We’re taking Danone to court over plastic pollution – France

Posted on January 14, 2023 by DrRossH in Plastic Waste News


In September 2022, we issued legal warnings to Danone and a number of other companies including Nestlé France and McDonald’s France, for inadequately addressing the risks related to the plastic pollution they produce. Danone responded, but it wasn’t good enough. So we’re going to court. 

We think Danone is burying its head in the sand when it comes to plastics.

In 2021, the company used more than 750,000 tonnes of plastic – the equivalent of almost 75 Eiffel Towers – even more than it did in 2020.

As a producer and supplier of food products generally packed in single-use plastic, it has never adopted adequate measures to address the harm related to its use of plastics.

That’s despite the fact that it’s amongst the top 10 biggest plastic producers worldwide.

Plastics are present throughout its supply chain, with a huge amount used to package its products, including water bottles and yoghurt pots.

What is Danone legally obliged to do?

The French Duty of Vigilance lawis a groundbreaking new law that was adopted in response to the Rana Plaza tragedy – the collapse of a textile factory in Bangladesh in 2013 which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 people. The discovery of labels from famous clothing brands in the rubble moved public opinion. Until the law was adopted, companies were not held responsible for what happens in their value chain.

But now, under this law, large companies with more than 5,000 employees in France, or 10,000 employees in France and their foreign subsidiaries, must publish an annual ‘vigilance plan’ identifying the environmental and social risks stemming from their activities and those of their subsidiaries, suppliers and subcontractors, all around the world. These plans must include mitigation and prevention measures adapted to the severity of these risks, as well as a report on the implementation of these measures. 

Logically, given the scale of the plastics crisis, we believe this law should oblige companies to provide satisfactory responses on the subject. But Danone’s ‘vigilance plan’ remains completely silent on plastics.