USA – Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s has formed a new dairy advisory council to provide guidance on sustainable agriculture and product manufacturing.

The new Dairy Advisory Council comprised of experts in environmental health, the animal protection movement, Lake Champlain water quality, and organic farming to help the company achieve its newly refined Values-Led Dairy Vision.

With the council, Ben and Jerry’s looks to sustainably source milk used in its products from farms that depict thriving and dignified livelihoods for farmers and farm workers.

The farms should uphold exceptional animal welfare standards for cows, with operations that act as a net carbon sink through minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon in the soil.

They should also show a flourishing ecosystem in which feed is grown ecologically, without use of harmful chemicals or GMOs, and in a way that protects water resources and promotes biological diversity.

“Our Values-led Dairy Vision is based on what our fans have a right to expect of us,” said Dave Rapaport, Ben & Jerry’s Global Social Mission Officer. 

“While we’re proud of the progress we’ve made over the past decade in helping farmers build soil health, improve animal welfare and increase the sustainability of their farms through our industry-leading Caring Dairy program, we know there is still a long way to go in achieving our vision.

“This new, independent council will provide ideas and advice as we develop a long-term roadmap for our goals, with objectives and milestones along the way.”

The Council members are:

  • Dorn Cox, organic farmer and Research Director of Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment
  • Heather Darby, UVM Extension Professor and Agronomy Specialist
  • Scott Faber, environmental advocate
  • Sarah Flack, grass-based livestock production consultant
  • Leah Garces, President of Mercy for Animals
  • Gary Kjelleren, Chair of the Lake Champlain Committee

Each member of the Dairy Advisory Council has been chosen for his or her expertise in a certain field and has been encouraged to challenge Ben & Jerry’s assumptions and approach.

The company which manufactures ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet sources most of the milk and cream form North American farmers.

Under the Caring Dairy program, it supports family farms in sustainable agricultural practices, high-quality animal care and dignified conditions for farm workers.