A lot can be learned from those who came before us – as my TEDxOC friend, Pascal Finette, likes to say, by putting them a “under the microscope, slicing them open and carefully dissecting its innards can not only be entertaining but also highly informative.”
With that in mind – Let’s jumping into one of the most delicious CSR companies, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Millions have devoured, mocked, applauded their yummy flavors. I can only dream of being one of their taste testers and won’t even try to argue for or against their controversial Schweddy Balls – lick it if you will.
Did I say that?! Oh My 😉
Let’s remember that Ben & Jerry’s started their company by being controversial. They embraced social responsibility before the CSR term was born.
In 1985, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation was established to fund community-oriented projects; provided with 7.5% of the company’s annual pre-tax profits.
According to CSR Now!, in 2011 the Total giving as a percentage of pre-tax income ranged from an average of .92 percent for Fortune 100 companies to .95 percent for all companies to .99 percent for non-Fortune100 companies. Total cash giving as a percentage of pre-tax income ranged from .67 percent for Fortune 100 companies to .75 percent for all companies to .84 percent for non-Fortune 100 companies.
Ben & Jerry’s also supports supplier diversity. Case in point, in 1988 they agreed to purchase Greyston Bakery brownies for the chocolate fudge brownie ice cream. Greyston aims to hire the hard-to-employ and is known for its “open hiring” practices, where anyone can sign up regardless of background. All profit from the company go to the Greyston Foundation, which uses it for low-income housing, day care open to the community, a medical center for those with AIDS, and other community endeavors.
As for employee support, in the beginning no employee’s rate of pay exceed seven times that of entry-level employees. In 1995, entry-level employees were paid $8 hourly, and the highest paid employee was President and Chief Operating Officer Chuck Lacey, who earned $150,000 annually.
Those are just some CSR features that increased their market share, supplied positive publicity and increased loyalty.
The take away – Follow your bliss. Give big. Help the underdog. Show appreciation for those who support you.
Thrive With Purpose™