- Danone is pledging to reach net zero carbon emissions for several of its water brands in the coming years, including Evian by 2020, Lanjarón and Volvic by 2025 and Font Vella by 2030, according to a release.
- Three of Danone's subsidiaries — Aguas Danone Spain, Danone Waters Germany and Danone Waters of America — also signed the B Lab pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2030. In 2015, Danone promised to become carbon neutral by 2050.
- Danone North America became a B Corp last year when it was certified by B Lab, a nonprofit that grants the recognition to companies adhering to high standards, such as transparency, accountability and standing for good causes.
Since attaining B Corp status two years ahead of schedule in 2018, Danone North America has been striving to further integrate sustainability into its operations. Across the company as a whole, Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber has pledged to work toward certifying the company's global operations as a B Corp.
Although Danone North America has B Corp status, it achieved that certification with only 85 points. The minimum threshold to be eligible is 80 out of 200 points, indicating there is more the company can do to adhere to these higher standards. According to a self-reported scorecard from 2017, Danone's Evian brand had already achieved carbon neutrality in the U.S. and Canada — its goal is zero carbon globally by 2020. But since the company has to re-certify its status every few years in North America, and as part of a company-wide effort to become a B Corp, Danone seems to be upping its sustainability pledges.
As a company that sells large quantities of bottled water, it is critical that Danone identify a solution to make its bottled water brands more appealing to environmentally friendly consumers who are more likely to go out of their way to do business with companies that reflect their values. Many CPGs have recognized the shifting tide in consumer preferences, especially in water where sustainability concerns surrounding plastic bottles have grown. Increasingly, more companies have turned to materials such as recyclable aluminum and cardboard for their water.
But there is a race between bottled water companies to find the best alternative. Major manufacturers such as Danone, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Coca-Cola are investing in alternatives and pledging to increase the amount of recycled plastic in their bottles. The more companies can deliver the more likely they are to attract the interest of consumers to buy their products in an increasingly competitive market place.
In today's market, a more specific public plan on how it expects to reach these goals could help Danone gain the trust of sustainable consumers. Until shoppers see more evidence of the company making good on its promises in a big way, it is less likely that the French company will win them over — something it needs to refresh water sales. Similar to other water makers, Danone has struggled lately in this segment. In October, Danone said bottled-water sales fell 0.9% in the third quarter.