The middle ground between non-profits and for-profits

Thanks to Ben & Jerry’s, we have a new corporate form

Who would have thought that an ice cream flavor called Imagine Whirled Peace would become a symbol of a major shift in American corporate law?

When the iconic Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company was acquired in 2000 by Unilever, its co-founder Ben Cohen called it a “forced marriage.” Despite his and Jerry’s opposition to the deal, the company board melted in the face of a shareholder lawsuit demanding the sale go through. The fear about Unilever was that a purely profit-driven parent would not continue to support the company’s social activism, its hefty donations to charity, the premiums it paid to environment-friendly dairy farmers and its other not strictly for-profit investments in its employees and community.


Bruce D. Collins

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