Circular economy of packaging
At Danone, we want to offer nutritious, high-quality food and drinks in packaging that is 100% circular, and low carbon, keeping materials in use and out of nature.
Danone embraced the ambition of a circular economy of packaging and joined Ellen MacArthur Foundations New Plastics Economy initiative in 2017. In 2018, Danone signed the Global Commitment on Plastics, spearheaded by Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with the UN Environment Program, and has been working to advance on our targets.
Since 2018, we have made tangible progress in our packaging transformation:
- 84% of the packaging used by Danone in 2021 is reusable, recyclable or compostable (compared to 80% in 2018). For plastic packaging: this proportion is 74% (compared to 65% in 2018)
- Reduction and reuse:
~50% of Waters worldwide sales volumes were sold in reusable packaging in 2021
Between 2018 and 2021, Danone reduced its plastic use by 60,000 tonnes overall and nearly 90,000 tons for virgin plastic, a 12% virgin plastic reduction over this period
- Overall, we nearly doubled the usage of recycled content for plastics since 2018, reaching 11% in 2021
Danone is actively supporting new recycling technologies. In 2022, the company has secured partnerships with Loop Industries to enhance closed-loop recycling for PET bottles and enable the recycling of hard-to-recycle packaging and materials.
Moreover, in order to further reduce fossil resource use, Danone is exploring the development of renewable materials. For instance, Mizone, China’s leading vitamin water brand, has launched the world’s first-ever “Carbon Smart” concept bottle, a solution developed in partnership with LanzaTech which is using cutting-edge technology to capture and convert CO2 to make PET plastic bottles.
Progress towards a circular economy of packaging has been slowed by a number of systemic barriers. These include underdeveloped collection and recycling infrastructure for yogurt cups, underdeveloped reuse infrastructure, and scarcity of recycled content. Danone is actively working to help overcome these barriers. In 2022 we joined the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty. This new Coalition led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and WWF endorses a common vision for an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution, by providing a clear voice in the treaty negotiations to amplify the call for an ambitious and effective global treaty. We will remain active until the multilateral negotiations on the treaty are expected to conclude in mid-2025.