Communique


  • Tells the inside story of the thirty-year struggle of Ben & Jerry’s to remain true to its social mission, even after it was sold in 2000
  • Unfolds like a novel, with memorable characters, dramatic confrontations, reversals of fortune, humor, and pathos
  • Describes a clash of cultures—bottom-line corporate versus mission-driven independent—that will have wide resonance at a time when many entrepreneurs aspire to combine profit with purpose

For more than three decades, Ben & Jerry’s has been committed to an insanely ambitious three-part mission: not just making the world’s best ice cream but also supporting progressive causes and sharing its success with all stakeholders—employees, suppliers, distributors, customers, cows, everybody. Living up to these beliefs is fun when you’re doing it right, and it creates amazingly loyal customers, but it isn’t easy.

This is the first book to tell the full, inside story of the inspiring rise, tragic mistakes, devastating fall, determined recovery, and ongoing renewal of one of the most iconic mission-driven companies in the world. No previous book has focused so intently on the challenges presented by staying true to the mission as the business grew. No other book has explained how the company came to be sold to Unilever, one of the world’s biggest corporations. And none has described the unprecedented contract Ben & Jerry’s negotiated with Unilever to preserve the three-part mission or the complex working relationship that has allowed the company to pursue that mission on a much larger stage.

Brad Edmondson tells the story with a journalist’s eye for details, dramatic moments, and memorable characters. Among the dozens of key figures Edmondson interviewed, his most important source was Jeff Furman, who helped Ben and Jerry write their first business plan in 1978 and has stayed involved ever since, serving as chairman of the board since 2010. It’s a funny, sad, surprising, and ultimately hopeful story.