On April 12, 2018, Danone North America announced it had achieved certification as the largest B Corp™ in the world. This achievement was announced one year after Danone expanded its health, environmental and social impact in the United States by bringing together its existing U.S. dairy business and WhiteWave Foods.
At its formation, Danone North America was also incorporated as a public benefit corporation, meaning the company is legally committed to balance shareholders’ financial interests with the social benefits it creates for people, their communities and the planet.
Why does it matter?
B Corp™ Certification means Danone North America is committed to meeting high standards of social and environmental impact, transparency and accountability, as rigorously Certified by B Lab®, a third-party non-profit. Being a B Corp™ demonstrates commitment to using business as a force for good.™
Not only did Danone North America achieve its ambition to become certified as a B Corp™ by 2020, but it did so nearly two years ahead of schedule, while integrating two companies and working to create sustainable value for shareholders and all stakeholders.
As approximately 20 percent of Danone’s global business, Danone North America’s B Corp™ Certification is an important leap forward in the company’s B Corp™ journey and larger “One Planet. One Health” vision.
How does it work?
B Corp™ Certification is more than a logo; it implies a core set of beliefs, vision and promise to redefine success in business.
To become certified and join the global movement of more than 2,500 B Corps™, companies must achieve a predetermined score on the B Impact Assessment and must re-certify every three years.
For Danone North America, completing the assessment required a cross-functional team of 150 people at Danone North America, who answered more than 1,500 questions from across the business.
Danone North America products have begun to include the B Corp™ logo on packaging and in some cases information to engage consumers with the B Corp™ mission and movement. In 2019, the B Corp™ logo will appear on packaging nationwide, including on Horizon Organic® milk, Silk® plant-based products and So Delicious® Dairy Free plant-based products.
How does this project create value?
B Corp™ Certification builds on many years of operating with people and planet in mind. It guides Danone North America in continuous improvement in how the company cares for employees and creates economic value in communities; and in making progress toward the environmental goals of fighting climate change, driving more sustainable ingredient sourcing, advancing packaging recyclability, reducing waste, conserving water and ensuring animal welfare.
In the spirit of the B Corp™ movement, Danone North America is already putting plans in place to serve as advisors and collaborators within Danone, to B Lab® and to other multinationals to share lessons learned and open the door for future B Corps™.
Photo credit: © Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Danone North America