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Danone Dairy Ireland: BCorp Accreditation

Danone Logo

Business Type: Food
Location: Ireland
Mission Statement: ‘Bringing health through food to as many people as possible’
No. of Employees: 20

Overview of CSR Initiative:

Danone Dairy Ireland BCorp Accreditation
In June 2019, Danone Dairy Ireland became the first Irish food company to be certified as a BCorp. BCorp is a mark of trust that recognizes a company’s ambition to act beyond financial profit and put purpose at the heart of its business strategy.

This process required staff time and commitment and a small fee for accreditation. To obtain the BCorp Certification, we completed a B Impact Assessment with the aim to continuously improve every three years. We underwent a rigorous, independent assessment covering four key impact areas of Governance, Workers, Community and Environment. As part of the process, we were required to provide evidence of socially and environmentally responsible practices, including; energy supplies, waste and water use, worker compensation, diversity and corporate transparency. Becoming BCorp certified has endless benefits.

Nearly 2 out of 3 Irish consumers are belief driven buyers. For our consumers, at a time when businesses are increasingly expected to take a stand on and respond to key issues facing society, BCorp provides us with external recognition of our commitment to our people, the community we operate in and the planet.

For our staff, BCorp has encouraged us to put people and planet at the heart of the business which has enabled us to demonstrate our values to customers and suppliers, that our business means more than profit. By being a member of staff from a BCorp company, we can create a common vision to inspire our stakeholders. This process has given our staff a sense of pride to share our story and lead the way in advocating this new way for business for other companies

And lastly, for our customers and external stakeholders, BCorp shows that we are dedicated to changing how business operates and displays our belief that business really can be a force for good. We hope our commitment to doing business differently in Ireland will be an inspiration to others and really help spread the idea that we can redefine success in business to be as much about people and planet as it is about profit.

We now view all our decisions with a BCorp lens and live up to the motto of being a force for good. Following our accreditation, we activated an integrated communication campaign with stakeholders, press, government bodies, trade partners and many more, which resulted in press coverage in; Independent.ie, RTE Radio 1, Newstalk Radio, The Irish Examiner, Ireland’s leading retail news magazines, Shelf Life and Checkout. Alongside our press coverage, our brands (Actimel, Activia and Light & Free) posted on their social media to spread the news to their followers. Our staff, media agencies and Business in the Community posted on their LinkedIn profiles and these posts reached thousands of business connections in various different industries.

Promoting our success not only has a positive effect on Danone Dairy Ireland’s business, but also raises awareness of BCorp as an accreditation that encourages businesses to use their ‘business as a force for good’, thus inspiring other businesses to follow in our footsteps.

Our CSR movement of BCorp is included in our Annual Report.

CSR Dimension:

'Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on CSR 2017-2020 identifies 4 core dimensions of CSR – Environment, Community, Workplace and Marketplace: 

Four Dimensions of CSR

Select the Dimension(s) that apply to your Initiative and Why?

The BCorp accreditation looks at specific areas of how our business impacts on the environment. We specifically
• Made a company-wide commitment to making all of our product packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025,
• Encouraged our employees to work remotely in order to lower the company’s carbon footprint,
• Saved 432,240 km in travel distance by using online meeting technology. Staff are also encouraged to use public transport, walk or bike to work instead of driving individually,
• Use eco-friendly supply vendors in our Dublin office such as, The Green Office, Klee Paper and Office Supplies Ireland,
• Within the workplace, we used non-toxic janitorial products and unbleached/chlorine free paper products.

The BCorp accreditation looks at specific areas of how our business impacts on the community we operate in. We specifically:
• Give all of our staff two days per year to volunteer with a charity of their choice,
• Have a charity partnership with Barnardo’s 16 years running,
• Support gender inclusiveness, the LGBT community and individuals with disabilities.

The BCorp accreditation looks at specific areas of how our business impacts on our staff. We specifically:
• Run a programme to give access to shares to all employees,
• Provide life skills training for our staff on a variety of topics,
• Pay the lowest paid intern a salary above the living wage and all staff receive a bonus,
• 95% of staff are eligible to health care benefits through the company,
• Carry out an annual people survey and 81-90% of staff said they are ‘satisfied’ or ‘engaged’ in their job.

The BCorp accreditation looks at specific areas of how we work with our suppliers. We specifically:
• Have a mission statement to ‘bring health through food to as many people as possible’,
• Initiated a centralised distribution model to reduce the impact of our supply chain on the environment.

Business Impact:

What has becoming a BCorp mean for Danone Dairy Ireland?
Becoming a BCorp allows the business to earn an independent certification. It puts people, planet and profit at the heart of the business and legally locks in our mission for the future of ‘bringing health through food to as many people as possible’. The accreditation demonstrates our values to customers and suppliers. It attracts and retains the best talent to work for the business which enables us to work effectively and ‘use business as a force for good’. The BCorp accreditation process creates a common vision to inspire all stakeholders involved with the Danone Dairy Ireland business.

Since becoming certified, we have joined a dynamic community who collaborates and trades with like-minded companies with a similar vision, for example fellow Irish BCorp Urban Volt. Within this BCorp community, we have been able to exchange best practice ideas for improving our impact and have been given multiple opportunities to attend community-driven events and workshops. It was an inspiring journey to accreditation and an even more inspiring journey post-accreditation as we have heard countless business stories from across the world and have learned how various corporations use ‘business as a force for good’ in their own unique way.

By becoming a BCorp, we are helping drive a global movement by sharing, with other BCorps, our collective voice advocating a new way for business. By being a certified BCorp, we are benchmarking our environmental and social performance against previous performance and other businesses

Minister Humphreys Danone

Pictured above L-R: Claire MacEvilly, Danone Dairy Ireland; James Bruce, Country Manager, Danone Dairy Ireland; Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Please identify which SDG goal(s) apply to your CSR initiative:
Three goals relate to our BCorp initiative:
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth: Danone Dairy Ireland creates decent work and economic growth.
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production: Our company ensures sustainable production and consumption patterns.
SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions: We provide access to justice for all and build effective and accountable institutions at all levels.


What did you learn from your experience of creating and implementing a CSR initiative?
What advice would you give a business starting on their CSR Journey?

BCorp has helped to embed our CSR strategy with our staff, our consumers and our stakeholders. For us, it provided a platform to take CSR beyond a box ticking exercise or a photo opportunity. For CSR to be successful, it must be supported by the leaders in the business and all the staff. Consumers want brands to do good by society and that needs to be part of your DNA as a company. It needs to be at the heart of your company. Danone Dairy Ireland is delighted to be the first food company in Ireland and the second Irish company overall to achieve this award. We would encourage all businesses to assess what they can do to operate as ethically and sustainably as possible, as it is vital to assess what we are doing for our communities. They can reach out to BLab to review the accreditation and get involved. For more information visit www.bcorporation.net.

Download a copy of the Case Study as a pdf.

Case Study provided by:
Danone Dairy Ireland
November 2019