Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and Over a Dozen Human Rights Organizations Call on Ben & Jerry’s to Join “Milk with Dignity Program” to Eliminate Human Rights Abuses in the Company’s Supply Chain
In a letter directed to Ben & Jerry’s CEO, Jostein Solheim, human rights organizations called on Ben & Jerry’s to honor its 2015 commitment to join the “Milk with Dignity Program,” an innovative worker-led program developed to protect and promote workers’ human rights on dairy farms throughout Vermont. As part of the Program, Ben & Jerry's would agree to prioritize purchasing milk from farms that are in good standing with a rights-based code of conduct designed by and for workers.
The letter endorses the key components of the Milk with Dignity Program, including the role of workers in designing and monitoring the code of conduct, independent and continuous audits, and legally binding market consequences for farms that fail to make improvements. The letter emphasizes that by joining the Program, Ben & Jerry’s would establish itself as an industry leader, and take an important step toward fulfilling its commitment to protect workers’ basic dignity and human rights.
In addition to the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic, signatories include the ACLU, Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and many others. The full text of the letter is available here.
Students Joanne Kim '17, Maria Emilia Mamberti LL.M. '17, and Carina De La Paz '18 contributed to the drafting of the letter.
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The Human Rights Clinic is an intensive year long course directed by Sarah Knuckey, the Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein Clinical Associate Professor of Human Rights and the faculty co-director of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School, as well as by Senior Clinical Teaching Fellow Benjamin Hoffman, with additional supervision by JoAnn Kamuf Ward, Director of the Human Rights in the U.S. Project of the Human Rights Institute. The Clinic brings together human rights work, student education, critical reflection, and scholarly research. Students are trained to be strategic human rights advocates, while pursuing social justice in partnership with civil society and communities, and advancing human rights methodologies and scholarship. For more information, visit http://web.law.columbia.edu/clinics/human-rights-clinic.
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