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Danone :Protecting the water ecosystem to improve the sustainable watershed management

2016-03-23Sino-Swedish Corporate Socialadmin0010

Company Profile

Danone, one of the Fortune 500 companies, is the second largest producer of bottled water. Danone’s mission is to “bring health through food to as many people as possible.” In 2008, Danone settled its management headquarters in Guangzhou, which opened a new chapter of its business in China. In recent years, Danone has been developing steadily and holding three main brands, namely, Mizone, Robust and Yili. Mizone has mushroomed over the recent years and became the pillar brand in China’s beverage market. Danone has always kept its promise in performing the environment and social responsibility. It invests lots of money and human resources in CSR projects to deal with water resources conservation, climate change, community shared values, sustainable agriculture and package. 
Water shortage and pollution have become major concerns faced by different countries. In China, this is much more severe. China’s per capita volume of water resources is 2,300 cubic meters, accounting for a quarter of the world’s average and ranking 121st  in the world. China is the 13th largest water-poor country. What’s worse, 82% of China’s rivers and lakes are polluted. Every year, its economic loss because of water pollution reaches 37.7 billion yuan.
Water is the main ingredient of beverage, which means Danone’s beverage products are closely linked with water consumption. Thus, how to balance beverage manufacturing and water conservation is a problem that Danone wants to address.
Danone always believes that “healthy food is from the healthy nature.” To perform its mission, Danone began to set water ecosystem protection as its strategic focus in 2013. With IUCN, Danone Ecosystem Fund and other stakeholders, Danone initiated the project for water ecosystem protection in January, 2014. In view of the current degradation of ecological functions in China’s river basins, this project is aimed to restore the ecological condition surrounding the basins. The project also supports the capability building of local community, provides more sustainability opportunities and keeps the healthy ecological system and further to promote the development of sustainable watershed management.
The project starts with the Dongjiang river basin, one tributary of the Pearl River. In January 2014, a project named “Ecological Longmen” got underway. Through effective demonstration, communication, policy campaign and partners’ cooperation, this project can better preserve, restore and manage the ecological system. It can reduce the negative effects of rural communities’ production on water resources and improve the livelihood of stakeholders in the communities.A sustainable management model will be formed in Longmen and the Dongjiang river basin.
1) By participating in planning and restoring of ecological system, the project aims to improve the biodiversity and sustain a good water quality and adequate water volume in the Longmen river basin. The specific work includes ecological restoration in forestry, diversified planting of local plants such as bamboo, tea-oil trees and camphor trees.
2) By promoting the capability building on eco-friendly practices in communities, ,production and sales, and  developing self-service system, this plan is aimed to improve the agricultural sustainability and livelihood in Longmen area. They will take up detailed work in different aspects including planting more citruses, environmentally-friendly rice and vegetables, establishing stereoscopic orchards, repairing nectar sources and planting cedar wood. Meanwhile, the project organizes a mutual-help team of rural residents and invites agricultural experts to give famers some training on agricultural planting. This project also joins hands with local businesses to explore the promotions for ecologically-planted products.
3) By setting up the  stakeholders alliance and water resources protection fund, the project conducts the sustainable management and promotes environmental policies and practice in Longmen and Dongjiang river basins.
After this, Danone initiated the Xunwu project to protect the water resources in this area from three aspects.
1) Protecting and restoring the ecological system in Dongjiangyuan, Xunwu. This includes protecting the forest parks in Yajibo Mountain, Dongjiangyuan, declaring for the national wetland park for Dongjiangyuan and promoting the restoration and sustainability of the Dongjiangyuan wetland. 
2) Prompting the sustainable development of the rural community in Dongjiangyuan. This includes driving the livelihood of the rural community more sustainable and environmentally-friendly, promoting the project of dealing with the daily waste by constructed wetland pilot, and improve the management of daily rubbish in the community.
3) Improving the mechanism, capability building and conducting education campaign to call up more participants. This includes establishing a coordination mechanism among different departments, towns and villages, improving the environmental awareness of the community, and promoting the education campaign and mass participation.
In Shenzhen, the project of water ecosystem protection focuses on public education. Through education campaigns, this project will arouse the public attention in water ecosystem protection and attract them to participate and discuss feasible ways. 
Economic Achievement
Longmen factory, a new production base in China of Danone, produces 550,000 tons of natural and high-quality mineral water annually. In terms of the scale , it will become the largest production base for mineral water in China in the future. Protecting the water ecosystem in Longmencan ensures a natural, clean and high-quality water resource for Danone. It is essential for Danone and can make this company more competitive.
Social Achievement
In 2014, the project team of Danone completed the baseline survey in Longemen and also organized 17 training activities in agricultural planting and skills, with 500 farmers involved. These activities laid a foundation for a green and safe agriculture. In 2015, the project team, in joint efforts with local farmers, established cooperatives and mutual-help groups. They conducted a pilot project of planting in 100-acre land, planting citruses, ecological rice, and stereoscopic orchards. They explored how to industrialize and marketize the agriculture.
Environmental Achievement
In Longmen, Danone conducted a project to restore the ecological condition in the 200-acre land surrounding the water source and formulated a plan. The relevant work has been underway. In Xunwu, working with some professional organizations and the local government, Danone will launch the scientific water ecosystem protection from 2015 to 2020 and become the first company to conduct water conservation in Dongjiangyuan.
Danone will launch different kinds of water ecosystem protection in the upstream, midstream and downstream of the Dongjiang river basin. By doing this, Danone tries to find a water conservation mode involving businesses, professional organizations, local governments and the public. Danone hopes that more businesses and people will involve in this activity and provide some advice and reference in the practical aspect. Meanwhile, protecting water ecosystem can provide safer water resources for Danone and ensure Danone to perform its mission.
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