The company has set goals, including a 50% reduction in carbon intensity between 2015 and 2030, elimination of deforestation impacts from the company’s supply chain by 2020 and developing “carbon positive” initiatives to capture carbon in natural ecosystems.
Vincent Crasnier, nature director at Danone, told DairyReporter that the company reduced its carbon footprint 42% between 2007 and 2014. The company’s quest to become more sustainable and cut carbon has been a “journey” since 2000, he said.
“We’ve crafted this new plan in the policy, identifying what were the continuing challenges, as well as systemic challenges, the company was facing as a business,” Crasnier said. “The challenges around climate, we feel, are systemic challenges to us and the world. We want to look to the future by tackling that challenge.”
Agriculture, which represents 65% of total emissions, will be the major focus of this initiative.
Working with the company’s ecosystem
While Crasnier is confident the company will be able to meet its goals, he emphasized the importance of working with Danone’s ecosystem, made up of suppliers, farmers, communities near the company’s locations and any other stakeholders.
Thus far, he said there has been an extremely positive response. Crasnier spoke specifically of farmers, saying that the initial feedback has been inspiring many to collaborate and find solutions for environmental issues.
“It can be about working on farming practices; it’s as simple as that,” he said. “We believe this will be a positive way to engage … We’ve heard farming communities over last few weeks and months have been really making some pretty big commitments and progress in terms of climate issues. It is definitely a challenge they are facing and ready to take on.”
Consumers play ‘significant role’
Consumers will play a “significant role” in this climate plan, Crasnier said, as packaging is an essential part of the company’s plan and is a joint behavior to have the company manufacture recyclable material that consumers then recycle.
The plan also offers sustainable diet solutions, something he said Danone will need to engage with consumers on from the start.
“We also need to tell the product’s story; how is it being produced, where the raw materials coming from, how are they produced,” Crasnier said.
Spending money to save emissions
While Crasnier was uncertain what kind of investment the company would make to reach zero-net carbon emissions he said money will be necessary to ensure the plan succeeds.
“It’s about really efficiency,” he said. “It’s about being leaner and more efficient to do what we do. Yes, there is a correlation between carbon reduction and money for many dimesons. Having said that, if we really want to crack this ambition that we set, it will definitely require investment.”
“I think the equation we need to tackle is investing for the long run with payback in terms of carbon and money in the long-term that will deliver positive results while at the same time.”