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Danone dares to dream of regenerative dairy

Richard Martyn- Hemphill

September 9, 2020

Danone has been crafting pledge after pledge on sustainability, urging its rival big food conglomerates to follow suit. Recently recognized for its work reducing deforestation, the French multinational last year launched a coalition to look into the widespread adoption of regenerative agriculture practices in the dairy sector.

With net global sales standing at $14.3 billion in H1 2020, executives at Danone are often proud to point out that over 30% of the company’s global sales are now covered by B Corp certification, a marker of sustainability credentials – and one that the company not wants its peers to adopt while it tries to reach 100% certification itself.

To get there, Danone has been pursuing a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and closer to the present, has outlined some lofty ‘2030 Goals‘ that dip daringly into rebellious rhetoric.

“A food revolution is happening,” the company declares in a statement outlining these goals, “and we choose to serve it.”

One way to check in on the viability of these sorts of promises is to shadow the work of one of the company’s top revolutionaries – Cees Jan Hollander, who is Danone’s global farming expertise manager. His task is to help drag these high-flown pledges into reality through dozens of innovative projects with farmers, startups, and other stakeholders.


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