Jerry Greenfield and his good friend Ben Cohen started selling ice cream from a garage in the 1970s. Happy cows and fair trade were their conditions for making good ice cream. According to Jerry, "Fair trade is a way of sharing love."
What I believe in
"I was brought up in the Jewish tradition, but I have let most of that slip. I do see myself as someone with a spiritual philosophy of life. I believe there's a greater power -you might call it God- and we are all a small part of it. We're all connected in that way. that's why it is important for all of us to do our best for each other and for the world.
Perhaps that power is better described as a huge source of love, and what we as humans should do is spread as much love as possible. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I really do believe that. By spreading love I mean: doing right by other people. Not only the people in your direct environment or the people you meet in the street, but all people across the world. That's why fair trade and cooperation are important to me. There are lots of people in the world who have fewer opportunities than you and me, people living in bad situations. It's our job to give them love. Every person is capable of helping others. I try to do that as much as I can."
"Even if you are a pessimist, you still have to do your best, although you can't save the entire world. Ben & Jerry's motto is "peace, love and ice cream." We should add something to that: it's not enough to wish for peace, you have to make it. Don't just talk about it, but do something. That has always been an important starting point for me, in the business as well as in my private life.
Every company has a social responsibility towards the community in which it is based. Taking good care of the cows, not exploiting or ripping off the farmers growing the sugar cane - those are also ways of spreading love."
Text: Pauline Bijster - Photo: Ruthie