SINGAPORE: Ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s has partnered with local activists to help Singapore tackle climate change in an initiative that also helped to enhance its brand purpose.

“It’s not an afterthought. It is a long-term commitment to use our business to drive positive change in the world,” said Kalli Swaik, Senior Marketing and Social Mission Manager at Ben & Jerry’s Asia and New Markets.

Speaking at the recent LEAD Conference in Singapore, she discussed the importance of social purpose to the brand and how Ben & Jerry’s had joined forces with environmental campaigners to encourage people to cut back on their dependency on air-conditioning.

Largely because of its year-round need for air-conditioning, Singapore emits more carbon dioxide per capita than China, and this prompted Ben & Jerry’s to partner with non-profit Up2degrees in a campaign to deal with the problem.

Singaporeans were urged to increase the temperature of their air-conditioning units by two degrees, following evidence that this would lead to a 34% decrease in electricity usage. (For more, read WARC’s new report: Ben & Jerry’s chases brand purpose in Singapore.)

Swaik observed that brands have the ability to connect people on a scale that not even governments or religions can. “The opportunity is for us to not only change the world, but to also create stronger bonds with our consumers while we do so,” she said.

She also recognised that brands can contribute to society while still turning a profit, although she emphasised the need for authenticity when it comes to brand purpose because consumers are able to “see through CSR”.

“We need to make sure that we are doing the hard work internally first before we pick an issue out of the sky and decide to champion it with ourselves and our products,” Swaik explained.

“This is not about CSR and not about writing cheques” she added. “This is activism. This is using our business to support policies that address root causes of injustice and create structural change.”

Sourced from WARC