French dairy giant Danone [BN:FP] is facing a lawsuit from some environmental groups for “failing to sufficiently account for all the plastic used along its production cycles”, as reported by Reuters on January 9. The environmental groups cited a French law passed in 2017, which requires large enterprises to take effective measures to identify and prevent human rights violations and environmental damages throughout their chain of activity. In response, Danone strongly refutes the accusation, stating that the group is taking action to reduce plastic use, develop reuse, strengthen collection and recycling schemes, and develop alternative materials. At present, it is up to a judge to decide whether to open a lawsuit.
Danone claimed to be a pioneer in environmental risk management and stated the firm reduced 12% of its plastic use between 2018 and 2021. Moreover, it aims to make 100% of its packaging recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025. However, according to Danone’s 2021 financial report, the company used more than 750,000 tons of plastic in water bottles, yogurt containers, and other packaging in the year. Environmental charity ClientEarth pointed out that recycling is a limited solution as only 9% of plastics ever made have been recycled. Under the lawsuit, the environmental groups also asked Danone to map the impacts of its plastics use on the environment, climate, health, and human rights across the value chain, provide an assessment of its plastic footprint along its production cycles, and formulate a “deplastification” plan including quantified and dated objectives.