We are going through troubled times which will go down in history and be studied by generations to come. In this period, which has forced us all to stop and reflect on our choices, way of life and actions, the Planet paused and nature was able to breathe a sigh of relief from human beings harmful actions over the years. The Planet had thus the opportunity to regenerate itself and to start healing some old and deep wounds. Surely the pandemic relieved nature for a while, but was, on the other hand, extremely heavy on humanity; even more so in populations further exposed to poverty. Also, environment instability is far from being solved and even though its degradation rate has slowed down, immediate actions are crucial. Never such as now, the social and environmental mobilization of all economic ecosystem parts was so urgently needed...

Danone has always been guided by its commitment to a sustainable business model and this premise has taken on even more strength now, given the current situation caused by the pandemic and the action of the SARS-CoV-2 virus worldwide. Embracing its longtime commitment, two weeks ago, Danone has become the first listed company to adopt the “Entreprise à Mission” model created by French law in 2019. An “Enterprise à Mission” company is defined as an enterprise in which its social and environmental objectives are considered and laid down in its statutes and where its mission must also be specified, as well as the means adopted to define its execution and compliance through the setting up of a committee and independent audits. It may seem a very tiny change… but it is not. It’s like a country changing its own constitution.

I have been convinced for a long time that a company can only succeed if it is SUSTAINABLE. In fact, this is not what we learned in Business Schools 25 years ago but today lots of experts are also strongly convinced that it is a “must”. Initiatives such as the Bcorp certification highlight companies that have made this commitment and have a double responsibility - both economic and social. These are the companies that dedicate efforts and resources to the protection of the Planet.

In the “Le Monde” edition of 7 May 2020, Nicolas Hulos, the former Minister of Ecology in France, launched a Manifesto with 100 principles to rebuild a new World in a more balanced and healthier way, a World where the economy can grow, not at the expense of the Planet but rather FOR the Planet – very much in line with initiatives such as, for example, regenerative agriculture, strongly defended by Emmanuel Faber, the CEO of Danone.  For this reason, never before has our “One Planet. One Health” vision been so significant and our contribution so clear as a world’s leading food company.

Now, more than ever, it makes total sense to be an “Entreprise à Mission”, embodying these social responsibility values in the company’s DNA and use them to touch all parts of the economic ecosystem - employees, consumers, customers, suppliers, stakeholders and shareholders. We need to continue to support people and fulfill our mission to bring health through food to as many people as possible. We are even more mobilized for those who need this the most and we try to help those who in turn are helping in this difficult time, never forgetting the families that consume our products every day and which we want to continue to feed. With humility, in Portugal we try to contribute as much as possible with a new “Movimento” launched this July 2020 called JUNTOS (a yogurt made in Portugal) where we invite our shoppers to donate products to Portuguese families through our NGO partners. 

Through our mission and our commitment to progress, both at corporate and social levels, the company intends to build a more sustainable future, through better health, a better life and a better world for all. Today, tomorrow and the day after, as we have been doing for the past 100 years.

Have a great and impactful week!

Ludovic Reysset
Country Manager Danone Portugal

This article refers to edition #45 of the "Have a Great and Impactful Week" Newsletter.
Subscribe here to receive the weekly newsletter