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)