Danone’s Climate policy: spotlight on the Danone Ecosystem Fund’s contribution to the zero carbon goal
With 62 projects developed to date in 28 countries, the Fund fosters a co-creative approach between local Danone subsidiaries, NGOs, academic partners, local authorities and small local economic players.
The issue central to the Climate Conference held in Paris and Le Bourget at the end of this year is to curb the deterioration of our environment and thus prevent harm to mankind. Although it is clear that many organizations, NGOs and citizens’ groups are already working to meet this challenge, the private sector is often blamed for its reluctance to adopt long-term restrictive environmental measures in a system strongly motivated by short-term profit. But this attitude is slowly changing, as shows Danone’s hands-on approach to business transformation through its Ecosystem Fund.
With 62 projects developed to date in 28 countries, the Fund fosters a co-creative approach between local Danone subsidiaries, NGOs, academic partners, local authorities and small local economic players. These projects are designed to develop a more inclusive economy in the field, and create conditions for sustainable development and the establishment of green practices in part of the project portfolio. The Danone Ecosystem Fund thus contributes to the Danone’s Zero Carbon Climate policy by developing ever-more sustainable agriculture, protecting water resources and introducing a recycling system for plastic.
Support for sustainable agriculture: promoting good practices to reduce the carbon impact of milk production
The Wings project in Belgium is designed to optimize manure management, thus helping to reduce its ecological footprint. Inadequate management of the effluent concentration produced by livestock farming results in the infiltration of nitrates and pollution of the groundwater. This project advises and supports farmers while developing systems and solutions for managing manure as efficiently as possible. In the longer term, this project will produce a clearer picture of manure management issues and contribute to the transformation of farming practices in Europe.
The Fund is tackling the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in terms of shared responsibility, mainly as regards upstream agricultural activities, which represent 65% of Danone’s carbon emissions as a whole.
Meanwhile, other projects are focusing on fodder, as with the Milky Way project in Tunisia and the H’lib Dzair project in Algeria. Through these projects, the Danone Ecosystem Fund fosters good practices in the use of fodder, particularly by relocating production and encouraging independence in terms of protein supplies. The right feed can reduce cattle’s methane emissions by 30%.
All the Fund’s milk supply-related projects aim to increase farms’ productivity, thus reducing the quantity of CO2/per liter of milk produced. In addressing these questions, the Fund is tackling the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in terms of shared responsibility, mainly as regards upstream agricultural activities, which represent 65% of Danone’s carbon emissions as a whole.
The Terragr’Eau methane digester: reconciling local farming development and the protection of water resources
This methane digester protects the natural mineral water springs while ensuring the sustainable development of agriculture.
Terragr’eau, a methanization site located not far from Lake Geneva and Evian’s natural mineral water springs, is the result of a long collaboration between some 40 farmers, 16 town councils and the Société des Eaux d’Evian (Danone group). This methane digester protects the natural mineral water springs while ensuring the sustainable development of agriculture.
This project backed by the Danone Ecosystem Fund is designed to « control the fertilizer methods used for farmland on the Evian mineral water impluvium (infiltration zone) in order to preserve the water’s purity, » says Danone Terragr’eau project manager Julie Viglione. « The idea is to collect livestock effluent and treat it through methanization, then spread the natural fertilizer produced by the process over the crop land. » This means that farmers no longer need to stock livestock effluent throughout the winter period, and field fertilization is managed collectively, pooling equipment and staff. This responsible management of agricultural waste protects the 35 km² impluvium by preventing nitrates from infiltrating the water that supplies the Evian spring.
So in the long run, 40,000 metric tons of waste will be transformed each year, producing 1.9 million m³ of biogas – the equivalent of the annual heating consumption of 1,200 inhabitants.
Recycling projects: contributing to the management of packaging end-of-life disposal and supplying subsidiaries with recycled plastic
Brazil’s Novo Ciclo project and Argentina’s Cartoneros project are excellent examples of how to achieve this goal. The Danone Ecosystem Fund contributes to solutions for sorting packaging in these countries in relation to ragmen, unofficial workers with extremely precarious living and working conditions.
Novo Ciclo and Cartoneros aim to professionalize the activity of waste collectors (or ragmen) by creating sorting centers and setting up cooperatives and logistical chains, in order to increase the quantity of plastic collected, and recycle packaging more efficiently, through a circular, inclusive economy model that raises the incomes of ragmen and their families. The local Danone subsidiaries involved in the project are thus helping to set up packaging recovery systems, some of which are used to supply the group’s subsidiaries. At present, 8% of the recycled plastic used by Danone subsidiaries is collected through an Ecosystem project.
Novo Ciclo and Cartoneros aim to professionalize the activity of waste pickers by creating sorting centers and setting up cooperatives and logistical chains, in order to increase the quantity of plastic collected, and recycle packaging more efficiently, through a circular, inclusive economy model […]
So there are two advantages for local Danone subsidiaries: they coordinate the management of the waste they introduce indirectly into the market, and then supply themselves with recycled plastic. Between 2012 and 2015, the Novo Ciclo project increased the quantity of plastic collected (in metric tons of waste) by 58% in cities where the project has been introduced.
Through a part of its project portfolio, the Danone Ecosystem Fund thus helps to underpin the sustainability of Danone’s water, milk and plastic cycles through solutions that are innovative from both the social and environmental point of view.
To find out more about the Ecosystem Fund projects: http://ecosysteme.danone.com/