On the importance of sustainable diet

Climate change poses a serious threat to future food supplies because of animal and plant species disappearing in an unprecedented rate. These challenges will transform the way we produce, market, consume food, but for this to happen we must change our relationship with food both as producers and consumers. With a global population of 7 billion people and dwindling natural resources, we, as individuals, businesses and societies, need to learn to live and act in a sustainable way.

"The loss of biodiversity for food and agriculture is seriously undermining our ability to feed and nourish an ever-growing global population. We need to use biodiversity in a sustainable way, so that we can better respond to rising climate change challenges and produce food in a way that doesn't harm our environment." - Jose Graziano da Silva, head of the FAO

FAO - The State of the World's Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture

A global issue that requires collective action

This is pushing companies like ours to look for new and more sustainable solutions. We believe that this shift is inevitable and we need to incorporate sustainability in our long-term business strategies. The big change should be implemented at all levels from the supply chain, through our employees to the way we inform and educate our consumers. Sustainable food systems are the future of food and agriculture however they require shared solutions and some cross-sectoral collaboration.

Last year, we joined forces with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research UNITAR. The partnership aims to support and facilitate the implementation of our 2030 Goals and particularly the Goals addressing the environment and people’s health. The initiative will empower both our employees and the UN Climate Change:Learn (UN CC:Learn) Online Community (hosted by UNITAR) with knowledge and skills needed to take action against climate change by making better-informed food choices.

UNITAR's mission is to develop the capacities to enhance global decision-making and to support country-level action for shaping a better future. That was the basis for setting up The ONE UN Climate Change Learning Partnership bringing together over 30 different organizations. Through this mechanism, UNITAR has partnered with Danone.

By highlighting the environmental and social aspects of food production and consumption, this partnership is seeking to shift mindsets towards a more sustainable way of living. It is vital to incorporate sustainability into lifestyles and this starts with gaining an awareness of the impact of our everyday dietary choices. The food we eat has a huge effect on both people’s health and the well-being of our planet. Thoughtful and ethical consumption starts with knowledge, awareness, and information that empowers people to become agents of change by making well-informed choices. It is about including sustainable development issues, such as climate change and biodiversity, into consumers' decision-making. Both the business community and consumers need to contribute.

Encouraging education on the topic

At Danone, we believe the health of people and our planet are interconnected. Both need to be nourished and protected. We have taken this challenge seriously and encapsulated it in  our ‘One Planet. One Health’ vision. Our 2030 Goals have also been aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals to help our company change the paradigm and reinvent people's attitude towards food and the environment. Companies like ours must make serious strategic changes to give consumers the transparency they’re looking for in the supply chain. They should also facilitate learning and knowledge sharing on climate change and sustainability.

We are striving to shift mindsets by empowering our employees and changing the governance model from the bottom up. We believe that real change starts from within the company: employees should be a part of the decision-making process and they should guide the future business trajectory. That is why we launched our new participatory governance model ‘One Person, One Voice, One Share’ to  allow them to share their views and co-create the future for Danone and its customers all over the world.

Our partnership with UNITAR has resulted in an exciting video-based learning course which will help our employees as well as thousands of consumers all over the world to better understand the social and environmental impact of their food choices. Awareness of these issues is a starting point to change our relationship with the planet through our daily choices, and when it comes to our employees - also their work-related decisions that will allow us to reach our Goals while bringing our vision to life.