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Interesting piece on the BBC website about Ben & Jerry's, and how Unilever - which bought the counter-culture, decidedly liberal-leaning ice cream company in 2000 - has allowed current management to remain committed to the principles of founders Ben Cohen and jerry Greenfield.

For example, Ben & Jerry's supported the Occupy Wall Street movement, and Greenfield notes that nobody got fired. "I am pleased that Ben & Jerry's is able to continue its innovative mission," he says. "We get a lot of support - sometimes I'm a little surprised at how supportive Unilever is."

While Greenfield does not suggest that there is a cause-and-effect relationship, there is at least the suggestion that the Ben & Jerry's experience taught Unilever the same lesson that other companies are learning - that social responsibility can be good business.

Greenfield puts it this way to the BBC: "The real power of a business is is in how it conducts its everyday operations and integrating environmental concerns right in the day-to-day activities: how you source your ingredients, your banking relationships, your marketing, all these activities."
KC's View:
I, too, have been impressed that Unilever has not screwed up the Ben & Jerry's acquisition. The odds had to be pretty good back in 2000 that the corporate powers that be would try to decapitate the company's well-know sense of social responsibility. Kudos to Unilever for understanding what Ben & Jerry's brand equity really was.