Danone faces legal action over plastic use, reporting practices

Environmental groups believe the company has underreported its use
calendar icon 9 January 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Some environmental groups have taken legal action against French bottled water and dairy group Danone over its plastic use, accusing it on Monday of failing to sufficiently account for all the plastic used along its production cycles.

Danone, the world’s biggest yoghurt maker which also produces infant formula and the popular mineral water brand Evian, said in a statement emailed to Reuters that it was "very surprised by this accusation which we firmly refute".

The case, brought at a Paris civil court on Monday, comes as a growing number of non-governmental organisations are acting against large companies by using a 2017 French law establishing a "duty of care" along supply chains to avoid harm to human rights and the environment.

But unlike a similar case brought against oil giant TotalEnergies to fight a controversial pipeline project in Africa, environmental group Surfrider and its partners which include Client Earth and Zero Waste France, say they do not want to launch criminal proceedings against Danone.

"We want Danone to re-publish its compulsory duty of care report and specifically account for its plastic use, including a concrete strategy to reduce it," said Antidia Citores, the French spokeswoman for ocean protection campaign group Surfrider Foundation Europe.

She added that Danone so far did not sufficiently account for all the plastic used along its production cycles from agriculture to packaging and was not telling the public how exactly it intends to reduce its use.

It is now up to a judge to decide whether or not to open a lawsuit.

"Danone has long been recognised as a pioneer in environmental risk management," the company said in the statement to Reuters, adding it had brought down its plastic use by 12% between 2018 and 2021.

Danone had announced a goal for 2025 for every piece of its packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.

In October, the company joined other international companies including Nestle in calling on world leaders to toughen the reporting rules for large businesses regarding their impact on nature.

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