Danone joins forces with Colruyt Group to further expand Eco-score in Belgium

Danone joins forces with Colruyt Group to further expand Eco-score in Belgium

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Danone is the first to start a collaboration with Colruyt Group around Eco-score. By using the Eco-Score for their dairy and vegetable products, Danone wants to be more transparent about the environmental impact of their products, while also encouraging consumers to make more sustainable food choices. Additionally, it will also be telling of how consumers respond to an environmental score. With letter and colour codes from A (green, low impact) to E (red, high impact), the Eco-score summarises the environmental impact throughout a product's life cycle, considering also other criteria, such as the use of recyclable packaging and local sourcing of ingredients. With this Eco-score partnership, Colruyt Group, which launched the Eco-score in Belgium two years ago, and B Corp Danone actively work together to give consumers the opportunity to make product choices based on their impact on the planet.

Danone reaffirms its pioneering role in terms of sustainability and transparency

Danone and Colruyt Group favour a harmonised European system for environmental labelling. The Eco-score has now become a feasible and scalable science-based method to provide consumers with additional simple information on the environmental impact of various food products. The score consists of two parts: first, the results of a product's life cycle analysis (from farm to fork) and, second, additional indicators according to a bonus-malus system, including recyclability of packaging and local origin of ingredients. The Eco-score is much more than just CO2 emissions - the 'carbon footprint'. The system of coloured leaves intends to make consumers aware of a product’s carbon footprint in just a glance.

Colruyt Group and Danone are working together to raise awareness about the environmental impact of products and to learn how consumers understand an environmental score. Danone offers Colruyt Group full insight into the environmental impact of its dairy and vegetable products and transparently shares this information with consumers by means of the Eco-score. Danone's dairy and vegetable range predominantly includes A and B products, as well as a number of products with a C or D score. More information on the Eco-score will be available online during the cooperation on both Danone's websites and via the Xtra-app, Collect&Go and Colruyt Group websites, as well as on shop shelves, where the Eco-score will be displayed on the electronic price label and on additional displays.

Danone will also launch communication campaigns about the Eco-score for certain products, in cooperation with Colruyt Lowest Prices shops where customers can find the products. These include the Danone Fruit and Danone Fruix yoghurt range, and the Alpro soy drink, Alpro vegetable alternative to yoghurt 'plain' and Alpro This is not M*LK Chocolate. Each of the above products has an A rating. For example, Danone Fruit yoghurt is produced locally at the Rotselaar plant, with milk supplied by local family farms that reduced their CO2 emissions by 20% between 2017 and 2021. The yoghurt jars are also recyclable. Alpro's vegetable alternatives, in turn, are produced locally at the Wevelgem plant using mainly European soya beans, or at the Alsace plant using soya grown within a 50-km radius of the production site. All soya beans have the ProTerra certificate, which guarantees non-genetically modified soya beans not derived from deforested areas. The cocoa used for Alpro This is not M*LK Chocolate carries the Rainforest Alliance certificate.

"For Danone, eco-labels can be an important tool to support consumers in making more sustainable choices. We strongly advocate the introduction of a European system, but in the meantime we are starting a pilot project in Belgium together with Colruyt Group about the Eco-score, which for us meets a number of important criteria. The system is science-based, clear, consumer-friendly and holistic, and takes into account wider environmental issues than just carbon emissions. For us as a B Corp® company, testing this Eco-score on our dairy and vegetable products is a great opportunity to learn how consumers understand the Eco-score and to strengthen our sustainability ambitions," explains Nathalie Pfaff, general country manager Danone BeLux.

Colruyt Group, an Eco-score pioneer since 2021

The Eco-score methodology is science-based and was developed in 2021 in France by a collective of independent players. Not much later that year, Colruyt Group launched the Eco-score as a pioneer in Belgium and has been surveying the environmental impact of its entire product portfolio ever since.

In addition, Colruyt Group also introduced a savings programme around the Eco-score in November. This is how the retail group wants to motivate customers to shop more sustainably, while giving them the opportunity to take concrete action. Customers can save points by buying products with Eco-score A and B. Through a cooperation with local partners, customers can then use these points to, for example, plant a tree or sow a flower meadow: all environment-related and local projects. The first results from the savings programme already emerged last year. It involves more than 11,000 m² of flower meadows, 6,500 trees and 4,000 m² of nature area.

"At Colruyt Group, we not only want to actively scrutinise and improve the environmental impact of our private label products. We are also convinced that working with a well-known and committed company like Danone is an extra step to make consumers more aware of the environmental impact of their choices. We are therefore very pleased to welcome Danone as a partner to further roll out the Eco-score. It's good that Danone will use the Eco-score in advertising campaigns together with our Colruyt Lowest Prices shops, because this way we can reach even more people and have more impact. Finally, Danone has also given us valuable data on their products, allowing us to look at the Eco-scores even more accurately and learn from them ," said Stefan Goethaert, COO at Colruyt Group and responsible for the Eco-score project.