Ben & Jerry’s was started 25 years ago by two ordinary guys, transformed into an iconic company, and led the way to the current phenomenon we call corporate social responsibility. Its path-breaking practices include everything from paying living wages to restraining the differential between pay for the CEO and the lowest level employee–it’s set at a multiple of seven at Ben & Jerry’s. Think about that today. The average multiple at other companies is 700! Disclosure, I am the chair of the board of Ben & Jerry’s so I am proud of what the company does even though there is much more to do.
Walt Freese has a long history with Ben & Jerry’s and other socially responsible companies. As we discussed the interview for this blog, our conversation revolved around the idea of transparency. Why does it matter? To whom? And to what end? Where does transparency do the most good? Where does the lack of transparency do the most harm? The video captures Walt’s passion on the importance of transparency in dealing with his colleagues at Ben & Jerry’s.
What do you think? And what else do you think you might want to hear from Walt?
Pierre Ferrari is an investor, director and VP of Marketing for Guayakí Yerba Mate, a company that combines scaled reforestation in South America, the reparation of many small communities and the marketing of Guayakí Yerba Mate. From 1995 on, Pierre focused his energies on a variety of social issues ranging from International Relief and Development, Conscientious Commerce, and Emerging Markets. He is president of “Hot Fudge” social venture capital fund, a community development venture capital fund whose purpose is to use venture capital to create jobs, entrepreneurial capacity and wealth that advance the livelihoods and wealth opportunities of low-income people and the economies of distressed communities.
Pierre holds a Masters degree in Economics from The University of Cambridge and a MBA from Harvard Business School. He has two sons, married to Kimberly, in awe of two stepdaughters, reads voraciously, and enjoys golf.