What’s the most delicious way to save the planet? Buying Ben & Jerry’s new “Save Our Swirled” ice cream flavor, aimed specifically at advancing and funding climate change activism, of course.
Ben & Jerry’s is launching a global campaign to raise awareness about climate change in advance of the UN climate summit to be held in Paris at the end of this year, where countries are expected to (finally) make binding commitments to reduce carbon emissions, and the company is doing it all with ice cream.
On every pint of Save Our Swirled (abbreviated “S.O.S.” on the lid) is the URL for a petition calling on international leaders to commit to using 100% renewable energy by 2050. They hope to submit this petition at the Paris summit in December with 3 million signatures, and it is well on its way with 2.36 million signatures already. (Here is the petition if you want to check it out.)
They’ve even made a clever (if subtly alarming) video where they demonstrate the impact of a 2 degree rise in temperature on ice cream as a metaphor for a 2 degree warming on the planet (ironically, I think you’ll need to eat copious amounts of ice cream to forget that image).
What I really love about this initiative is that Ben & Jerry’s is helping advance the fight against climate change using its strengths. Chris Miller, Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission Activism Manager says it best, “The place where we interact with our consumers most is in the freezercase.” So that’s exactly where they’re aiming their efforts. And as such a popular brand, they really have the ability to jump-start a huge grassroots campaign, which will be important in pushing international leaders to commit to a low-carbon future. If there is overwhelming popular support for renewables and emissions reductions, leaders will need to stand up and take notice.
But, Ben & Jerry’s isn’t just stopping at climate activism — they’re walking the talk in their own operations. Not only are they committing to use 100% renewable energy in their operations by 2020, they have also instituted an internal carbon tax on themselves, the funds from which are put toward programs that reduce farm emissions (with dairy being their primary ingredient and the dairy industry having an enormous methane footprint, farm emissions are a high priority if Ben & Jerry’s wants to reduce its environmental footprint).
Mitigating climate change shouldn’t just be left to policymakers — the policy-making process can be long and tedious. Individuals and businesses have a major role to play in reducing emissions and our general environmental footprint. In fact, individuals and businesses are much more nimble, so making these types of changes can happen more quickly. I love that Ben & Jerry’s is taking responsibility for its actions and committing to make the world a greener place. I truly hope that more companies follow suit. (As I was preparing to publish this post, I saw that 13 major companies have just made strong climate commitments as part of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge — certainly a good start!)