We know breastfeeding is best. Danone supports the WHO’s global public health recommendation and government policies calling for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of age and continued breastfeeding up to two years and beyond, combined with the safe introduction of appropriate complementary foods.
We believe that it is the industry’s responsibility to adopt, implement and enforce strict policies to ensure marketing practices do not negatively affect the choice and ability of mothers to breastfeed their infants optimally, in line with the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes. We are committed to fostering a proactive, constructive and evidence-based dialogue supporting breastfeeding around the world and endorse the principles of openness, transparency and integrity in our advocacy activities.
Breast Milk Substitutes (BMS) Call to Action
In June 2020, together with UNICEF and several civil society organisations, the WHO published a Call to Action for companies that manufacture breast milk substitutes (formula) to publicly commit and take steps towards full compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (WHO Code) by 2030.
At Danone we have long supported the aims and principles of the WHO Code, that has guided the development of our formula marketing policies and practices in recent years. We believe that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for babies and we share the objective of the WHO, UNICEF and civil society organisations to increase breastfeeding, reduce malnutrition amongst babies and young children and improve the nutritional status of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Above all, we are convinced of the need for collective action and shared solutions. We aim now to take our work in this area to the next level, working through new partnerships with UN bodies, civil society organisations, industry and pediatric medical associations.
We have provided our response to the BMS Call to Action as per the process and timeline indicated by the Meridian Institute that is facilitating the Call to Action. Details for our response are accessible here:
Danone response to the breastmilk substitutes call to action (pdf)
Policies & procedures
Danone has been the first company to apply a voluntary global policy that prohibits, without exception, the advertising and promotion of infant formula and delivery products (such as bottles and teats) for infants up to six months of age, even if permitted by local laws. In countries classified as higher-risk countries (in terms of levels of infant mortality and morbidity), Danone has voluntarily extended its advertising and promotion prohibition up to 12 months of age, which often goes beyond local legislation. In these countries, Danone also prohibits the promotion of complementary foods and drinks for use by infants up to six months. Find out more here:
- Danone Health Care system (HCS) Compliance policy (pdf)
- Danone Global Parental Policy (pdf)
Danone has been engaging with qualified third-party experts to undertake external audits.
The 2018 edition of the global Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI) ranks Danone among the top 3 performing food companies. We ranked 1st in the Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes category, with our management systems recognised as the strongest evaluated.
Danone is proud to be included in the FTSE4Good Index Series. FTSE Russell (the trading name of FTSE International Limited and Frank Russell Company) confirms that Danone has been independently assessed according to the FTSE4Good criteria, and has satisfied the requirements to become a constituent of the FTSE4Good Index Series. Created by the global index provider FTSE Russell, the FTSE4Good Index Series is designed to measure the performance of companies demonstrating strong Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices. The FTSE4Good indices are used by a wide variety of market participants to create and assess responsible investment funds and other products.
Reporting on our compliance
Danone has committed to prepare and publish an annual report detailing its compliance with the Danone Policy for the Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes. A clear process is in place to define the handling of allegations of potential non-compliance by Danone employees. Every allegation of potential non-compliance is centrally logged and followed-up until closure.