NGOs take French food giant Danone to court over plastics footprint

© REUTERS - ERIC GAILLARD

Three French environmental groups on Monday took legal action against Paris-based dairy group Danone, the world’s biggest yoghurt maker, over its use of plastic across the supply chain.

Ocean protection group the Surfrider Foundation and its partners Client Earth and Zero Waste France accuse Danone of failing to sufficiently account for all the plastic used along its production cycles.

Danone, which also produces popular mineral water brand Evian as well as infant formula, said it was "very surprised” by the accusation which it “firmly refuted”.

The case, brought before a Paris civil court, comes as a growing number of green groups take aim at large companies via a 2017 French "duty of care" law that holds large corporations to account over their environmental impact.

'Duty of care'

"We want Danone to re-publish its compulsory duty of care report and specifically account for its plastic use, including a concrete strategy to reduce it," said Antidia Citores, the French spokeswoman for Surfrider Foundation Europe.

She added that Danone so far did not sufficiently account for all the plastic used along its production cycles from agriculture to packaging and was not telling the public how exactly it intends to reduce its use.

It is now up to a judge to decide whether or not to open a lawsuit.

Danone has a public goal for every piece of its packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

“We have already made significant progress on each of these fronts, particularly on plastic reduction, with, for example, a decrease of 12 percent at global level between 2018 and 2021.”


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