When women perform, companies perform

At Danone, we are committed to create and foster an inclusive and diverse environment, which we are certain will drive our growth further not only as a business and as teams, but also as individual members of communities. By valuing diversity, we recognize and respect the beauty that lies in our differences and similarities, in addition to ensuring that all our employees are given equal opportunity and that our organization is representative of society.

An inclusive approach to diversity

We believe that all differences, both visible and invisible, such as age, gender, nationality, disability, background, religion, education, mindset, culture and sexual preference, should be embraced. That’s why we have committed to promoting greater diversity within the company. It all started in 2007, with the signing of the Global Agreement on equal opportunities with the International Union of Food and Allied Workers (IUF). Emmanuel Faber, as well as the Executive Committee vowed to achieve by 2020 a total of 30% female executives.

In 2017, we launched our Inclusive Diversity (ID) program setting out our key commitments, with three priority areas: inclusive behaviors, gender balance, and culture & nationalities. A set of target KPI’s were created for each priority to reach by 2020, and we monitor our progress every year to assess how we are doing.

For us, Inclusive Diversity is best approached and implemented locally, so as to remain truly relevant to local cultures & beliefs, and to business contexts. For this reason, since 2017, all of Danone’s business units worldwide have been encouraged to address a wider variety of ID topics, in addition to our three global priorities. Local teams have developed their own ID roadmaps to be implemented starting 2019. We believe that this approach will ensure that our differences will make the difference.

In recognition for the progress made to date, we have received the GEEIS-DIVERSITY (Gender Equality & Diversity European & International Standard) certification for 3 of our subsidiaries – Italy, Singapore and our Paris headquarters. Created by the Arborus Fund, the GEEIS label recognizes our level of involvement in building an inclusive and diverse workplace, as well as the deployment of our Inclusive Diversity agenda both at company and subsidiary level. Gaining GEEIS certifications is a means for us to keep track of our progress, while scaling-up our ambition based on our scores.  Our objective is to have more of our subsidiaries certified in the near future.

Focus on gender equality

As part of our continuing commitment towards gender balance, we are proud to be part of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI) for 2019. The 230 companies included in the 2019 Bloomberg GEI have made a difference in the way they support gender equality, by placing transparency at the forefront of their commitment. In fact, the companies selected have publicly released the numbers behind their efforts to advance gender equality within their companies and communities. To that effect, inclusion in the GEI sends a strong message to employees, investors and industry peers alike that we are working continuously towards a truly inclusive workplace.

Gender equality in practice

We believe that it is important to offer equal opportunities for women and men in all fields of the economy and at all job levels. Supporting women rights and gender equality is a widely proven recipe for more sustainable growth and inclusive prosperity. Our ambition is to have gender-diverse representation of employees at every level.

The proportion of Danone female managers, directors and executives has improved at 50% in 2018 (49% in 2017). Danone achieved these results mainly thanks to the following measures:

  • clear development plan for both men and women talents
  • improved talent review process with clear data analysis on gender balance at different levels and Functions, as well as, introducing methodologies where bias is minimized during the talent review process
  • women in short-listed candidates where relevant for external recruitment (e.g. Cycles & Procurement, IS/IT)
  • specific female talents development where relevant such as mentoring and visibility program
  • implementation of global parental policy (see more explanation below)
  • measures supporting flexible working hours for men and women
  • wage equality
  • support for women through ad hoc training programs (Women in Leadership), networking (EVE seminar, EVE the blog, etc.) and mentoring (Eve2Eve)
  • inclusion of men in the diversity approach (participation in EVE seminars and HeForShe)

We will achieve this by implementing a gender-neutral, global parental policy; monitoring gender pay gap; implementing robust HR processes and policies (such as recruitment and talent review); and providing specific development programs for our female talents.


HeForShe is a global UN Women solidarity campaign launched in 2014, with the aim of empowering women with the support of men. The campaign encourages people from three different sectors (political, corporate and academic) to become advocates of the cause and exercise their influence to change mentalities.

In 2016, HeForShe was implemented by Danone in several countries (Indonesia, Brazil, the Netherlands, and Italy), leveraging the Leadership Mentoring program which gives recently appointed women leaders the opportunity to be mentored by senior leaders.

In 2017, Danone reached a new milestone in gender balance with the launch of its Global Parental Policy. In recognition of the expected impact of this gender neutral policy, Emmanuel Faber has been named “Inaugural Thematic Champion” by the UN Women HeForShe movement. Progress made towards the implementation of this policy is reported in the 2018 HeForShe Impact Report, and was shared by Emmanuel Faber on the stage of the HeForShe Impact Summit the same year, alongside other Impact and Thematic Champions.

Our engagement for gender balance is also one for which our brands take action. In Mexico, for instance, our mineral water brand Bonafont has partnered with UN Women to initiate several actions, namely the creation of a HeForShe limited edition bottle. All proceeds from the sale of these bottles have leveraged projects for women’s empowerment, especially in regions affected by the 2017 earthquake.

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