The mission of the Danone Ecosystem Fund to serve people who work in and around Danone every day has been recognised by the business-led charity Business In The Community (BITC) as having a powerful impact on society and the environment.
Each year, BITC gives out Responsible Business Awards to companies which commit to innovation, creativity and sustainability in society. The Unilever International Award, supported by the Business Fights Poverty community, is one of them. It recognises businesses that can demonstrate positive impacts on one or more of the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals, such as the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, the promotion of environmental sustainability or the global partnership for development. From that perspective, the Danone Ecosystem Fund has been “ticked” by BITC forits inclusive business model.
A model of inclusive business
Since its creation in 2009, the Ecosystem Fund has sought to develop and strengthen Danone’s ecosystem while creating social and economic value for its localpartners. It aims to associate its stakeholders with the evolution of the company, while improving their skills and living conditions. As Danone CEO Frank Riboud puts it, “a company’s raison d’être is its social usefulness.” This vision has been acknowledged by the BITC which has chosen to highlight the positive social and business impacts of the Danone Ecosystem Fund.
The Big Tick focused on three of the fund’s projects: the Milk Collection Communities project in Egypt (which helps improve the situation of small-holding milk producers), the Kiteiras project in Brazil (which empowers women through a micro-distribution network) and the Pepenadores project in Mexico (which helps structure the recycling industry and improves waste pickers’ working conditions). All three initiatives match one or more of the Millennium Development Goals, and have proven their efficiency. The Big Tick also emphasized the capacity of the Danone Ecosystem Fund to develop close relationships with different types of partners, including Not For Profit organisations all over the world. This co-creation approach contributes to theprogrammes’s robustness and sustainability, as well astransforming business practices.
Photo © Rolando