These past few weeks, Danone has received good news about its performance in terms of sustainability. Like many other companies, the group strives everyday to make its social responsibility a lever of growth and development. But obtaining recognition from the outside, from independent and reliable organisms, is absolutely crucial: it shows the world, the investors, the stakeholders, the consumers exactly how committed and efficient the company is when it comes to sustainability. And it helps the group identify its strengths and weaknesses, to keep improving. This is why we are happy, on down to Earth, to announce that Danone was notably assessed by three different indexes this year – and that it did quite well.
The Dow Jones Sustainability Index
The Sustainability Yearbook celebrates this year its 10th anniversary; ten years of exposing the results of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). Elaborated in partnership between RobecoSAM (one of the world’s most prominent Sustainability Investment groups) and KPMG (a global network of professional firms providing audit services), this index offers each year a global sustainability benchmark between the “world’s leading companies in terms of economic, environmental and social criteria”; it is “one of the leading reference guides to the world’s sustainability leaders.” Danone has been appearing in the DJSI since its start, and this year the group achieved a score of 83/100, two points up from 2011, and received a Silver Class Distinction. This result places it among the agrifood sector’s top companies, and highlights its performance in five of the criteria: Innovation, Supply Chain, Environment, Packaging and Human Resources. The group has announced to be very happy with this result, especially since the standard required by the DJSI continues to rise. For instance, the index is now enlarging its assessment to the supply chain management, for
Today, corporate sustainability means that companies must look beyond their own operations to understand the full economic, environmental and social impact of their business activities,
wrote Michael Baldinger (Chief Executive Officer of RobecoSAM) and Yvo de Boer (KPMG’s Special Global Advisor for Climate Change and Sustainability) in the foreword of the Yearbook. This focus on its upstream is a priority for Danone, and the group will keep working to make both its direct and indirect impacts as virtuous as possible.
The Global 100: “World Leaders in Clean Capitalism”
This annual project, initiated in 2005 by Corporate Knights Inc. (a Toronto-based media, research and investment research company), is “the most extensive data-driven corporate sustainability assessment in existence.” Its methodology has recently been cited as a leading global practice by SustainAbility, an organism that rates the sustainability raters.
Each year, during the World Economic Forum in Davos, the “Global 100” are disclosed: they are the top 100 large-cap companies in the world with the best “clean capitalism performance”. In the 2013 ranking, Danone makes it 75th: it is the best performance in the Food & Beverage sector.
The group is very pleased to appear in this ranking, whose goal is “to reinforce, raise awareness and highlight the global firms most willing and able to deal with the key social and environmental factors they face in their everyday operations.” The “Global 100” rating has the ambition to mainstream sustainability in the business community, and show that profit can go really well with “honouring the social contract.” This idea has been at the heart of Danone’s identity for forty years now, with the dual economical and social project that was defined by its then CEO, Antoine Riboud, in 1972.
Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD)
In its efforts to improve its social and environmental impacts, Danone is focusing more and more on what happens upstream of it. The group has thus recently defined a Forest Policy that aims at eliminating deforestation from its supply chain, as well as supporting reforestation programmes.
For the first time this year, and as part of this commitment, Danone has provided figures and reports to the Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD), whose “ultimate purpose” is to “reduce rampant deforestation”,
says its Chairman, Andrew Michell. This annual rating assesses the world’s largest companies’ impacts on forests, based on their use of five commodities: soy, palm oil, timber & pulp, cattle products and biofuels. Danone completed the disclosure request and gave intel on all five commodities. We do not have more detailed results to announce, but you can have a peek at the rating here. To be continued.
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