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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

French consumer goods giant Danone is already facing a lawsuit from an NGO over its plastic use, and a new article from Eco-Business could result in more legal troubles – this time in Indonesia. According to Eco-Business:

“A study of trash collected by Sungai Watch, a Bali-based environmental non-profit that deploys river barriers all over Indonesia to stop plastic debris from leaking into the ocean, found [Danone’s] Aqua-branded single-use water bottles to be by far the most commonly littered items, followed by products made by Indonesian consumer goods firms Wings Group and Indofood…

In a sustainability commitment made in 2018, Danone pledged to remove more plastic from the environment than it uses by 2025. It also promised to increase the ratio of recycled plastic it uses to make its bottles to 50 per cent by 2025, targets that will prove difficult to meet as low oil prices bump up the price of recycled plastic.”

Danone is well-known for its environmental commitments, even being a certified B Corp, but certifications have their own issues as the article points out (and we have too):

“Aqua was the first Indonesian company to be certified by B Lab, a London-headquartered certification scheme which rewards ‘beneficial corporations’, or B Corps, based on their social and environmental impact. Aqua attained B Corp status in 2018 and was re-certified in 2021. B Lab has faced scrutiny in recent months for enabling companies to greenwash.”

Not meeting company public environmental pledges continues to be more than just a reputational risk, but also a legal one internationally. Company public statements and pledges about environmental matters are under the microscope from everyone and everywhere. Certification and audit mechanisms are not a panacea, and in certain circumstances could increase the risk – especially where companies attempt to wholly “outsource” that risk (and its management) to certifications and audits.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile