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Danone Communities Blog

“Achieving the Millennium Development Goals through Social Business”: an essay of a final year student…

Md. Jannatul Habib is not a student like any student. First, he is the final year student of the Department of International Relations of Jahangirnagar University in Dhaka, in Bangladesh. Then, he won the 2011 Yunus Centre Social Business Essay Competition, a yearly competition that rewards a student who studies social business.


In April 2012, the Journal of Social Business has published the essay of Md. Jannatul Habib. Today, with his permission, we publish it online and we are happy to share this very good essay about social business.


Enjoy it!



Abstract :

A newborn in the social business family : Renault Mobiliz !

In April 2011, during the General Communities Meeting 2011, Professor Yunus declared that "Paris is the capital of social business", highlighting the fact that French corporations have been the first ones to join the social business movement. It seems that the French city wants to keep this honorific standing. Two weeks after Schneider Electric announcing the launch of a new social business venture in Bangladesh with Grameen Shakti, called Grameen Schneider Electric, Renault has also decided to jump on the bandwagon. 


On July, 11th 2011, Renault officially announced the launch of its social business program, called "Mobiliz", a pun between "Mobility" and "Mobilization" of its employees in societal projects. 

Mobiliz is directly linked to the mission of Renault, which is to give access to a sustainable mobility to as many people as possible, precised Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Renault-Nissan. As for Danone, we may assume that the social business arm of the company will help to go further for the "to as many people as possible" part of the mission (Danone mission is to "bring health through food to as many people as possible"), trying to invent new business model to give access to valuable products and services for underpriviledged people. 



They make social business/Social Business day : Ismail Chaib

“Happy Social Business Day to Ismail Chaib ! He is constantly looking for ways to connect new technologies with social issues. He kickstarted the social business movement in his homecountry Algeria and he created a startup there. Today he works on the project OpenBank in Berlin to get banks to be more transparent. I like : his open source philosophy + his algerian crazy dance moves + his ability to connect people :)" 

(portrait from Leila, in the Facebook Page : « We make social business »)


Ismail perfectly represents the emerging generation of young social business activists. Naturally turned towards international experiences but very attached to his home country, over-connected and willing to make a difference, he has many projects at the same time to try to multiply his impact. Ismail is currently working on the Open Bank Project to promote greater transparency related to banks, he is also leading the MakeSense hotspot in Berlin, an open project that aims at connecting individuals to help social entrepreneurs solving their challenges. 


« Poverty Reduction through Social Business ? », lessons learnt from Grameen joint ventures in Bangladesh (extracts)

KerstinHumberg is Business Consultant with a leading international management consultancy for several years. During her academic career in geography, Kerstin has conducted researches about the impact of social business in the fight against poverty. For three years, she traveled on the field, in Bangladesh, many times, to study Grameen joint ventures, including Grameen Danone Foods Ltd. The result of her work has been published in a book, « Poverty Reduction trhough Social Business ? ».


We are lucky because she allowed us to publish two chapters :


Finally, for those who wish to go further, devour the bibliography of this academic research that lays the groundwork for a debate about the impact of social business. Happy reading!



GCM Tour 2012: contribute to make 2012 the year of social business!

Since 2008, danone.communities organizes every year a major conference in Paris, called the General Community Meeting, with Professor Yunus and many pioneers from the social business area. The aim is to promote social business, to share the avdancements on projects initiated by danone.communities and connect thousands of fans and experts. This evening has gained momentum progressively : 800 participants in 2008 at the Bibliothèque Nationale, 1200 people in 2009 at the Casino deParis, 1500 people in 2010 and 2000 people in 2011 at the Carrousel du Louvre...

You can find here articles, photos and video replay of previous editions: 


Big Conference Paris - 15/05 dans Global Communities Meeting 2012 Tour


The dynamic of danone.communities : a story told by Emmanuel Marchant

Report of the speech made by Emmanuel Marchant, Deputy General Manager of danone.communities, at Ecole de Paris in May 2011.


"In late 2005,Franck Riboud, CEO of Danone, and Muhammad Yunus, president of the Grameen Bank and Peace Nobel Prize 2006, discovered that their ideas come together on the development of poor and decided to form a joint venture, the Grameen Danone Food.
From 2007, a plant produces yogurt fortified with micronutrients in Bangladesh. The same year, Danone and Credit Agricole decided to create an original financial tool: the Fund danone.communities. It aims at supportting the construction of other plants in Bangladesh, to launch other projects in the same spirit in the world, to develop partnerships with local actors or NGOs, and to gather in a community who want to contribute the development of social business, either as actors or as investors of a new genre. Thus was set in motion a dynamic that reinvents the dual economic and social project of Danone and has implications for the management of the company itself."


To read more (in french only) :


The "social business" products from the projects of danone.communities

Since its creation in 2007, danone.communities expands the areas where its projects introduce new ways to innovate through the creation or the support of social businesses. These areas are children nutrition (Grameen Danone Foods Ltd.., Laiterie du Berger), access to safe drinking water (1001 Fontaines, Naandi Community Water Services) and the processing of farm products (ISOMIR)

In these projects, it is not the all-round development of products that counts but the improvement of local people via a proposed service or product adapted to their needs and created from their local constraints.

When the idea of creating a product of "social business" comes, many criteria must be taken into account to achieve the result that suits the community needs and constraints. According to François Colomban, director for Danone Food Design and R & D director for danone.communities, there are six key dimensions to consider:


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