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Interview: Spotlight on B Corp - Danone

Deanna Bratter

Achieving B Corp status

Meet Deanna Bratter, Head of Sustainable Development at Danone North America, who has helped negotiate the extensive requirements for achieving B Corp status at Danone and explains how to follow in their footsteps.

Danone North America was formed as a public benefit corporation – a for-profit organisation but with positive impact – in 2017 and achieved the coveted B Corp certification the following year, where it became the largest global company to achieve the accreditation. In April 2021, the company was recertified and improved its certification score by 11 points.

Its mission is bringing health through food to as many people as possible via a dual purpose of balancing social and economic priorities across all of its operations and balancing doing good business with doing good in business. “B Corp is about so much more than certification,” says Bratter.
“We all share the goal of using business as a way to drive meaningful impact. ”
Deanna Bratter, Head of Sustainable Development, Danone North America

“It is about being part of the B Corp movement of businesses that are seeking to use business as a force for good.”

Impact on stakeholders

One of the most significant impacts of the company’s certification has been the expansion of its B Corp mindset across its value chain, resulting in several of its partners also achieving certification. “When we all know what we’re striving for through this standard, we can all work together to improve. The reality is we all share the goal of using business as a way to drive meaningful impact and collective action will help address the large challenges we face.”

Consumer awareness of the B Corp movement is growing. Just two years ago, consumer recognition rates of the B Corp logo were in single digits. Today those rates are closer to 30%. “Many of our stakeholders may not be able to articulate exactly what it means when they see that logo on a package, but they know it stands for something better,” says Bratter. “It’s also incredibly positive from the employee perspective because it shows transparency around a lot of information about the company and it shows where our values are and how we’re thinking about the business.”

Driven by digital

Technology played a crucial role in Danone North America’s B Corp journey. The company’s systems tracked data across the various segments of the certification, including governance, environment, employees and other impact areas. Bratter explains: “We need robust tech systems to measure and monitor reputable global data because we are reporting to investors, to many public agencies and, of course, leveraging this information for B Corp certification.”

Danone North America aims to be the first large-cap multinational company to be B Corp certified across all its holdings by 2025. “By doing so, we will be staying true to the dual-purpose mission that we created all those years ago while showing the biggest, most financially successful companies that they can also strive to better the communities in which they operate and deliver on their commitments to sustainability.” Bratter concludes: “There are some incredible opportunities for businesses of all sizes to continue taking action and taking responsibility for doing good for the world.”

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This article originally appeared in Thread, Edition 1. Thread is Kin + Carta’s quarterly magazine that cuts through the complexity of digital transformation. Making sustainable change real, achievable and attainable. 

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