It has launched ‘The Dannon Pledge’, in which it promised to cut carbon emissions and improve soil and management through sustainable agriculture practices.
Launching July 2016
The first impact of these changes will be visible from July 2016, when the company will introduce more natural ingredients that do not contain genetically modified ingredients for its flagship brands Oikos, Danimals and Dannon.
These brands represent 50% of the company’s current volume.
Dannon also announced that for these brands, the feed of its farmers’ cows will be non-GMO, starting in 2017, and completing the transformation by the end of 2018. It says this a first for a leading non-organic yogurt maker.
It said it is working with feed suppliers and farmer partners to start planting non-GMO feed as soon as possible.
Dannon began to evolve its milk supply model in 2010 by working directly with the farms that provide its milk.
“We created a new way to work with dairy farmers to improve our shared sustainability priorities,” said Dannon president and CEO Mariano Lozano.
“Our ambition is to produce healthy food that is affordable, creates economic and social value and nurtures natural ecosystems through sustainable agriculture. Although our journey is independent from that of our organic sister companies, we have learned a lot from and are inspired by Stonyfield and Happy Family.”
Dannon said its key priorities in the area include greater transparency on its milk supply.
“We are already very far along in implementing animal welfare practices at our farmer partners’ operations via the Validus Certification system,” the pledge noted.
“We are confident that by July 2016, more than 90% of our direct milk supply will come from farms that are Validus Certified.”
Validus is an independent certification company that works with farmers and food companies to ensure food is produced using socially responsible on-farm production practices. Validus uses proprietary assessments and audits to certify products.
Sustainable agriculture and transparency
Dannon said it has already started work on the first phase of its commitment by encouraging practices such as rotating crops, managing fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide application in the production of feed for a portion of the cows providing the company’s milk supply.