As a businessman and longtime CEO of Ben & Jerry's, which, incidentally, is the best job in the world, you'd think I love working with numbers. Honestly though, I prefer a face to face conversation with any of the employees of Ben & Jerry's before flipping through a spreadsheet. It was a conversation with my son what really made me think about climate change. He said he was concerned that my generation was spoiling things and when his generation grew the world no one could rescue. This is the worst legacy you can leave, so that conversation was one of the main reasons I started working at Ben & Jerry's.
But when I got an email from my colleague Bill McKibben Vermont, sharing what he called one of the most important books I've ever written, were the figures that really inspired me. In his article in Rolling Stone "New Math terrifying global warming," McKibben highlights three figures that reveal the depth of the climate crisis in which we and the major changes that we carry out:
- 2º Celsius - This is the official baseline for the planet. We must prevent the atmosphere of the Earth to warm more than 2 ° Celsius or we'll get in trouble.
- 565 gigatons - This is our budget. Scientists say that to keep warming below the first digit, 2nd, we can not issue more than 565 gigatons of CO2 to the atmosphere for the rest of this century. As we now end up with that budget in just 14 years.
- 2,795 gigatons - This is the most frightening of all figures. This is the amount of CO2 that has the coal, oil and natural gas reserves in the industry of the known fossil fuels - five times more than they can burn safely for the rest of the century. But it is clear that the fossil fuel industry intends to burn everything.
As a company, we look long and hard these figures. We realized that if we do not act on climate change at this time, it will not be a future for any matter in which we are involved. It is a difficult time, since we are already seeing the effects that climate change is having on the poor and disadvantaged - they are the people who will have to migrate away from their homes and fields to support the weight of rising temperatures. This is the idea behind climate justice as the focus area.
We need the rest of the world get this right. And this is where I get excited. For all the negative aspects of climate change, to get ourselves out of this mess means rethink almost everything we do. It is a time so full of opportunities that can not wait to go to work. For our part, we have just completed a life cycle analysis (LCA) of twenty flavors, an in depth look of all the environmental impacts of our ice cream cow, packaging and every ingredient in the process. We will use this information to guide us towards the best possible options to cut our environmental impact. In you can read more about our ACV as well as the innovative solutions we use to reduce our carbon footprint, including the plan in collaboration with our parent company Unilever for the transition to use 100% clean energy 2020. Everywhere you look, technologies, processes and innovations that will solve climate change are solutions that everyone wins, they also have the potential to create economic and social benefits. We are committed to reinventing our business model and working with our partners, from dairy farms to those charged brownie, to achieve this goal.
Ultimately, the reductions we make in our own business are not enough: we know that our greatest asset to achieve change lies with you, our fans. We need a comprehensive and diverse movement of citizens calling on world leaders to act. As we saw in March Climate People held in New York last September, when ordinary people demanding change, defends and acts for him, can really make a difference.
Where we need to focus our influence is en route to Paris. In December, world leaders will meet in Paris to try to ensure the achievement of this mathematical law. We must build a relentless pressure on our political leaders to do something they have not been willing to do so far: lead.
In 2015 we will launch the first campaign of global activism Ben & Jerry's. We encourage our fans more than 35 nations around the world to take action and ensure that the Paris talks end successfully with a plan for real and urgent action on climate change. Of course along the way we will have fun, but we are very serious about solving the climate crisis. We need you - you and millions more - to join this movement. To read more about the policies that we believe are essential to get the right mathematical click here: www.benjerry.com/climate
In the words of our founder, Ben Cohen, "If it has melted, it has been ruined." As applicable to our world like a boat my favorite flavor, Chunky Monkey.
Peace, love and ice cream,