It's no secret that climate change is here, and that it's changing our earth. Glaciers are melting, seas are rising, and plant and animal ranges are shifting. And while a handful of billionaires may be shopping for real estate in outer space, we’d prefer to keep our feet firmly planted on this Earth that we love. That means taking immediate action to protect our planet.
It’s already too late to preserve—or reclaim—the climate we used to enjoy. But we're not the type to sit around and wait for our Chubby Hubby to have a meltdown. We know we have to act urgently to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.
For that reason—and a million others—we've been working hard to address our climate footprint. Here’s what we’ve done so far, and what we’re doing next to shrink that footprint.
Doing something starts with knowing something. And while we've been actively working to reduce Ben & Jerry's overall environmental impact for decades, we now have the data to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and estimate our carbon footprint each year, including what contributes to it the most.
Here's what we know:
Tracking these numbers annually tells us where we have the biggest opportunities to reduce our footprint, and how we’re doing on our journey.
Infographic Description: An illustration of a Ben & Jerry's ice cream pint is used as a pie chart to show Ben & Jerry's carbon footprint. The chart is labelled "Our Carbon Footprint." In the chart, 53% is labelled "Dairy." 21% is labelled "Other Ingredients." 7% is labelled "Outbound Transportation." 5% is labelled "Retail." 5% is labelled "Franchise." 4% is labelled "Product Packaging." 2% is labelled "Inbound Transportation." 1% is labelled "Manufacturing." 1% is labelled "Consumer." And 1% is labelled "End of Life." The graphic appears on a cork board background.
It's great to have goals. It's even better when those goals are grounded in science.
That’s why we look to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which drives ambitious climate action by enabling companies to set science-based emission-reduction targets. Science Based Targets are precise and measurable targets designed to reduce emissions by a specific amount. That means we're held accountable to hitting actual numbers—not just that we're planting a few trees or buying carbon offsets to feel better about the energy we're using.
Which may have you wondering: Why aren’t we talking about carbon offsets or net-zero goals? The short answer: These efforts are too vague and unfocused—and of dubious efficacy. We understand that companies can’t be carbon-neutral until the entire economy is carbon-neutral. Net-zero claims are too often used to make corporations look like they’re taking meaningful climate action without really addressing systemic issues. For those reasons, we’ve chosen to stick with science, and with our SBTis.
Here's what Ben & Jerry's SBTis look like:
Those are some pretty big goals. So we decided to focus on improving three main categories:
Sourcing and Ingredients:
Dairy production accounts for over 50% of Ben & Jerry's total emissions, so it's where we have the greatest opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint. We're exploring and implementing solutions around a few main areas:
Since dairy counts for such a large part of our carbon footprint, one of the easiest and most effective ways of shrinking it is to, well, sell less dairy. Crazy, right? But stick with us. Here's what we're trying instead:
Manufacturing Operations & Scoop Shops
Ben & Jerry's manufacturing and retail operations contribute less than 6% to our baseline footprint, mostly because we've tackled it head-on. And there's actually some good news here:
If it’s melted, it’s ruined. It’s true for ice cream, and it’s true for the planet. We make delicious frozen things that rely on ingredients harvested from the earth (hey there, cows, nuts, chocolate chunks, and swirls!), so of course we're invested in fighting the climate crisis. But we also live here, too. And so we're calling on all of our fellow citizens on this Earth to demand that our elected leaders support a rapid transition to a clean-energy economy. Time is running out, but we have what we need to get started. Take action now!