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May 20, 2020

Danone sets out stall to become better corporate citizen

French dairy giant Danone has outlined plans to enshrine social and environmental goals in its articles of association.

By Leonie Barrie

French dairy giant Danone has outlined plans to add social and environmental goals to its articles of association.

The Activia and Alpro brands owner said this morning (20 May) that it plans to include goals such as providing healthy food and preserving the planet’s resources in its by-laws and revealed that a Mission Committee, verified by an independent third party, will audit progress and report to shareholders at the annual general meeting every year.

The company said the Committee will challenge Danone’s “roadmap and progress particularly on subjects such as health & nutrition, water, agriculture, biodiversity, packaging, social innovation, people and social matters”.

Danone said it intends to become an ‘entreprise à mission’ company in France. Introduced in 2019 by the French government, this is defined as a company whose purpose, and whose objectives in the social, societal and environmental fields aligned with this purpose, are set out in its articles of association.

The company said: “The relevance of this new status reaches far beyond the confines of France because it legally enshrines, at the heart of the company, Danone’s purpose, which is applied globally. 

“Its purpose is consistent with Danone’s mission defined in 2005 to ‘bring health through food to as many people as possible’. Its social, societal and environmental objectives are consistent with the “OnePlanet, One Health” frame of action and the nine integrated strategic goals set out in 2018, aligned with the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, embedding the business, brand and trust models of the company to drive long-term sustainable value creation.”

Danone suggested this step is consistent with its ambition to become a certified B Corporation, where a certification is provided that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance and evaluates how operations, business model and governance impact workers, the community, environment, and customers.

To date, 20 subsidiaries of Danone have become B Corp certified and more than one third of Danone’s global business is already covered by B Corp certification. An additional 15 subsidiaries are in the process of certification for 2020.

The plan announced today will be voted on at Danone’s annual general meeting on 26 June. 

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