The Ben and Jerry's story is an interesting one for people interested in Corporate Social Responsibility and the...

The Ben and Jerry’s story is an interesting one for people interested in Corporate Social Responsibility and the…

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The Ben and Jerry’s story is an interesting one for people interested in Corporate Social Responsibility and the Social Enterprise. These shots are hanging proudly in their corporate headquarters, which I visited with my family this last summer. And yes, they do happen to serve free ice cream on the tour.

#socialenterprise #CSR

9 comments

  1. In short: do no evil.

    hmmm.

  2. Their story of how they created the company is a study in Social Business. They did it their way.

  3. Sorry, Gideon Rosenblatt just in a cynical knobby mood due to present experiences.

    The only rule of business is to be financially sustainable. All other altruistic decisions, money-grabbing tendencies, wishful thinkings, wholesale pilferings and fluffy slogans are secondary to that.

    99% of EU businesses (there are over 19million of them) are in the micro/small/medium categories, and they provide two thirds of all employment. The average company size in the EU is 4, including the owner. 60% of business operate at break-even or less.

    I’ve nothing against Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Ben & Jerry’s, Starbucks and all the other shining lights that are held up as examples of the wonderfulness of business. It’s just that an awful lot of the advise that goes around, about running a business, doesn’t seem realistic – often feels like it’s written for HPSUs (high potential start ups, as they call them here) using only SEO approved key-worded buzzwords designed to impress people who are impressed by them.

  4. It’s a great point, Mick O’Dwyer, and important for me to always keep in mind as I’m writing about and sharing this kind of information. For the last 9 years, I ran a 20-something person-sized technology consulting group, and so I truly do understand the pressures and challenges that come with running a smaller organization. What I would say, however, is that our commitment to doing good in the world, as imperfect as we were in executing against that commitment at all times, well, it really did help to build commitment and engagement from the staff, and ultimately with our customers. Granted, we were a mission-driven organization. But I do think there are some advantages that go deeper than just surface level branding.

  5. Aye, there’s 10 of us in the company I set up 10 years ago this year and I agree: you can’t always get it right all the time, but if you stop trying you might as well go and look for another job.

    If it’s just a numbers game, balancing fiscals and taking what profits you can, that wouldn’t be my cup of tea. I think an awful lot of companies are run like that, spreadsheet managers ticking boxes and clearing sprint hurdles. I’m not even that convinced it makes for a long-term sustainable (small) business, it seems like the kind of soulless and uncaring attitude that could filter through to employees and on to customers.

    Smaller companies grow based on word of mouth and recommendations, in my experience, and that only really pays off when everyone involved is truly passionate about what they do; customers are practically willing them to on to success, they want to be associated with other businesses on the upturn. That’s when a shiny happy brand has depth and a bit of substance.

    However, once that passion and belief in what a company is doing goes, by employees / managers / customers, it’s a swine to get back.

  6. Sounds like some real experience talking there, Mick O’Dwyer. I think we humans are crazy good at detecting sincerity and bullshit, and when a company pretends to be other than it truly is, we smell it a mile away – and run in the other direction.

    And yeah, when we lose that, real passion to serve, when it leaves our people it’s tough, really tough to get back.

  7. Let’s just say your AOC ‘Trust and Networks’ article resonates. 😉

  8. The employee is the wealth of the corporates

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