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09 September, 2008

From Entrepreneu to Ecopreneur

Two Americans, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founded Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company in 1978 on an investment $8,000. Today it is a multi-million dollar business which does more than selling ice cream: it promotes political and environmental activism.

Ben Cohen tells the story of how they turned into ecopreneurs. The only way that business measures success is by profit. We said, “If the problem is in how we measure success, why don’t we just change the way we measure our success?” So, we redefined the bottom line. We called all our employees together and said, “From now on, the bottom line at Ben and Jerry’s is in two parts: How much have we improved the quality of life in the community? And how much profit is left over at the end of each month. If we haven’t contributed to both those objectives, we have failed.”

Cohen thinks there is a lesson in their story for their country. “Our country, the last remaining superpower in the world, needs to learn to measure strength not by how many we can kill, but by how many we can feed, clothe, house and care for.”

See New America Media commentary “On becoming an Ecopreneur

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