We caught up with Danone Egypt, who are bringing health through food to many people in Egypt
In an interview by email, B Lab Africa spoke with Danone whose B Corp mission is to strive to be better, do better and to commit to sustainable development by creating healthy and sustainable food solutions in Egypt
Please tell us about your journey to become a B Corp. What motivated you to get certified?
Danone: Our commitment to social development is undeterred. Danone Egypt is the first company to achieve the B Corp Certification in Egypt, making us the largest B Corp in Africa and the Middle East for our dual commitment towards business success and social progress. The certification recognizes our vision to act beyond financial profit by meeting standards of social and environmental performance that is reflected in many initiatives, such as improving the quality of life in rural Egyptian communities.
The OMDA project
Launched in 2010 and financed by Danone Egypt and the Danone Ecosystem Fund, the OMDA program seeks to improve quality of life in Egyptian rural communities by providing access to a selection of health-focused products, while creating jobs for micro-distributors and improving the income of small retailers. In 2018, Danone Egypt and the National Bank of Egypt signed a Protocol of Cooperation to support small and medium enterprises. The Protocol helps finance OMDA project, providing young entrepreneurs with financial support to purchase equipped trucks to distribute Danone products. There are currently 310 distributors enrolled in the OMDA project, distributing our products to around 21,000 retailers, serving more than 3 million consumers, and the numbers are constantly increasing.
Zero Food Waste Initiative
Inspired by Egypt’s commitment towards its transformational Sustainable Development Goals journey, as well as contributing to Danone’s Global goal to reducing 50% of food waste by 2030; Danone Egypt launched its initiative towards “Zero Food Waste” in partnership with The Egyptian Food Bank (EFB). The partnership is built upon finding sustainable ways to reduce food waste in Egypt. Food waste is one of Danone’s global key focus areas. Today Danone Egypt will lead this revolution of ending food waste in Egypt by donating its daily surplus of products to its partner The Egypt Food Bank; utilizing their solid & robust database, to benefit almost 35,000 students weekly as well as other eligible recipients.
Alban Baladna Project
In 2011, the company, through the Danone Ecosystem Fund and in cooperation with Care International organization, established milk collection centers (MCCs), with the aim of empowering small milk producers and farmers and providing high quality milk. Danone project for dairy collection, which succeeded in accessing the best quality milk, while ensuring a healthy and sustainable ecosystem around the supply chain, was able to secure up to 11% of the company’s needs of raw fresh milk, besides creating 113 jobs, and enabling more than 8,500 thousand small farmers, with the participation of more than 7,000 women in the work of collecting milk, from 13 Danone centers in several governorates of the Republic, as part of the work to contribute to reducing the high unemployment rates in rural areas in Egypt.
What is your ambition as a B Corp and what are your future commitments?
Danone: Our ambition as a B Corp is to always strive to be better, do better and to commit to sustainable development by, creating healthy and sustainable food solutions which will benefit our consumers and the community we operate in Egypt.
What advice would you give to other companies that want to achieve B Corp certification?
Danone: We encourage all companies around the world to think and act upon sustainability, accountability, and equality. Lead your company with a new leadership model and join the B movement!
Danone Egypt’s current B Impact Score is 150 out of 200. What do you think are the major contributing factors to these improvements since becoming certified?
Danone: The major contributing factor to these improvements is our self-learning and ambitious ‘Danoners’ who strive to make every day better. With their mindsets and passion towards sustainability, projects, and innovative ways of working.
What plans does Danone Egypt have in place to improve the B Impact Score even further, and how do you think this will impact business, employees, customers, and the planet?
Danone: We implement roadmaps to positively impact our business, customers, employees, and our environment. We are always searching for ways to improve our current roadmaps in terms of water and energy consumption, animal welfare and our sustainability strategy. We focus on the health and well-being of our employees, customers, partners, and external stakeholders through regularly updated, ongoing engagement programs and practices.