Ben & Jerry's has managed to cultivate such a sustainable aura that we're surprised this hasn't happened before: The ice cream giant announced a plan this week to go fully Fair Trade by 2013. That means all of the 121 chunks and swirls and 11 base ingredients (banana, vanilla, cocoa, etc.) found in Ben & Jerry's ice cream will come from Fair Trade Certified sources--no small feat.
The company became the first ice cream maker to offer Fair Trade Certified products in 2005. At this point, certified flavors include Chocolate, Vanilla and Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. Once Ben & Jerry's entire range of flavors goes Fair Trade, ice cream lovers can be assured that the farmers behind their Chubby Hubby and Phish Food are earning a fair income and using sustainable growing practices.
Even though Ben & Jerry's is the first ice cream company to make a full commitment to Fair Trade, founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfeld say the transition would have happened much sooner if not for hesitation from higher-ups at Unilever. Regardless, the move will hopefully spur similar change from other ice cream makers. Fair Trade certification has already become standard practice at a number of coffee chains, including Starbucks, Peet's Coffee and Tea, Tully's Coffee, and Seattle's Best Coffee.