Danone: funding social change around the world

Summary

In the frame of The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards, Danone Ecosystem Fund was listed among the best practices for the “Social Impact” category. Below is an extract of the article published on their website!

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Ukrainian milk farmers

– One of Danone’s key projects is helping Ukrainian milk farmers increase their economic power. Photograph: Danone –

Danone, the French food group, has created a new way to achieve lasting social change within the communities it works in around the world.

The Danone Ecosystem Fund was established in 2009 with a €100m (£62.7m) capital endowment from the company. This is in addition to a commitment to donate a further 1% of its total consolidated underlying net income each year for five years.

The fund aims to make an impact in three main areas – employment, skills and employability, and entrepreneurship. So far, 39 projects, identified by subsidiaries, have been selected, each tied to an area of key importance to the business – responsible sourcing, distribution, recycling, the territories Danone operates in and the caring services.

For example, one project is helping Ukrainian milk farmers – a third of whom live below the poverty line – increase their economic power by forming 24 co-operatives, involving 2,300 farmers.

The co-op approach is also being used in Indonesia to support 500 waste-pickers who live on less than $2.50 (£1.59) a day, while another project is seeking to train and create jobs for single mothers in north eastern Brazil and to promote better nutrition.

Strong governance, a “hybrid” approach to working with non-profit organisations and rigorous impact measurement are all helping to ensure that the Fund meets its goal to achieve powerful social change.

(Photo from: http://danone11.danone.com)

Read the full story on the Guardian Sustainable Business