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Danone - A Social Business Enterprise

Added on 22-03-2013





Business challenge

How to best reduce poverty through a cration of Danone Communities fund and social business models that meets Danone's mission statement: "Bring health through food to as many people as possible."


The goal of the enterprise is to launch a dairy product at a highly affordable price that is specially developed to meet specific nutritional needs of Bangladeshi children (30% of daily intake). The ways of doing this is completely new, with four objectives:

  • Offer a product with high added nutritional value
  • To create jobs
  • To protect environment
  • To be economically viable

Building solutions with partnerships. 

  • Partner wtih Grameen Group on microcredit and sales network
  • Partnership with GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) for evaluation of product benefits on brain development for children
  • Create as many jobs as possible (in the plant; upstream, in the field of agricultural industry; downstream, in sales and distribution)
  • Use local supplies
  • Design simple equipment rather than sophisticated machinery to facilitate the appropriation by local workers
  • Pioneering techniques to produce more environmentally friendly packaging and save natural resources
  • Tailored made programmes for local communities on nutrition to be part of the project
  • Medium/long term objective is to gradually deploy this model within the whole country (around 50 small plants)

Creation of the Grameen Danone Foods Ltd was in March 2006 with plant production beginning in November 2006


  • Level of income - Product affordability in extreme poverty
  • Seasonal milk shortage - Production is impacted by weather
  • Find right indicators to measure the sustainability: Impact on the level of poverty, impact on children's health and the capacity to generate enough profit for reinvestment in new factories

Challenges/Lessons learned:

  • Much better nutrition for local children
  • Local economic development (micro farms, more jobs, etc.)
  • Better protection of environment (waste water treatment station with biogas is used to light and cook, rain water collection system, solar water heaters, etc.

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