In October 2005, Franck Riboud (then Chairman and CEO of Danone) met Muhammad Yunus, who had founded Grameen microcredit bank and would soon win the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Together, the two men decided to explore the possibility of a Danone-Grameen partnership in Bangladesh, and in March 2006 announced the creation of Grameen Danone Foods, Ltd (GDFL) in Dhaka. GDFL aims to fight poverty and malnutrition in Bangladesh and to create positive social impact throughout its value cycle.
©Sandro di Carlo Darsa
HOW DOES THE PROJECT CONTRIBUTE TO DANONE’S 2030 GOALS?
"We need a new type of business that pursues goals other than making personal profit—a business that is totally dedicated to solving social and environmental problems," wrote Muhammad Yunus.
In Bangladesh, over 54% of preschool-aged children—some 9.5 million youngsters—are malnourished, and 56% of them are underweight.
Bangladeshi children also suffer from high rates of micronutrient deficiencies, particularly vitamin A, iron, iodine and zinc. And all of these deficiencies have an immediate impact on physical and cognitive development.
Malnutrition is nearly as prevalent in towns and cities as in rural areas, affecting 38% of children, while stunting affects 42% of urban youngsters.
In this context, GDFL aims to overcome poverty in Bangladesh while being financially and economically sustainable and as community-relevant as possible. The company sells Shokti + yogurt—designed to deliver 30% of the daily requirement for iron, zinc, vitamin A and iodine—at an affordable price through a dense distribution system serving both urban and rural populations.
HOW DOES IT CREATE VALUE?
GDFL produces Shokti +, but the company generates broader social benefits as well. On the supply side, it supports small local farmers by buying their milk, and on the distribution side it provides work and empowerment for the 'Grameen Ladies' who sell GDFL products in rural areas.
After becoming a B CorpTM in 2018, Grameen Danone became B CorpTM “Best for the world” in 2019, in the Community category. This recognizes the positive impact towards a shared, sustainable prosperity for all.
Grameen Danone impacts 300,000 children in Bangladesh, has created sustainable revenues for 500 farmers, 200 “Grameen ladies” and 117 van pullers, distributing the products.