Danone North America Celebrates Deep Roots with Farmer Partners by Hosting its Fifth Annual Dairy Forum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Farmers from across the U.S. will convene, bringing together unparalleled mix of farmers with expertise in organic, non-GMO, grass-fed and conventional practices, to share, learn and connect

White Plains, NY (October 18, 2018) – On Monday, October 22nd, Danone North America will open the fifth annual dairy forum in Philadelphia, PA. Rich in America’s history, Philadelphia is the perfect backdrop for this year’s forum, which pays tribute to not only the deep history the company is building together with farmer partners, but also to mark the 75th year of the company in the U.S. under its flagship Dannon brand. Steeped in America’s history, the suburbs and surrounding areas of Philadelphia are home to many of the family farms that supply Danone North America with the milk used to make delicious dairy products.
To provide people with beloved food and beverage brands including Dannon®, Danimals®, and Horizon Organic®, among others, Danone North America relies on farmer partner relationships to source ingredients made with integrity. Farmers with expertise in animal agriculture and growing feed, ranging from organic to non-GMO to conventional practices, will convene from October 22-24, 2018 from as nearby as Philadelphia’s surroundings to as far west as California, reflecting Danone North America’s continued commitment to serving the increasing consumer demand for more diverse food options to meet individual needs and preferences.
The company’s direct relationship with farmers also helped Danone North America achieve Certification as the world’s largest B Corp™, as relationships with suppliers are one of the many areas evaluated in the rigorous “Business Impact Assessment,” which looks at company stances and practices via hundreds of questions about governance, environment, communities and workers. B Corp Certification is for businesses what organic is to food products: a promise that a company is committed to doing business in a certain way.
“We look forward to the dairy forum every year because it gives us the opportunity to convene and spend time with our farmers, who are at the heart of our business. People care about where their food comes from, how it was grown, how it arrived in their hands, how the employees who helped make it are treated, and how foods impact their health and the future of the planet. Working with farmers, which we do daily, enables us to provide the transparency that is important to them as they make choices about what food and beverages they will buy to nourish their families,” said Mariano Lozano, CEO of Danone North America. “We are doing a lot of work directly with our farmer partners from conducting soil health research to ensuring our supply chain meets the rigorous standards needed for B Corp Certification. They are one of our most important stakeholders, and it’s incredibly valuable to bring them all together to share learnings both ways.”
Over the course of the two-day forum, farmer partners will participate in a customized program designed to engage them in the topics that matter to them, including an update on Danone’s history and business with Mariano Lozano, CEO of Danone North America. Following the business update, farmers will have the opportunity to participate in an unfiltered Q&A with Mariano. This level of transparency and accessibility reflects Danone North America’s commitment to working directly with dairy farmers as mutually-reliant business partners, and as dedicated stewards of the environment.
The forum agenda also features: learning sessions, an update on the role of the supplier for B Corp Certification, a farmer panel featuring farmers specializing in organic, grass-fed and non-GMO practices with representation from different regions, an update on soil health, a talk on the history and future of capitalism with Jay Coen Gilbert, Co-Founder, B Lab, a conversation with Michael Dykes, President of IDFA and a keynote with guest speaker Darci Vetter, former USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator and current GM for Public Affairs at Edelman.
The forum will also feature an awards ceremony, during which Danone North America will recognize select partners for exceptional work in four key areas: nature, economics, well-being and social. The company will also honor a Supplier of the Year. In addition to these honors, Danone North America awarded eight recipients with 2018 HOPE Scholarships, a program that encourages young people to pursue careers in organic or sustainable agriculture, and/or large animal veterinary science. The students, each of whom will receive $3,500, are children or grandchildren of Danone North America’s robust network of family farmers. During the past 11 years, the HOPE Scholarship program has gifted nearly $128,000 to 46 college students pursuing a degree in agriculture and related fields.
“We have been partners with Danone North America since 2014 and have been coming to the annual forum since year one,” said Trent Stoller, Owner and Farm Operations Manager, GreenTop Acres. “Each year, we come away inspired by the chance we have to not only connect with colleagues and industry experts, but by how accessible and transparent the company is. In this relationship, Danone North America’s unwavering commitment to our farm has unquestionably helped us become better farmers, and solidify our business by celebrating our successes as well as allowing us to evolve as we continue to learn.”
About Danone North America
Danone North America is a Certified B Corporation business unit of Danone and operates in the U.S. from headquarter offices in White Plains, NY and Broomfield, CO. Danone North America was formed as a Public Benefit Corporation in 2017 to nourish people, communities and the world through its diverse portfolio of healthful dairy- and plant-based products, coffee creamers and beverages. Its portfolio of brands includes: Activia®, DanActive®, Danimals®, Dannon®, Danonino®, Danone®, Earthbound Farm®, Horizon Organic® premium dairy products, International Delight® coffee creamers and iced coffee, Light & Fit®, Oikos® Greek yogurt, Silk® plant-based foods and beverages, So Delicious® Dairy Free, Vega® and Wallaby® Organic. The mission of the Company is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. For more information, please visit DanoneNorthAmerica.com.
Media Contact:
Alessandra Simkin
Danone North America