Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Ben & Jerry’s Takes First Steps Toward Diesel-free Ice Cream with Electric Yard Trucks

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To see the article as it appeared in print, please go to Ben & Jerry’s Takes First Steps Toward Diesel-free Ice Cream with Electtric Yard Trucks.

Michael J. Daley

Everyone knows Ben & Jerry’s premium ice cream is rich and dense, but did you realize besides the extra pounds you risk putting on, that pint also fattens up the atmosphere with another 3.3 pounds of carbon dioxide?

As part of the company’s efforts to reduce each pint’s footprint, two new electric trucks went to work in their St. Albans and Waterbury, Vermont facilities this October. Known as yard trucks, the electric vehicles will move box trailers filled with product to and from the loading dock and within the factory warehouse yard. They will eliminate 90 tons of carbon emissions and 9,000 gallons in diesel fuel per year, as well as four tons of nitrogen oxides and 500 pounds of fine particulates per year – pollutants that worsen asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Speaking to media at the recent launch celebration, Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s, said “It’s going to be a big change in helping us with our environmental and sustainability issue. I think everybody realizes that all companies, but especially manufacturing companies, have a big environmental footprint. We have a responsibility to do as much as we can, and we’re committed to doing that.”

As we have come to expect, that’s not just PR talk from this company. They plan to be 100% renewable powered by 2025. They impose a self-collected carbon tax that nets $1.7 million each year dedicated to internal climate initiatives. For example, a pilot project with three of its farm suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint of milk production by 50%. Anyone interested can track all its goals and progress by reading the annual Social and Environmental Assessment Report compiled by an independent evaluator and posted on the Ben & Jerry’s website.

They don’t achieve this alone but by working with partners, in this case the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Green Mountain Power (GMP).

We’re thrilled to work with the state to find more ways for our business and partners to adopt new technology that improves ways of working, public health, and Vermont’s overall environment,” said Jenna Evans, Ben & Jerry’s global sustainability manager.

DEC provided over $135,000 to help Ben & Jerry’s purchase the two new electric vehicles tapping the Vermont Diesel Emissions Reduction Financial Assistance Program, which provides technical assistance and incentive funding for projects that reduce diesel emissions from engines, vehicles, and equipment. This award marks the first non-road vehicle electrification project funded by DEC through the program.

In the last round of funding, awards also went to the Town of Poultney, Bourne’s Energy (https://bournesenergy.com/), and Leader Distributions Systems, Inc. DEC expects to open a new round of applications this fall. Contact Leigh Martin at Leigh.Martin@vermont.gov to receive updates.

GMP provided an additional $26,000 towards both electric vehicles and their charging equipment through its Business Innovation program which helps organizations save with custom incentives when they switch from fossil fuel for their operations.

Ben & Jerry’s said the next step is to begin the switch to electric trucks for long distance shipping. Maybe when that happens, they will celebrate their achievement with a new flavor…Diesel Sludge, anyone?

Michael J Daley for some twenty years taught renewable energy on the Great New England Energy Show Van of the New England Coalition which featured the first ever solar-powered ice cream freezer funded by Ben & Jerry’s.

Sources

GMP Business Innovation program
https://greenmountainpower.com/rebates-programs/business-innovation/

Ben & Jerry’s SEAR
Ben & Jerry’s 2021 SEAR Report (benjerry.com)
https://www.benjerry.com/files/live/sites/us/files/about-us/sear-report/2021/2021-SEAR-Report.pdf

DEC Diesel Emmissions Reduction Assistance Program
Diesel Emissions Reduction Assistance | Department of Environmental Conservation (vermont.gov)
https://dec.vermont.gov/air-quality/mobile-sources/diesel-emissions/vt-diesel-grant

Caption

Orange EV yard trucks are used by Ben and Jerry’s for loading product. This will eliminate 90 tons of carbon emissions and 9,000 gallons in diesel fuel per year. (Orange EV).

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