The Summer 2010 FT Wealth magazine had a nice article on Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s. The article is titled “A Force for Good” in the magazine but I don’t see it in the article online. It’s in the “My Liquidity Moment” section in the back.
The article starts becoming out their moral and ethical decisions six years after they started when their sales were $4 million. They started having doubs because they “felt big business exploited the community, its workers and the environment.” In response, they decided to change the way business was done by “making their products and factories greener,” closing the gap between the highest and lowest-paid employees, and directing profits to the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. Also, they sourced ingredients from non-profit organizations.
Unfortunately for them, the company was sold to Unilever against Ben & Jerry’s wishes (since the company was public). They both had tried to stop the sale and take the company private but Unilever outbid them.
Ben & Jerry are now employees but still try to do their part for the company. Ben Cohen at least works with other causes (Jerry isn’t mentioned regarding this in the article).
The article also gives a little nice background on how they started – $12,000 start-up capital between cash and loans, sought out a warm, rural college town for their shope which led them to Vermont.