Danone pledges 100% renewable electricity by 2030, ups energy efficiency ambitions

Pictured: The company's manufacturing plant in Opole, Poland. Image: Danone

Called ‘Re-fuel Danone’, the strategy includes a commitment for all electricity used in operations to be renewable by 2030, up from 68.5% at present. Increased renewable electricity procurement, plus fuel switching elsewhere, will mean that at least half of Danone’s total global energy use in 2030 will be renewable.

On fuel switching, Danone has stated that its priority focuses for heating processes and buildings are biomass, solar thermal and hydrogen. One biomass project, in Indonesia, sees the corporate using crop husks to produce energy before returning the ash to farmers for use as fertiliser.

For both electricity and fuels, Danone has pledged to shift to local energy sources wherever possible, including self-generated renewable electricity. This has joint benefits of improving energy resilience and directly building local economies.

Re-fuel Danone also includes new commitments on energy efficiency. The overarching pledge is to improve energy efficiency by 30% by 2025.

The business has stated that it will use “a range of measures” to improve energy efficiency, including behavioural changes and more high-tech solutions, including real-rime building energy management systems (BEMS). In some sites, including Wexford, Ireland, and Opole, Poland, artificial intelligence (AI) has been applied to BEMs, enabling rapid and accurate analysis of energy use.

Danone’s global head of operations Vikram Agarwal said that meeting the new commitments will make the business “more sustainable, more agile, more cost efficient and more resilient”. Agarwal added: “It also adds to how we deliver for our customers and consumers and helps us reconnect performance and purpose, so marks further progress on our strategy to Renew Danone.”

‘Renew Danone’ is the name of the business’s updated strategic plan, released back in March. The company has stated that the plan “is all about creating the conditions for sustainable and competitive growth, and then delivering consistently in a way that creates sustainable value for all.“ It does not contain many new environmental targets, but rather deepens the link between its existing sustainability ambitions and plans to improve innovation and profitability.

Energy focus

edie’s recent Net-Zero Business Barometer Survey, completed by 148 energy and sustainability professionals at different organisations, found that 60% believe their employer has “heightened” work on energy efficiency. Similarly, more than half (56%) said their organisation is exploring or installing decentralised energy generation, such as onsite solar.

The majority of respondents also said that their organisation is likely to invest in behaviour change for sustainability in the next 12 months. This can be a cost-effective step. 49% said this is either a ‘high’ priority or a ‘business-critical’ priority. Only 5% said it was not a priority at all.

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