Danone focuses climate efforts on regenerative agriculture

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/Brekbit
© iStock/Brekbit

Related tags Danone Carbon dioxide Agriculture Soil

French dairy-to-drinks giant Danone has signalled its intention to “sharpen” its focus on regenerative agriculture as a way to “broadly reduce emissions” in the future and respond to consumer demand for “naturality and transparency”.

Danone is joining forces with the French government's 4/1000 international initiative on soil health, as part of its drive to support regenerative agriculture.

The move supports Danone’s climate change commitments. The French group announced back in 2015 that it is working to make its full value chain carbon neutral by 2050. Within this journey, Danone has pledged “ambitious targets” for 2030: to reduce full scope emission intensity by 50%; and to achieve a 30% absolute reduction of scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Between 2008 and 2016, Danone has achieved a 50% reduction in emissions intensity on its value chain, excluding agriculture but including operations, packaging and logistics.

“As a food company, Danone’s business is inherently reliant on agriculture,” said Danone CEO, Emmanuel Faber. “We want to help transform the food system and work with our partners, starting with the 140,000 farmers in our supply chain, to build regenerative models of agriculture that are based on healthy and resilient soils.”

Faber continued: “We believe these models can address a number of global challenges, from climate change to water scarcity and biodiversity, while driving sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”

Agriculture is the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon after the energy sector, and represents 60% of Danone’s carbon footprint.

Danone said it is working directly with farmers in its supply chain to co-create action plans that will help them lower their carbon footprint and strengthen water retention and biodiversity in soils. The company is backing practices like reducing tilling and leaving crop residue on the ground. These can “transform​” soil from a source of green house gas to a sink for atmospheric carbon. In addition to sequestering carbon, healthy soils boost productivity and reinforce climate resiliency.

Danone is leading projects via its social innovation fund. The Danone Ecosystem Fund supports the transformation of agricultural practices in the company’s supply chain through 35 projects across the world.

“When you talk about soil, you talk about where food comes from and how it is produced. More and more, consumers are demanding transparency and naturality. This is why agriculture is at the center of our efforts to bring the alimentation revolution to life. With a deep transformation of our practices, we are laying the foundations for our future offers​,” Faber added. 

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