grow.

    The path to a safe climate relies on the rapid uptake of clean energy sources like wind and solar. This transition to the clean energy economy of the future will drive technological innovations that create jobs and drive economic growth for the economies that are on the leading edge of that transition.  Every dollar that is spent on new fossil fuel infrastructure or in tax subsidies to these unsustainable companies is a dollar diverted from a clean, green, and sustainable energy future.

    Take Action and Learn More, here.

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Join the Climate Movement!

Throughout 2015, citizens all around the world signed a petition urging world leaders to tackle climate change at the United Nations Climate Summit (COP21), which took place in Paris in December. Our friends at Avaaz delivered over 3.5 million petitions for 100% clean energy by 2050 to leaders on the eve of this critical negotiation. Thanks to all of those who stood up for what they believed in, signed the petition and took action on climate, a landmark agreement was signed by 196 countries with the goal of holding average global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. This was the first major step in a critical journey towards a healthier climate future.

With 2015 and COP21 behind us, now is the time to actually do the work to implement the Paris Agreement. This climate agreement wouldn’t have happened without millions of people around the world taking action. And we won’t be able to meet the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement without millions and millions more people taking action in support of a rapid transition to clean energy. Paris was just the beginning, not the end. Let’s get to work towards a greener, cleaner future. Add your voice to the millions demanding action and sign the petition today!

 

Sign the Petition Now!

 

FAQ's

  • What is Ben & Jerry’s position on climate change?

    It’s real. It’s happening now. For us, its not just about polar bears and ice sheets, it’s about people and it’s an issue of economic and social justice.

    We’ve always had a commitment to minimizing the negative impact our business has on the environment. We’ve made investments in energy efficiency and waste reduction at our manufacturing facilities, installed bio-digesters that turn waste to clean energy at our European manufacturing facility, and source only Forest Steamship Council (FSC) paperboard for our packaging.

  • Why does Ben & Jerry’s care about climate change?

    As a food company, many of the our partners in our value chain, including our Fairtrade suppliers in the global south, are at real risk from a warming planet. And because climate change is a risk to people in our supply chain, it’s also a risk to our business.

  • Western Australia Fracked Gas

    Proposed fracking in Western Australia at the fifth largest natural gas reserve in the world is not just a bad idea for the climate, it would potentially cause irreversible damage to critical fresh water aquifers in WA.

    Instead of exploiting fracked gas reserves in WA that cause climate change and threaten the local environment, now is the time transition to a clean energy future. The warming potential of this natural gas reserve, if released, makes it more difficult to avoid the worst impact from climate change and keep global average temperature rise well below 2ºC, the scientific guardrails for our climate.

    Take Action and Learn More, here.

  • What have you done in the past on the issue of Climate Change?

    We’ve been at this for a while. We ran our first global warming advocacy campaign in 2007, in partnership with the Dave Matthews band. We have a long history of focusing on reducing the environmental impact of our business. We’ve invested early and often in efficiencies at our manufacturing facilities to increase energy efficiency and reduce waste. We’ve recently christened a bio-digester at our ice cream plant in the Netherlands that turns waste from manufacturing process into cool clean energy. Here is a full list of what we’ve done:

    • 2002 - Began Carbon offsets with NativeEnergy for our Vermont manufacturing facilities
    • 2004 - Life Cycle Analysis completed for European Union (EU) production
    • 2007 - EU began carbon offsets/insetting
    • 2007 - One Sweet Whirled Advocacy Campaign
    • 2008 - Carbon inventory completed in the US
    • 2008 - Partnered with Greenpeace to win EPA approval of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) free refrigeration cabinets
    • 2014 - Life Cycle Analysis complete for US
    • 2014 - Installed a bio-digester at our Netherlands manufacturing facility
    • 2015 - Life Cycle Analysis to be completed for EU

  • What is the purpose of your activism campaign?

    We know that voluntary corporate action won’t deliver the large-scale systems change that is required to keep warming below 2º Celsius. We need leaders around the world to support policies that phase out fossil fuels and drive a rapid increase in renewables. Only a broad based social movement will build the sustained pressure on world leaders that can deliver this decarbonized future. That’s why we’re committed to helping build the growing international climate movement. Together, we can show world leaders that the time to act is now.

  • How are you building the movement?

    We are encouraging our fans, consumers and citizens to become a part of the global climate movement. If we’re to avoid catastrophic climate change, it will require a broad and diverse movement of citizens who are willing to take direct action to protect our planet. We’ll be encouraging our fans to join Avaaz, one of many groups that make up the global movement.

    Avaaz will continue to engage our fans and encourage them to take action at moments when they can be most impactful. We want to provide an easy way for our fans to take action on an issue we know they care about.

  • Why 2015?

    2015 is a big year.  World leaders have set a deadline to finalize an international agreement that would require all nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to keep warming below 2º Celsius.  To put it bluntly, 2015 will either put the world on a path towards a stable long-term climate, or we’ll lock ourselves into a future with runaway climate change.  We think the former sounds a lot better.

  • Doesn’t your company have a big carbon footprint?

    Yes, we do. Our carbon footprint per pint is about 1kg or approximately 136,000 metric tons of green house gasses annually. View our Life Cycle Analysis here.

  • Do you have a goal to reduce your greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint?

    Yes, Ben & Jerry’s is committed to reducing its absolute GHG footprint. We believe corporations should set ambitious goals that are rooted in science. Ben & Jerry’s is committed to de-linking the growth of our business with the growth of our GHG emissions. We’ve committed to an 80% reduction in our absolute emissions by 2050, despite an ambitious plan to grow our business. Between now and 2020, we’ve committed to reduce the emissions intensity per unit of production by 15%.

  • How do you intend to achieve your greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals?

    More than half of our company’s carbon emissions come from the production of our ingredients, most notably, milk. On farm emission are 42% of the overall life cycle emissions of our company, so in order to make real progress to reduce our footprint, we’ve got to partner with our family dairy farmers to improve manure management, reduce enteric emissions from the herd, and move towards better cropping methods that promote soil health and sequester carbon. In addition, we’ll continue to drive efficiencies throughout our manufacturing plants, our logistics network and our frozen supply chain.

  • Isn’t shipping ice cream from Vermont to countries like Australia and Brazil very GHG intensive?

    Outbound transportation accounts for about 15% of our businesses footprint, so logistics is a sizable part of our footprint. However, ice cream that we ship internationally is moved by sea, which is the most efficient way to move goods. The World Shipping Council says that a ton of goods can be shipped from the Port of Melbourne in Australia to the Port of Long Beach in California, a distance of 12,770 kilometers (7,935 miles), while generating fewer CO2 emissions than generated when transporting the same cargo in the U.S. by truck from Dallas to Long Beach, a distance of 2,307 kilometers (1,442 miles). You can look into that further here.

    In order for us to make meaningful reductions in the roughly 15% of our footprint associated with outbound shipping, we’ll need to drive increased efficiency in the over the road refrigerated truck fleets that move our products domestically.

  • What about all those cows?

    Yes, we’re a dairy company and we’re proud of our relationship with the family farmers that supply all of our milk and cream. However, with agriculture responsible for 15-20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, we’ve got a lot a work to do to reduce on farm emissions. That’s why we’re reviewing our Caring Dairy program to explore possibilities like the development of a greenhouse gas model for our farms that will allow us to measure real reductions in the footprint of our farms. We’ve also begun to invest in important technologies like manure separators and biodigesters on dairy farms in our supply chain to reduce our GHG footprint and benefit farmers at the same time.

  • You say you look after the environment, but your packaging is not recyclable, why not?

    We’re big fans of our planet, and always monitor the impact we’re having on the environment. When it comes to packaging, all the paperboard in our packaging is made from Forest Stewardship Council certified paperboard. Due to hygiene issues, we are required to coat our FSC paperboard; therefore the packaging is not currently widely recyclable. This is something we are looking to improve, and hope in the next year we can make progress on this issue.

  • What public policies do you support?

    In order to keep global average temperature below 2º C, Ben & Jerry’s supports the following policies.

    • Ensure that 2/3 of all present commercially viable fossil fuel reserves remain in the ground
    • Completely phase out all fossil fuel emissions as soon as possible, but no later than 2050
    • Make no new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure
    • Engage all countries in phasing out fossil fuel emissions, with actions varying depending on countries’ common, but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities
    • Transition the global economy to 100% renewable energy while ensuring sustainable energy access for all by 2050
    • Put a science-based price on carbon pollution that limits warming to 2º Celsius.
    • Create a global framework in which developed economies help fund the shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient sustainable development in developing countries and the global south

     

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