Beautifully engraved certificate from Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc issued in 1988. This historic document was printed by American Bank Note Company and has an ornate border around it with the company's name on top center. This item has the printed signatures of the Company's President, Ben Cohen and Secretary, Jeffrey Furman and is over 19 years old.
Ben & Jerry's is a brand of ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and novelty products, manufactured by Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings, Inc., headquartered in South Burlington, Vermont, and owned by Unilever.
Friends since 7th grade gym class, in 1978 Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield took a $5 correspondence course in ice cream-making from the Pennsylvania State University. They founded the company the same year in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont, using distinctive production methods they learned from Steve Herrell. Starting with a $12,000 investment ($4,000 of which was borrowed), the company built a devoted following for their products and business practices.
The company experienced difficulties with their distribution early on. Ice cream brand Häagen-Dazs, at the time a subsidiary of Pillsbury, tried to force independent distributors to choose one of the brands, and Ben & Jerry's filed a lawsuit against the Häagen-Dazs subsidiary saying that it had acted illegally in its operation and was trying to put Ben & Jerry's out of business. To coincide with the lawsuit, Cohen and Greenfield also began the "What is the Doughboy afraid of?" campaign to raise public awareness. This campaign included stickers placed on all Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream products with a hotline number where people could complain, or query. Notably, the phone number Ben & Jerry's placed on its products was a Häagen-Dazs phone number, so customers could complain directly to Ben & Jerry's competitor. They also encouraged a boycott of all Pillsbury subsidiaries, which included Burger King.
Pillsbury went to Ben & Jerry's with an out-of-court settlement and signed an agreement that stated it would not impose any such rules on the suppliers. The Ben & Jerry's brand grew tremendously, partly because of the success of the "David and Goliath" case and the publicity the brand received because of it.
The capital raised from their IPO helped fuel rapid expansion, but also reduced the founders' control.
In 1988, Cohen and Greenfield were named "U.S. Small Business Persons of the Year" by President Ronald Reagan.
After a failed attempt by Cohen to return the company to private ownership, Ben & Jerry's was purchased in August 2000 by the Unilever conglomerate for slightly over $326.43 million. Greenfield made about $19.0 million through the deal, and Cohen about $46 million. Other Unilever brands of ice cream include Good Humor, Klondike, Breyers, Magnum, Wall's, and Solero. For European markets the ice cream is made at a Unilever factory located in Hellendoorn, Netherlands.
A Ben & Jerry's Store (called a "scoop-shop")The company is known for the use of natural ingredients; for example, the farmers that provide their cream pledge that it comes from cows that are free from Bovine Growth Hormone. However, in 2002, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) accused Ben & Jerry's of abusing the "All Natural" label for using artificial flavors, hydrogenated oils, and other factory-made substances in their products. Ben & Jerry's official response was that they used a different definition of "all natural" than the CSPI.
In August 2006, Ben & Jerry's came under criticism from the Humane Society of the United States for using eggs in its ice cream that come from hens confined in battery cages. In September 2006, Ben and Jerry's announced a new policy of using only cage-free eggs.
The packaging for their pint containers is made from recycled, bleach-free paper. The company is supporting research into thermoacoustic refrigeration to minimize the potential negative environmental impact from using ozone-depleting refrigerants.
Some of their ice cream flavors are named after musicians, such as their most popular flavor Cherry Garcia, named after Jerry Garcia, and Phish Food, named after the Vermont-based band Phish, "Wavy Gravy" named after hippie and clown Wavy Gravy (as told by Wavy, was discontinued because of its high cost), as well as Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies, and now defunct One Sweet Whirled, named after the Dave Matthews Band's regularly played song "One Sweet World".
Flavors from the company come and go, with seasonal "Limited Batch" flavors appearing each year. Other types, such as Rum Raisin, were retired, entering what is referred to as the "flavor graveyard".
Despite their strong reputation in the LGBT community, the Unilever subsidiary only scored a 71% on the Corporate Equality Index by the Human Rights Campaign between 2002 and 2005, falling to 50% in 2006.
In 2005, Ben & Jerry's opened a store in Austin, Texas, operated by LifeWorks, a community organization that helps at-risk youth and families. The store provides job opportunities for LifeWorks clients. All profits from the store go directly to LifeWorks and Ben & Jerry's does not collect a franchise fee.
Also in 2005, the company hosted "Sundae on the Common" on Clapham Common, where for a £5 ticket, visitors could have unlimited ice cream, listen to live performances by The Thrills and other bands, and go on fun rides. The 2006 event took place on Sunday 30th July; tickets went on sale on the 19th May 2006 and sold out in 8 hours. Ticket proceeds went to regenerating Clapham Common.
Ben & Jerry's has collaborated with the World Wildlife Fund and explorer Marc Cornelissen to open the Climate Change College. Its aims are to educate normal young people on the science, the politics and the campaign strategies behind climate change so that they can then produce a successful campaign of their own. Students become ambassadors for preventing global warming and do their own research in the Arctic. 
Each year on one day either in late April or early May, Ben & Jerry's observes Free Cone Day, on the anniversary of its opening, as a "thank you" to its customers. On this day, over one million cones are given away. The 28th annual Free Cone Day was held on April 25, 2006.
History from Wikipeida and OldCompanyResearch.com.
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