Ice Cream as a Convener for Social Change at Ben & Jerry’s with Chris Miller
In July 2020, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen unanimously voted to close down its workhouse jail and reinvest its operating funds into community programs. The victory was shared by members of the community, politicians, a coalition of activists, and Ben & Jerry’s.
While most associate Ben & Jerry’s first with its variety of ice cream flavors, the company’s purpose is to be an advocate for progressive social change in the world. With 66 global activism campaigns, the company uses its channels, platform, products, and fans (they don’t call them customers) to elevate messages, bring communities together, and take a stand.
We invited Chris Miller, Ben & Jerry’s Head of Global Activism Strategy, to discuss what cutting-edge corporate activism looks like today and how Ben & Jerry’s remains authentic to its values while using ice cream to change the world.
Listen for Chris’ insights on:
- How to identify the right issues to engage with.
- Why values-based actions are critical in activism, and how to articulate your company’s values.
- How relationships with NGOs and grassroots organizations create value in amplifying a message and uniting stakeholders around a campaign.
- The value of addressing controversy head-on and practicing transparency when engaging in activism.
Links & Notes
- Chris Miller on LinkedIn
- Ben & Jerry’s Values
- Ben & Jerry’s 2020 SEAR Report
- “Activists’ Work Pays Off: St. Louis Votes Unanimously to Close the Workhouse Jail!”
- Change is Brewing Ice Cream Flavor
- Americone Dream Ice Cream Flavor
- “Why Ben & Jerry’s Speaks Out” HBR Article
- 00:00 – Welcome to Purpose 360
- 00:13 – Chris Miller • Ben & Jerry’s
- 03:39 – Chris’ Story
- 08:01 – Authenticity
- 11:03 – Campaigns
- 18:23 – Fan Feedback
- 20:27 – Unilever
- 24:02 – Candor
- 28:05 – Favorite(s)
- 29:28 – Values
- 34:06 – Finding Values
- 37:19 – New Campaigns
- 41:58 – Issue Flavors
- 44:05 – Activism Suggestions
- 49:13 – Chris’ Last Words
- 50:10 – Wrap Up
Business is an unlikely hero: a force for good working to solve society's most pressing challenges, while boosting bottom line. This is social purpose at work. And it's a dynamic journey.
Purpose 360 is a masterclass in unlocking the potential of social purpose to ignite business and social impact. We illuminate the growing impacts of purpose, from engaging employees and fostering deeper consumer loyalty to inspiring product innovation and increasing market share.