Ben & Jerry’s parent company has one month to reverse policy or deal with economic consequences


TALLAHASSEE – Time is running out for the parent company of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

The state gave Unilever until Oct. 26 to quash Ben and Jerry’s plans to stop selling in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank.

If the policy is not reversed, the business faces economic consequences.

On July 19, Ben and Jerry’s announced that it would no longer sell its ice cream in the West Bank after the year 2022, stating: “We believe that it is incompatible with our values ​​that our product is present in the context of an occupation. internationally recognized illegal.

“I haven’t seen any meaningful response from Unilever. Period, ”said Ash Williams, executive director of the Florida State Board of Trustees, at a cabinet meeting in September.

At the meeting, the cabinet gave the green light for the state to divest itself of all shares in Unilever if the company does not reverse its West Bank policy within 90 days.

“It’s a small part of our overall portfolio, as you can imagine,” said Williams.

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These investments now total approximately $ 139 million.

“If 90 days have elapsed from the notice given to them, we are prohibited by law from making any additional investments in the securities of this company, so that is exactly what we will do,” said Williams.

The state will not just sell its shares in Unilever.

After the 90 day period has elapsed, no government agency in Florida can purchase its products.

“I guess there are probably quite a few public institutions that buy these products. I don’t think they will be after October 26 unless Unilever takes action on this issue, ”said Williams.

In 2019, the state placed AirBNB on the list under review after saying it would refuse to offer ads in the West Bank.

The company gave in a few days before the sanctions were applied.

In a statement, Unilever said that while it would not sell Ben and Jerry’s in the occupied area, it would remain in Israel, where it employs 2,000 people in four factories.

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