danone.communities: a network of social businesses
Fighting poverty and malnutrition through social business
It began with a meeting between Danone CEO Franck Riboud and Muhammad Yunus, President of microlender Grameen Bank and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.
As they shared their ideas and convictions on bringing progress to the world’s neediest people, the two men discovered that their expertise was complementary, and agreed to start a business together. Enter Grameen Danone Foods, built on an innovative idea: create a yogurt plant in Bangladesh to promote local community development. From the beginning, the business was designed to make enough money to be sustainable, but to focus primarily on social goals -- a revolutionary ambition.
By 2007, the first plant was up and running in Bangladesh, producing affordable yogurts fortified with micronutrients -- iodine, zinc, iron and vitamin A -- to counter nutritional deficiencies among Bangladeshi children.
Open to all: an innovative mutual fund to support social business
Danone went on to found danone.communities, offering a mutual fund designed to encourage social business initiatives. Managed and marketed by the Crédit Agricole group, this innovative financial tool was launched in December 2007 with a clear mandate:
- Expand Grameen Danone Foods by building additional plants in Bangladesh.
- Support social businesses consistent with Danone’s mission in other parts of the world
- Use this innovative business model to partner with local stakeholders and NGOs, combining their know-how with Danone’s.
- Expand the fund’s support community to embrace all contributors to the project, including an entirely new type of investor. With danone.communities, these new investors can commit their savings to social progress, generating a social return on their investment.
As a result, danone.communities supports Senegal’s La Laiterie du Berger and Cambodia’s 1001 Fontaines project, in addition to Grameen Danone Foods in Bangladesh.
In 2010, India and France came to extand the geography of the projects.
Learn more about Naandi Community Water Services (India)
Learn more about Isomir (France).
Learn more about the danone.communities mutual fund
Today danone.communities is launching nearly a dozen immersion trips to study the potential of new projects.
It all started in November 2005 with a meeting between Danone CEO Franck Riboud and Muhammad Yunus, President of microlender Grameen Bank and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Realizing that they shared the same vision of development for poor countries, the two men moved quickly to found a business that would leverage their complementary skills. Grameen Danone Foods was built on an innovative idea: set up a small yogurt plant in Bogra, Bangladesh, to promote local development and bring health to the country’s poorest people. Today, the micro-plant they envisioned is in full operation and more plants will be built on the same model throughout Bangladesh.