Besides checking my bio, which I highly suggest you do, here is me! Danone’s light and fit yogurt is a daily snack for me. The taste is incredible, although, I have to be honest, I did not know much about the sustainability of the product until now so we are learning together!
This product is fairly simple: Cultured Non Fat Milk, Water, Blueberry Puree, and Fructose. It is fairly well-known that milk from cows has significant environment impact from the cows and that soy milk is the best, most sustainable alternative. Moreover, Danone indicates how they are working towards utilizing less water in the manufacturing process, hoping to have reduced water demand 60% by 2030 (on a 2000 baseline). Fortunately, blueberries are extremely sustainable, with low water and carbon footprint. The puree is just the extraction from the blueberries, hence, this aspect of the yogurt is by far the most sustainable. However, the packaging in which the yogurt comes in was definitely an initial concern for me. Danone is a part of One Planet Business for Biodiversity, which is an agriculturally focused coalition that holds requirements for the companies involved, such as requiring 30% of all farming to be polyculture and regenerative agriculture. These force companies to not partake in the exploitation of the land, however, it should be a requirement that all farming practices consist of some type of reintegrative practices because desertification yields a enormous detrimental impact on the environment. This coalition seems to be more talk than action, for which I am extremely disappointed in. Moreover, 81% of Danone’s products are recyclable, with a commitment to 100% by 2025, and 16% of the products are made from fully recycled materials, with a commitment to 50% by 2025. Although this a great start, more needs to happen because all of the products should already have the possibility of being recycled but, even further, they need to come from reintegrated materials.
Unfortunately, manufacturing yogurt is a highly intensive process. Yogurt mix of nonfat milk, water, and fructose is chilled, then pasteurized at extremely temperatures up to 200 degree Farenheight for merely a couple minutes, then immediately brought down to 70 degrees Farenheight so it is the perfect temperature to be pumped into a vat. This mix is then inoculated with various probiotics and put into the yogurt cup, in this case with the blueberry puree already sitting in the bottom of the cup. Placed in a warming room, when the yogurt has reached the correct pH (around 4.5) it is moved to a chilling refrigerator. Fortunately, Danone is committed to using 100% renewable energy by 2030, already at 42.4%. Given the fact that they initiated this commitment in 2017, they have done significantly well, however, given that this is an extremely energy-intensive process, they have to make wide-sweeping changes in order to decrease their carbon footprint.
Danone provides an annual report, “Accelerating The Food Revolution Together”. The company provides a lot on the extent to which they are willing to go to be sustainable. For example, the company has committed to become carbon neutral by 2050, signing the “Business Ambition for 1.5 Degrees Celsius’ pledge provided by the Science Based Taregts. The company also created the Livelihood Impact Investment Funds and Danone Communities, which invest in social businesses and environmentally sustainable practices. It appears, although, that besides these two, that Danone includes a lot of different companies in the reports, providing the consumer with an abundance of information that doesn’t necessarily go anywhere because a lot of the companies seem to hold limited sustenance. However, Danone has committed to following the UN’s 17 STGs 2030 goals. They decided in which realms they are focusing on, such as the climate action for preserving resources and fostering inclusive growth through zero hunger, and some in which they are fully committing to, such as using clean energy for all resources and fostering inclusive growth in gender equality. It is really great to see that they have researched and specified the areas of focus for the company because merely claiming to pursue all 17 STGs is highly unrealistic for a company. Moreover, they have hundreds of programs running that inform not only all of the employees about the transparency and nutritional label reading within the company, but all the marketing employees on responsible and educational marketing practices. Emmanuel Faber, the CEO of Danone, when asked about Danone’s view on their sustainable changes, said ”We are convinced there is an urgent and significant opportunity to put climate actions even more at the core of our business model, to join people’s fight for climate and nature with the power of our brands“.