5 cool things you (probably) didn’t know about Ben & Jerry’s climate work


Because of our very active public campaigning for climate justice, we get asked lots of questions about what we are doing as Ben & Jerry’s to reduce our very own climate impact - and fair enough! 

As a for profit ice cream company, we’re part of the problem, which is why we’ve committed ourselves to be a catalyst for solutions, both within our business and at the policy level too. Want to know how we do this using science, innovation and hard work? Dig into the chunky details to learn a few things you (probably) didn’t know about our carbon hoofprint reductions…

1.    Our ice cream factories are powered by ice cream waste


Have you ever heard of the Chunkinator, a magical reactor that turns ice cream waste into energy to make even more ice cream?

Ok, the chunkinator isn’t real magic, but to us it is - it makes Ben & Jerry’s the first ice cream company in the world to power its plants using ice cream bi-products. The Chunkinator’s proper name is a Biodigester and it turns ice cream waste from our factory into energy that's used to make more ice cream. To date, The Chunkinator has powered 16 million pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream - magic!

2.    We tax ourselves a carbon tax - and use that money to find new ways to reduce our hoofprint


You might have heard of carbon offsetting, but have you ever heard of carbon insetting? Well, basically it’s about doing the work to reduce our carbon hoofprint, rather than just ‘buying’ carbon offsets without actually making changes. We do this by measuring every last scrap of carbon that we release from start to finish and we give ourselves a carbon tax that then funds our carbon-hoofprint reduction work (right now, we charge ourselves $10 per metric tonne of CO2e).

Using this tax, we invest it in things that will reduce our carbon - like scientific research, trials, emission reduction plans and pilot programmes on farms, technology to decarbonise our factories, and investing in green transport technology. Insetting helps create industry-wide change because we can share our learnings and lessons, and bring our suppliers and industry along too!

3.    We are dealing with on-farm emissions at source


(On farm biodigester - turning animal waste into energy)

We’re finding innovative ways to deal with manure so that our farms have a much less carbon impact by investing in technologies, research trials and agricultural practices that reduce on-farm emissions. This includes technologies like manure separators and digesters that reduce methane emissions to practices like cover cropping, no-till, and crop rotation which promote soil health.

We are even trialing things like asparagopsis, the climate fighting seaweed which reduces methane emissions by up to 80% when it’s fed to cows! Find out more here.

4.    We help science and nature work together

Alongside partnering with dairy farms, we partner with our suppliers to reduce the impact our other ingredients have on the planet. Right now, our almond suppliers are piloting a scientific study to transition to renewable practices of growing almonds, focusing on things like soil health, diversity of crops, composting, animal and bee integration, eliminating chemicals and water use.

In other areas of our supply chain - like cocoa - we work with solutions that are best suited to the region. We have a long-term partnership with four Fairtrade co-ops in our West Africa supply chain to plant and manage 189,000 tree seedlings. The goal is to remove 140,000 tCO2e over the project life. Agroforestry provides livelihood benefits to communities including income and food through diverse crop, cocoa shade, and water retention co-benefits - all solutions that help both people and the planet!

5.    We don’t just rely on in-business change - we use our voice, our time and our resources to call for collective, policy level change


(A recent campaign we launched with Surfrider Foundation Australia to stop new fossil fuel projects near coastal icons like 12 Apostles)/p>

On top of the work we are doing to reduce our hoofprint inside the business, we also commit our money and time campaigning for climate justice in Australia (& around the world), so that we see change at policy level too.

In Australia, we have been loud about demanding the end of new fossil fuels. Over 6 years, we have launched 8 public campaigns to stop permits and public funding for new coal, oil & gas projects. We focus on pressuring policy makers because we know the people voted into parliament are the ones who make the big decisions about fossil fuels and, ultimately, can decide the future of our climate.

While you’re reading this - want to join the action? Our partners Surfrider Foundation want to stop drilling in Southern Sea Country. You can sign the petition here!

Hungry for more? 

We get it, we like all the chunky details too. You can learn more about what we are doing to curb our carbon, fund fairtrade and protect people and the planet at our latest SEAR report, here.