The socially conscious ice cream company founders say Unilever violated a 2000 agreement by selling its business to a local licensee.
Founders of Ben & Jerry’s said Sunday that the parent company of popular ice cream maker Unilever violated a merger between the two companies, after it sold its business in Israel to a local licensee, avoiding restrictions on the sale of socially conscious ice cream company products in the Occupied West. Bank.
“That agreement empowered the social mission of Ben & Jerry’s independent board. Unilever has usurped their power and reversed the decision that has been made and we cannot allow that to happen, we cannot sit idly by,” Ben Cohen said in a televised interview. American media channel MSNBC.
Cohen’s business partner, Jerry Greenfield, said the 2000 agreement was legally binding and should be adhered to.
In contrast, Unilever says it retains the right to make operating decisions for Ben & Jerry’s and that the purchase cannot be undone as it has been irrevocably closed.
Ben & Jerry’s Independent Board of Directors is suing Unilever for breach of the merger agreement Jerry and I negotiated in 2000. We are engaged. @mehdirhasan above @MSNBC tonight to talk about what is at stake for the company and the future of socially responsible business at 8:30p
– Ben Cohen (@YoBenCohen) September 18, 2022
Earlier this month, Ben & Jerry’s said it plans to amend its lawsuit challenging Unilever to sell its Israeli business in a federal court in New York. Unilever must respond by November 1.
In July 2021, the Burlington, Vermont, US-based company announced it would be ending sales in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, calling it “inconsistent” with the prices. progressive values and social mission that the company still has the right to promote.
“The company’s decision not to sell ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territories is in line with the values the company has held throughout history – fighting for human rights and dignity,” Greenfield said.
However, that move sparked a backlash against Unilever, including the divestment of pension funds from the consumer goods company and accusations of anti-Semitism by some Jewish groups.
The episode highlighted the challenges facing consumer brands that have advocated for progressive causes and tried to also stand by Israel’s takeover of Palestinian land, such as San Francisco-based Airbnb, in 2016. 2019 reverse its decision delete Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which is illegal under international law.
International boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement seeks to end international support for Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, while advocating freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians, and for Israel to comply with international law.