Danone becomes Australia and New Zealand’s largest B Corp

Global food and drink company Danone has become the largest B Corp certified food and drink company across Australia and New Zealand.

Danone joins over 400 business in the region to achieve the certification and plans for all its businesses entities globally to be B Corp certified by 2025.

Scott Pettet, Head of Corporate Affairs at Danone, told C&I that the B Corp certification is a validation of the way Danone has been running its business for a long time.

“Danone has a very long history of doing business in a particular way and in a way that balances the requirement to delivery economic returns but also with a social contribution. Danone started talking about the obligations of a corporation to the broader society way back in the 70s, which at the time was very unique.”

Pettet said that what B Corp is trying to do, which is enable and empower businesses to be a force of good, is what Danone has been doing for 50 years now, so the alignment between the two is perfect.

“We know that increasingly, employees, customers, consumers, and broader society expect a much stronger stance from businesses and brands on important social and environmental issues.”

The extensive process involved on achieving B Corp Certification includes B Lab examining a business and identifying that it is demonstrating a verifiable positive impact through policies and practices for employees, communities, customers, and the environment.

“It’s extremely rigorous and that requires a considerable commitment, on behalf of a business, to pursue the process. And the way that it works effectively is that a business has to complete what they call an impact assessment which looks at a broad range of criteria across key areas.

“Based on those commitments around employees, community, environment, customers, and what kind of governance you have wrapped around all of that, B Lab makes sure it’s being applied in a detailed and rigorous way.”

Amongst some of the initiatives Danone are currently implementing is a literacy program in New Zealand, where a large portion of the population has Pacific Island background and English is a second language.

“Some years ago, we implemented English literacy programs, not only for employees, but also for their family members as well. That had a huge impact on some of those people and their families and the feedback and testimonies that we get around the impact that that’s had on people’s lives is quite moving.

“Similarly, we rolled out a program last year after recognising that we had some financial literacy issues with some of our population of employees. So, we implemented some financial literacy training programs, to educate and upskill some of our employees about how to manage their finances, how to set up bank accounts, how to manage their insurance policies, all those sorts of things.”

Bart Houlahan, Co-founder and Co-CEO of B Lab Global, said he is excited to see Danone Oceania joining the over 4,700 Certified B Corporations worldwide.

“Globally the Danone group has been a partner with us for many years, using its profile to add credibility and accelerate the growth of this movement. The success at Danone Oceania is part of this story, and I look forward to continuing to work with Danone globally as we work to create an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy.”

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