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Ben & Jerry Tell On Themselves


Up Front: CONFESSIONS

BEN & JERRY TELL ON THEMSELVES

BAD BEN, BAD JERRY. DID YOU know that Ben & Jerry's Rainforest Crunch does little to help the Brazilian Indians, as claimed? Or that the garbage generated from throwing away empty Ben & Jerry's ice-cream containers amounted to an eco-unfriendly 15,550 cubic yards last year? How about that the number of Ben & Jerry's employees who are thinking about quitting doubled in 1994, to 38%?

No, these aren't damaging facts dredged up by Haagen-Dazs--they came from Ben & Jerry's just-released 1994 annual report. It includes yet another yearly self-critical "social performance" report by an outside consultant, Paul Hawken. This time, the consultant zeroed in on Rainforest Crunch, which carried a label giving the impression that its nuts came from a co-op of "forest peoples" in Brazil. In truth, the report says, just 5% of the nuts were from the co-op, and what's more, the rest were harvested by non-Indian Brazilians. The company has changed the label. The consultant sternly recommends that Ben & Jerry's "must, wherever possible, eliminate questionable claims" in its labels. Got that, guys? EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT, WITH OLUWABUNMI SHABI Mark Maremont


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