1972

Antoine Riboud’s groundbreaking speech in Marseille

Antoine Riboud’s groundbreaking speech in Marseille

Let us conduct our businesses with both the heart and the head

These famous words were pronounced by former CEO of Danone, Antoine Riboud, during his groundbreaking 1972 speech, transforming the way society consider business. Influenced by the ideals of the French social protest movement of May 1968, Antoine Riboud called for a different approach to business and paved the way for a new vision of corporate social responsibility. This marked the birth of Danone’s dual commitment : business success with social progress.

Corporate responsibility does not end at the factory gate or the office door

It is clear that growth should no longer be an end in itself, but rather a tool used to serve the quality of life without ever being detrimental to it.

That a company takes into account all its stakeholders is not an act of faith, but an act of reason: no company can thrive in a desert

2005

Professor Muhammad Yunus and Franck Riboud meet for the first time

Pr Muhammad Yunus and Franck Riboud met for the first time

2006

THE GENESIS

Nobel laureate Pr Yunus and former CEO Franck Riboud create the world’s first corporate social business designed to create social good: Grameen Danone Foods Ltd.

Grameen Danone Foods Ltd.

“We created something new under the sun: the world’s very first consciously designed multinational social business” – Professor Yunus

Business as usual went out of the window with this groundbreaking new concept – a social business. Social business is defined by Pr Yunus with 7 principles:

  1. Business objective will be to overcome poverty, or one or more problems (such as education, health, technology access, and environment) which threaten people and society; not profit maximization
  2. Financial and economic sustainability
  3. Investors get back their investment amount only. No dividend is given beyond investment money
  4. When investment amount is paid back, company profit stays with the company for expansion and improvement
  5. Gender sensitive and environmentally conscious
  6. Workforce gets market wage with better working conditions
  7. …Do it with joy

2007

THE BIRTH

Danone Communities Fund is created to support social businesses entrepreneurs and to promote the idea of social business.

2007 – 2011

THE FOUNDATIONS

In the first 5 years Danone Communities invests in 7 social businesses and incubates 3 innovation pilots.

2012 – 2016

THE CONSOLIDATION

In those 5 years “learning by walking” we bring support to the businesses with a specific focus on developing teams, implementing processes, pivoting models in order to improve financial sustainability. All these prerequisites to prepare scale up and grow the impact.

2016 onwards

GROWTH

With 5 new investments, Danone Communities increases dramatically its social impact from nearly 1 million in 2010 to more than 6 million in 2019, with 12 businesses in 18 countries.

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