Icelanders Like Their Ice Cream Fair Trade!

I recently returned from a trip to Iceland.  I was there for a geology field seminar, but I also had my “Fair Trade” hat on and kept an eye out for fair trade products in stores.  I was disappointed to see so few fair trade items on the shelves, especially since Icelanders have to import so much of their food.  One food item did not let me down – that familiar fair trade logo was on all varieties of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!

I can spot that logo anywhere - even in Iceland!

I can spot that logo anywhere – even in Iceland!

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Fair Trade Gathering over Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

After weeks of rainy days, the sun came up strong and bright for our meeting with Elizabeth Killough, chair of the Media Fair Trade Town Committee, and David Rosenberg, generous donor of the Laboratory for Civic Engagement. Over lunch, we discussed  the inspiring origins of the fair trade movement in Media and talked about ways to sustain and expand awareness in the coming years.

The interesting thing about fair trade, said Killough, is that “it is something that appeals to everyone across the spectrum.”

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Dr. Laura Guertin with Elizabeth Killough

The conversation took on a whole new dynamic as lunch turned into a Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream social, which was part of the celebration for our winning the nationwide Go Bananas for Fair Trade campaign. Students that had helped with Fair Trade events in the fall semester (the Alta Gracia t-shirt swap and bananas) were treated to free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Director of the Penn State Brandywine Laboratory for Civic Engagement, Dr. Laura Guertin, assembled this incredible pyramid of fair trade greatness, composed of 18 delicious fair trade flavors of Ben & Jerry’s. She even created fresh whipped cream with fair trade sugar to top off our dessert creations!

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Ice-cream has a special way of bringing everyone together, and between scoops, we not only talked about the social issues surrounding the fair trade movement and its impact on communities internationally, but also on Ben & Jerry’s trailblazing path to a more just world. The company truly stands as a model for other influential corporations to follow.

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Senior and Fair Trade Intern for Media’s Fair Trade Town Committee, Aimee Ralph, enjoys her bowl of Ben & Jerry’s

Overall, the celebration was quite a success and each of us departed, brimming with enthusiasm for future fair trade events!

Contributed by Labanya Mookerjee, Fair Trade Intern

Ben & Jerry’s switch to international FAIRTRADE Certification Mark

Ben & Jerry’s has been a strong supporter of fair trade and is adding fair trade ingredients, such as vanilla, chocolate, and sugar, to more of their flavors.  Ben & Jerry’s even has a Fairtrade page online (website).  With the questions/discussions/frustrations swirling around fair trade certifiers, does this recent move get us closer to “whirled” peace?

HEADLINEBen & Jerry’s Fortifies Farmer Focus with Faritrade Effort
Ice cream maker solidifies its commitment with Fairtrade International’s US Headquarters, Fairtrade International USA

Sine Fairtrade International USA (website) has established themselves in the United States, the Fair Trade USA “bucket boy” logo has been disappearing on products such as Divine Chocolate, and now Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  Does it make a difference who certifies Ben & Jerry’s ice cream?  Does it taste any different, or do you feel any different eating the ice cream under a different certifier?  The answers to these questions are all personal and individual, but we think everyone agrees that the commitment to fair trade is a priority and should be a priority for more companies that have the power to make a difference.

Contributed by Dr. Laura Guertin

Jimmy Fallon and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

Jimmy Fallon’s flavor of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Late Night Snack, is a Fair Trade certified ice cream. The vanilla and fudge being used in the Late Night Snack ice cream are Fair Trade certified. The proceeds from the ice cream sales are being sent to the Fair Trade Universities initiative.  The owners explained that Fair Trade gives the farmers from the under-privileged worlds a fair wage for their products being used in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

It was nice to see a high profile celebrity and one of the largest ice cream makers in the United States bringing Fair Trade into the lime light. Having Fair Trade mentioned on a widely-watched television show gives Fair Trade a boost and jumps it into the spotlight. This mention hopefully will turn more celebrities onto Fair Trade items. There are already a few celebrities that have gotten in the Fair Trade spirit.  Hopefully, there will be more to follow.

View this video of Jimmy Fallon with Ben & Jerry!

Contributed by Steve Hurwitz