Sustainability: make it personal

Laura Jacobson
Head of Insight - RA UK

Date : 07 November 2019

At a time when consumers are demanding businesses to act responsibly, Adam Grant, regional vice president for Danone dairy delivers a passionate plea at IGD Live: “Work is too slow and too siloed – we’re not moving quick enough in this direction”.

Overcoming inherent barriers in the industry

Grant highlighted significant barriers to progress, including the difficulties of working collectively in a competitive environment, and tensions between short-term and long-term objectives. However, these are not insurmountable. He calls for individuals to own and be the change. Even if not the ultimate decision maker, they should hold their organisations to account.

Major shifts required

By shifting from a mindset of competition to collaboration, there are opportunities to work towards shared goals, something Danone and Innocent have been working on together, despite commonalities in their businesses.

Reducing reliance on authority requires businesses to be proactive and act ahead of regulations and policies. For example, manufacturers taking the lead in reformulation, reducing sugar in products ahead of targets. Finally, defining ourselves not as an industry, but as a community, will inspire people to act as responsible citizens.

Danone’s dual purpose: social progress and economic progress

Grant highlighted Danone’s vision for one planet, and one health, and the many ways its business and others are collaborating and committing to change.

B Corp certification is one way it is putting this into practice, and something more than 250 UK business have earned. As a philosophy for businesses that want to be a force for good, it necessitates putting all stakeholders at the heart of decisions. With stringent criteria, it took over a year for Danone’s UK dairy business to attain accreditation, a process it will need to go through every three years and forces the business to be open and honest about the areas in which it needs to improve.

Waitrose has created a virtual shelf on its website signposting a range of goods made by B Corporation certified businesses…

Get the latest industry news and insights straight to your inbox with our range of newsletters.