Danone – carbon neutral certification and labelling for evian

View of the Danone factory showing hundreds of bottles being processed and boxed

In advance of the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change at the COP21 talks in Paris, the French multinational Danone made a commitment to become carbon neutral across its full value chain by 2050.

Taking its first steps towards meeting this goal, the business – owner of a wide portfolio of consumer brands across over 140 global markets – decided to use its flagship natural water brand, evian®, to prove what could be possible. This involved making a commitment that the brand would become carbon neutral on a worldwide basis by 2020.

In order to make credible claims about what the company has achieved in delivering on this, Danone chose to work with the Carbon Trust to secure independent, third party assurance that carbon neutrality had been achieved at its transformed bottling site in Évian-les-Bains in France, and for all evian® products sold in North America and Canada. This was the first business unit to achieve carbon neutral status, which was awarded in September 2017.

Danone currently displays the Carbon Trust’s footprint label on bottles of evian® sold across the USA and Canada to demonstrate its carbon neutral status to customers.

evian®: a pilot for carbon neutrality

Using evian® as a pilot for other parts of Danone’s business, the company introduced a range of low carbon initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of the product. Having already reduced its total industrial energy consumption by 29% per litre of evian® between 2008 and 2017 further reductions include:

  • investing €280 million between 2011 and 2020 into a state-of-the art bottling site which is powered entirely by renewable energy;
  • shifting towards lower carbon logistics, including the use of one of the largest private railway stations in France; and
  • increasing the proportion of recycled content in packaging globally, moving from around 30% across the range today to 100% (excluding cap and label) by 2025.

In parallel to evian’s global carbon reduction action plan, since 2008 the brand partnered with the Livelihoods Carbon Fund to help preserve and restore water ecosystems and local communities through the plantation of 130 million trees worldwide, 85 million being mangroves helping to strengthen vulnerable coastal ecosystems.

These trees lock away carbon emissions from the atmosphere, resulting in the creation of carbon credits, enabling the US and Canada to achieve carbon neutral status. Over time, evian’s sustained actions to reduce its emissions, combined with the purchase of credits through the Livelihoods Carbon Fund, will enable the full global brand, beyond the US and Canada, to reach carbon neutrality by 2020.

Consumers today want companies to take a leading role in combating climate change. We work diligently to measure, reduce and offset our carbon impact and chose the Carbon Trust to independently certify our work. The Carbon Trust logo helps our consumers recognise the standards with which we hold ourselves to when it comes to preserving the environment. We are proud that evian® in US and Canada is a blueprint for what we want to achieve globally with evian® and across Danone.

Olivia Sanchez, VP Marketing for evian® at Danone Waters America