Corporate Responsibility for Healthful Food

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Danone.GrameenDanone is a company who definitely puts their money where their mouths are. They are a French food-products multinational corporation which claims world leadership and stewardship in fresh dairy products. Here, in America, you may know them better as Dannon – as in Dannon yogurt. In addition to its quality dairy products, the Groupe Danone also provides several internationally known brands of bottled water: Evian, Volvic, and Badoit. Previously, about 56% of its net sales was derived from dairy and 28% from beverages. The remaining 16% was from biscuit and cereal sales – this business division was sold to Kraft Foods in 2007.

In 1972, Antoine Riboud, founder of Groupe Danone said: “Corporate responsibility does not end at the factory gate or office doors. The jobs a business creates are central to the lives of employees and the energy and raw materials we consume change the shape of our planet. Public opinion is there to remind us of our responsibility in the industrial world of today.” The Danone model of doing business relies on the guiding principle that economic performance and attention to people goes hand in hand.

Part of the Danone vision is preserving the ecosystems of Planet Earth and protecting the planet. Protecting nature and solid stewardship of earth’s natural beauty is part and parcel of its mission to provide healthy food products to as many people as possible.

Over the years, Danone has defined its policies and principles in publications such as: Business Conduct Policies, Charter for the Environment, Fundamental Social Principles, Food Nutrition and Health Charter and the Danone Groundwater Resources Protection Policy. These pivotal texts guide Danone’s worldwide management practices.

By following sustainability principles and practicing sustainable development in a business model, Danone has also crafted a strong, competitive advantage. This competitive edge allows Danone to:

  • Build Consumer Trust – Backed by a steady flow of investment in product safety, respect for environmental standards, and concern for society as a whole.
  • Attract Top Talent – Having a business with a strong culture and value attracts talent and once on board, there is internal cohesion through Danone’s management practices which favor individual progress.
  • Mutually Beneficial Ties – Strong, healthy ties are formed to strategic customers and suppliers.

The Grameen Danone Foods is to reduce poverty by bringing health through food to children by using a community-based business model. The Grameen Danone Foods is the charitable foundation which is directly subsidized by the business. This joint venture launched in March of 2006 is a business – meaning it must turn a profit – but its priorities are about giving; not selling.

The Grameen Danone Foods endeavor places social and environmental concerns at the heart of its business model. Although the company must turn a profit – profits from its first plants are required to finance the construction of new plants – the success of the project will be judged on non-financial criteria. Some of the criteria is: the number of indirect and direct jobs created (small dairy wholesalers, door to door sellers, milk producers), environmental stewardship, and improvements to children’s health.

To learn how to contribute to or become part of the Grameen Danone Foods project, go here:


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