Global dairy company, Danone, has said that it is “surprised” by an accusation regarding its use of plastics along its supply chain.

Three environmental groups – ClientEarth, Zero Waste France and SurfRider Foundation Europe – are jointly taking the food giant Danone to court over its use of plastic.

The three organisations claim that Danone “does not respect legal obligations under French law. It is urgent that it deplastifies its activity”. 

They have also claimed that it’s the first time a food company is being sued in France for its plastic use, throughout its whole supply chain, based on the the 2017 French Duty of Vigilance law.


The main bone of contention expressed by the environmental groups is that they claim Danone’s 2021 Vigilance Plan does not identify the use of plastics as a major risk in its operations.

“By not mentioning plastic in its plan, or explaining how the company intends to mitigate the risks related to plastic, we believe that Danone is not complying with its legal obligations,” the organisations claimed.

“In its vigilance plan, we expect from Danone a complete assessment of its plastic use. This includes mapping the impacts its use of plastics has on the environment, climate, health and human rights from production to end-of-life.

“We also ask for a deplastification plan based on the plastics assessment with quantified and dated objectives.”

In a statement to Agriland, Danone said: “We are very surprised by this accusation, which we strongly refute. Danone has long been recognised as a pioneer in environmental risk management, and we remain fully committed and determined to act responsibly.

“We are implementing a comprehensive framework of actions aimed at reducing the use of plastic, developing reuse, strengthening collection and recycling schemes, and developing alternative materials.

“We have already made significant progress on each of these fronts, particularly on plastic reduction, with -12% at global level (-60,000t) between 2018 and 2021,” the company stated.

Danone also acknowledged that putting an end to plastic pollution cannot come from one single company and requires the mobilisation of all stakeholders, while respecting the requirements food safety.

“This is why we support the adoption, under the aegis of the United Nations, of a legally binding international treaty,” Danone added.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of Danone, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, visited the company’s Irish plant in Co. Wexford last last year, as part of a new global energy excellence programme.

The Re-Fuel programme aims to improve energy efficiency by 30% by 2025 within the food and drink business.