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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Ben & Jerry’s

How ethical is Ben & Jerry’s?

Ben & Jerry’s is an Ice Cream brand which has a below-benchmark score on The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Ice Cream Ratings Table. Although Ben & Jerry’s has not yet met our ethical benchmark, we hope to see the brand make progress in the future.

We would have extra confidence in Ben & Jerry’s if it submitted itself to apply for Ethical Accreditation, whereby The Good Shopping Guide would make further detailed assessment and recommendations for ethical improvement.

Find out more about the ethical issues facing the Ice Cream sector and see how other brands score in our Ethical Ice Cream Ratings Table.

What does Ben & Jerry’s do?

Ben & Jerry’s is an ice cream brand which was started in 1978 in Vermont, US after its founders completed a $5 correspondence course in ice cream making. It is now owned by Unilever.

In which areas does Ben & Jerry’s perform poorly?

Despite Ben & Jerry’s progress, there is still room for improvement. Ben & Jerry’s was marked down under our criteria for Organic due to a lack of certification. It was also marked down for GMOs as its parent company, Unilever, believes that GM ingredients are safe to use. Unilever also states that it does use Animal Testing where required by law.

Find out more about how we rate by exploring our ethical criteria.

Past Criticisms of Ben & Jerry’s’ record

Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s parent company, has come under fire for failing to deliver on its promise to scale back its presence in Russia. Unilever has also been named as one of the companies sourcing palm oil from mills controlled by the Harita Group, who are responsible for the destruction of indigenous communities in Borneo.

Ben & Jerry’s has sued its parent company Unilever, to block the sale of its Israeli business to a local licensee, saying it was inconsistent with its values to sell its ice-cream in the occupied West Bank. The dispute highlights challenges facing consumer brands taking a stand on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which most countries consider illegal.

In which areas does Ben & Jerry’s score well for its ethics?

Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, has an Annual Report and Accounts 2022, which contains a wide range of environmental targets across different areas giving them a good score for Environmental Report.

Ben & Jerry’s scores well for Nuclear, Fossil Fuels and Armaments due to a lack of criticisms across these criteria. It also has certified Vegetarian and Vegan products.

How can Ben & Jerry’s improve its ethical rating?

The below-benchmark score that Ben & Jerry’s is awarded with on The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Ice Cream Ratings Table is the result of an evaluation of multiple ethical criteria.

To reach our minimum ethical benchmark and qualify for Ethical Accreditation, Ben & Jerry’s has some issues to resolve, including its lack of certification for Organic products. If it applies for Ethical Accreditation, The Good Shopping Guide will be able to give Ben & Jerry’s some guidance to improve on these areas.

Were you aware that your brand could benefit from Ethical Accreditation? Brands accredited by The Good Shopping Guide can display our Ethical Mark, showcasing to consumers that it is an ethical and sustainable brand.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to attain Ethical Accreditation, please contact us or complete a Free Initial Assessment form.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare


  • Vegetarian/Vegan Verified



  • Armaments


  • Political Donations



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


  • Public Record Criticisms+


= GSG Top Rating = GSG Middle Rating = GSG Bottom Rating