Working Towards a Sustainable Future: Meet Hanna Barnett


Working Towards a Sustainable Future: Meet Hanna Barnett

Not completed

Working Towards a Sustainable Future: Meet Hanna Barnett

Working Towards a Sustainable Future: Meet Hanna Barnett

At five years old, Hanna Barnett ran a lemonade stand in front of her house. It’s a typical scene for a kid looking to make some extra money. But unlike many kids her age, her intent was not to keep her earnings. Hanna was passionate about marine conservation and every cent she made would be donated to ocean conservation efforts.

These days, Hanna continues her passion for sustainability as Danone North America's Associate Manager of Strategic Partnerships and Impact Measurement for the Mission and Sustainability Team. It’s a long title with a big impact: Her work is key to helping Danone North America maintain its B Corp status.

Building a B Corp 

Everything Hanna does in her role supports Danone North America’s efforts to bring health through food in the most sustainable ways possible. She’s part of a team that is responsible for the company’s North America-based recertification efforts. In addition to her immediate team, Hanna works with about 150 US, Canadian and French Danoners who help her gather the information needed to recertify.

“We work with people from our manufacturing and Operations teams at local sites all the way to working with HR, our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team and our Research & Innovation department,” Hanna says. “[The work to recertify as a B Corp] truly does spread across the entire organization.”

Hanna also works with customers like Walmart that want to learn more about the sustainability efforts of their suppliers. These customer inquiries require her to translate complicated terminology into a message that both customers and consumers can understand.

“Sharing what scientists and our experts know so that a consumer can feel confident in what they’re purchasing is an incredibly complicated process,” Hanna says. “That translation ability requires creativity and listening, and I just think that’s the coolest thing.” 

Recently, Hanna and Director of Strategic Partnerships & Impact Measurement, Joyelle Lee, worked to compile information for Walmart’s Project Gigaton, an effort to help reduce emissions in the global value chain by 1 billion metric tons. As a result, Danone was named a Giga Guru, a company that has set goals and demonstrated results to reduce emissions. 

 A Life-Long Passion 

Reflecting on her lemonade stand days, Hanna says a career in sustainability was an obvious choice for her, but the journey wasn’t direct. 

“I feel like it’s something I’ve known for a very long time,” Hanna says. “It’s always been a bit of an obsession for me. I took a bit of a weird, wacky journey to get here.” 

Hanna went to Tulane where she majored in Finance and minored in Legal, with a specialization in Entrepreneurial Management. She also majored in Political Science with a minor in French while studying abroad for three semesters in Cameroon, Vietnam and France. She did all of this in four years.

While in school, Hanna interned at McKinsey, one of the world’s largest management consulting firms. The company offered her a job upon graduation, but before her start date, she used the summer to pursue an ocean-related passion – getting her dive master certification in Mexico.   

Hanna’s work at McKinsey focused primarily on sustainability including solar procurement, long-duration energy storage, decarbonization, blue carbon credits, anti-human trafficking, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), climate resilience post disasters and working with food insecure areas. Before joining Danone, Hanna worked for a small startup where she led a department in building a DEI tool and helped Fortune 500s develop DEI programs.

“I just love connecting people to create good in the world,” Hanna says. “That’s when I feel the most centered in the work I do and eager to jump out of bed in the morning.” 

Working for Danone – Making an Impact

While Hanna says all certifications are a lot of work–especially considering that she has to gather information from 150 people organization-wide–she doesn’t consider the process to be a challenge, but more of an opportunity. 

“B Corp certification allows us to have a strong overview of the entire organization,” Hanna says. “So, from a thousand-foot view, we can see our strengths and our opportunities. It helps us learn what our next work can be and what we can do to make the organization better.”

To Hanna, Danone is an example of how a business can simultaneously work toward benefiting the world and its customers. 

“I think being a B Corp means being on the road to reimagining a balance between a healthy economy, a healthy world and happy people,” Hanna says. “I take pride in knowing that every aspect of the good we do touches every corner of the business and the communities we work in.”

Working Towards a Sustainable Future: Meet Hanna Barnett

Related News

Working Towards a Sustainable Future: Meet Hanna Barnett