Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Danone asks shareholders to back social fund

March 2007

The French food group Danone is to invite its shareholders to use their dividends to create a business development fund for social causes. Danone will present the proposal for shareholder approval at its annual meeting in Paris in July.

The company’s shareholders will be asked to reinvest all or part of their dividend payments in the ‘danone.communities’  fund, which will support businesses worldwide that are profit-seeking but make ‘social and societal goals rather than earnings’ their first priority. Employees will be able to contribute via the company’s profit-sharing scheme.

If approved, the fund will invest in businesses that further the group’s aim of ‘bringing health through food to a majority of people’. The fund will work primarily in parts of the world where Danone already operates and is likely to favour new ventures that promote health and good nutrition. Its first planned investment is in Bangladesh to provide micro-credit for local entrepreneurs.

Danone recently formed a board-level social responsibility committee.

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