06 Grow

The mark a corporation makes on its environment can be measured equally by the growth of its business and the social progress it creates. Danone was one of the first corporations to embrace this principle and live by it.

The commitment of the employees within the group is a marker of difference and a competitive advantage for Danone

Muriel Pénicaud Executive Vice President
Human Resources

How can
a profitable business
have a social

By taking radical, innovative action—both within Danone and in our relationships with our ecosystem—we have created a philosophy that has inspired our human resources policy and nurtured employee commitment for several decades. Deeply rooted in our dual commitment to business success and social progress and in our vision for strategic growth, this philosophy guides the action plans of some 150 Danone subsidiaries worldwide, which adapt it to their circumstances.


Danone is an industrial business with 160 plants and more than 400 sites worldwide. The safety of our employees in our plants and on the road is a priority, and as a result the group has deployed an interactive safety program since 2004. The Wise program gives employees a role in meeting a goal that is vital for them: reducing the number of workplace accidents requiring sick leave. Managers at each site are asked to work with their teams to develop training, awareness and action plans tailored to their realities. We have gradually expanded this effort to include all of our sub-contractors, focusing especially on carriers of raw materials and finished products to reduce road accidents, which are a major concern in some emerging countries.


Danone has reduced the number of workplace accidents requiring sick leave nearly five-fold since 2004.



Nearly 30,000 employees were covered by Dan’Cares in 2011, and the program will cover 12,000 more in 2012.

A healthy workforce is a priority for Danone—but 60% of our employees live in an emerging country where healthcare may be poor or even nonexistent. To close the gap, two years ago we launched the Dan’Cares program with the goal of providing minimum healthcare coverage for Danone’s 101,885 employees by 2013.


Dan'Cares was deployed by Bonafont in Mexico since summer, 2011

At first, Danone analyzed healthcare access at 56 subsidiaries in 15 countries, representing 85% of all employees. We used three criteria: quality of care and medical equipment; accessibility, including appointments, waiting times and geographical distance; and the employee’s share of total costs. Using these data, we mapped out the healthcare available to our workforce.

Altogether, 2011 saw Dan’Cares deployed in eight countries representing 27 subsidiaries —Brazil, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Spain—with a total of nearly 30,000 employees and the program will cover 12,000 more in 2012. During the year we will audit local healthcare delivery in eight new countries: Algeria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Italy, Romania, and South Africa. So in 2013, this program will ensure that all employees have access to affordable, high quality care for fundamental needs including hospitalization, surgery, childbirth, medical consultations and prescription medicines.

Social dialog

Because we have strong social convictions and a 40-year history of dialog with international labor, Danone works hard to provide good working conditions for all of our employees, wherever they are. One important tool for reaching this goal is signing international master agreements with the international labor federation IUF* as part of a regular dialog dating back 1985.

* The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Associations (IUF) is an international union federation currently composed of 383 trade unions in 120 countries.


Danone has signed nine worldwide agreements that are applied in all of the countries where Danone does business. The most recent, signed on September 29, 2011, covers safety, working conditions, workplace stress and health.

Training & management


In 2011, each Danoner received an average of 31 hours of training. 85,600 «Danoners” (nearly 83,000 in 2010) benefited from a training in 2011.

15 000

15,000 managers and team leaders have participated in the Danone Leadership College program.

To provide career development tools to every manager—broadly defined to include line supervisors—in 2009 we created a “Danone-style” leadership training program: Danone Leadership College. Since then, 15,000 managers and team leaders from 127 subsidiaries in 51 countries have participated in the program, which is facilitated by
470 in-house trainers. In the 2011 Danone People Survey**, 80% believed that the training had made them better at doing their jobs.


In the 2011 Danone People Survey (internal survey of all group employees taken every two years), employee commitment was rated an exceptionally high 85%—the same as in the 2009 Survey—due to three key drivers: leadership; employee autonomy and empowerment; and our corporate culture and values. Because the employees in Danone’s 150 subsidiaries are involved in the group’s growth and outreach projects, they are an integral part of our social responsibility policy, both internally through our safety, training, management and other programs, and through the social innovation projects that our subsidiaries undertake in their communities with the Danone Ecosystem Fund, created in 2009.


The employee commitment was rated an exceptionally high 85%, as in the 2009 Survey. 86% of employees adhere in the "Danone model", in its culture and in its values; 93 % are proud to work at Danone.

Creating value


The Danone Ecosystem Fund supports 34 projects proposed by 27 subsidiaries in 17 countries (at December 31)

Danone CEO Franck Riboud is convinced that no corporation can grow in a desert: wherever it does business, it needs suppliers, distributors—a whole environment that must be healthy and thriving. That’s why Danone created the Danone Ecosystem Fund in 2009. Three years later, the program has approved and funded 34 projects, all proposed by our subsidiaries. The goal: to create both economic and social value, especially through direct or indirect job creation. To achieve this, the Fund works with local NGOs in five major areas: raw materials sourcing; recycling; distribution; care services; and creating value in local communities. The projects give employees a concrete focus for their commitment and local involvement even as they test new models for growth.