FRANCE – European multinational food company, Danone has become the first listed company to adopt French legal framework of “Entreprise à Mission” model after the dairy giant garnered support from more than 99% of its shareholders at its Annual General Meeting to proceed with adopting the status.
Danone announced its intent to adopt the model in May this year, reaffirming its commitment the sustainable shared value creation model. The legal status requires Danone not only to generate profit for its shareholders, but do so in a way that it says will benefit its customers’ health and the planet.
The legal framework was passed by France last year to modify its civil and commercial codes to allow companies to take greater consideration of social and environmental issues. It sought to broaden the idea of what animates companies by rejecting the traditional idea that a company exists primarily to maximise the wealth of its owners, the shareholders.
Now officially embedding in its articles of association a purpose and social, societal and environmental objectives that reflect its conviction that the health of people and the preservation of the planet are interdependent, Danone said that it is taking a new step in the pursuit of a model of sustainable value creation for all its stakeholders.
The company explained that the progress towards these objectives will be overseen by an independent Mission Committee of ten members: Sharan Burrow, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Pascal Lamy, Rose Marcario, Hiromichi Mizuno, David Nabarro, Gabriela Ilian Ramos, Rajiv Shah, Guido Barilla and Emna Lahmer.
The Mission Committee will review and challenge the company’s roadmap and progress particularly on subjects such as health & nutrition, water, agriculture, biodiversity, packaging, social innovation, people and social matters.
“At a time where companies are undisputably showing every day their contribution to society as a whole, and with the imperative of collective action, I am thrilled that all our shareholders decided that Danone would become today the first listed Entreprise à Mission,” commented Emmanuel Faber, Chairman and CEO of Danone.
“I am convinced that the more our business demonstrates that it is working for all its stakeholders, the more it will create value and be recognized for that,” Faber added.
Danone notes that the move to adopt a legally enforceable purpose for the company is consistent with its ambition to become certified B Corporation, a certification provided by B Lab on merit of a company’s social and environmental performance.
To date, the French multinational says that 20 of its subsidiaries have become B Corp Certified and more than one third of its global business is already covered by B Corp certification, and an additional 15 subsidiaries are in the process of certification for 2020.
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