How can we make a business partner out of global warming?

How can we make a business partner out of global warming?

BrazilSão Paulo, Brazil
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Innovative, positive and with clear results!

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There is evidence that global warming is one of the biggest problems that we will confront in the mid term, and it’s a problem that is only intensified by the lack of sense of urgency! I have the task of contributing towards the transformation of Danone in Brazil, of making the company aware of and concerned about global warming and, more than that, act in order to avoid it! Since 2007, Danone has been developing its GEE Emissions Management Program. The same year, Danone’s CEO publicly declared the commitment of the company to reducing its emissions by 30% during the period of 2008 to 2012. Defined goals can be either a cure or a poison for business, depending on who carries out the tasks and establishes the way in which the goal will be used, prescribing it, if you will, in a way that will transform and bring about positive results.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

I established the GEE Emissions Management Program, which can be divided into three phases: planning, execution, and results evaluation. Each phase involves the participation of several departments within the company. In the planning phase, we set the annual target aligned with the departments. Afterwards, the life-cycle analysis is carried out, which enables the planning of initiatives and projects. In the beginning, the initiatives were focused on the industrial phase. With time, logistical initiatives and packaging changes also became key players in the reduction of emissions. In the execution phase, the projects are monitored by members of the Carbon Team (managers of different departments, led by me). The meetings involve the presentation and discussion about the new projects’ impacts on the company’s emissions. This way, those responsible have the capability of analyzing which attributes can be changed. The results of every project are reported and evaluated monthly by the senior management of Danone.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Danone Brazil’s GEE Emissions Management Program has brought about positive impacts. I have been able to propose several projects that reduce the emissions of GEEs and also reduce costs. One example is the change in the factories’ energy matrix, which previously had been fueled by electricity from the Integrated National System and now exclusively use electricity from small hydroelectric centers. When we were discussing this project, it was I who laid out in detail exactly what the impact in CO2 reduction would be and who sought to make the company aware of the urgency of making this switch. The reduction of GEEs also helped us to access new sources of capital, since according to the criteria for financing Danone Group investment projects, GEE emission reduction is taken into consideration. Projects that have an impact on emissions reduction are considered to be “Green Capex,” or a Green Spender of Capital. One example would be the substitution of boilers powered by residual fuel oil with boilers powered by biomass in the Poços de Caldas plant; normally, according to the rules regarding access to capital, this project would not be viable, but when I demonstrated the reduction potential that the project has, I was able to re-designate it as “Green Capex,” and today it remains the biggest reduction project that has been completed in the Danone Group. Ultimately, our credibility and interaction with stakeholders have improved; the creation of the GHG Protocol Inventory was accompanied by its publication on an open web platform. This way, any citizen can access Danone Brazil’s GEE emissions transparently, which is an innovation for Danone Brazil.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are various companies that are committed to GEE emissions reduction. However, few have such clear commitments and objective proposals. The explication that I gave to Danone about the challenges of climate change is that this is a moment of opportunity, to become a protagonist as compared to our competition—but not in a selfish way, since the more companies committed to these goals, the better! All the same, I believe that the innovative climate we have here at Danone Brazil and the commitment to making the managing of GEEs into a driver for change is hard to duplicate.

Founding Story

Since 2007, Danone has been developing a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Management Program. That year, Danone Group CEO Frank Riboud publicly declared the company’s commitment to reducing its relative emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GEEs) by thirty percent during the period of 2008 to 2012. In keeping with this objective, Danone Brazil has developed a robust Emissions Management Program over the last five years, a program which is integrated with the company’s management and which was capable of delivering significant reductions and incorporating innovations into management. The elements of this management system include: The objective of reducing emissions by 30% by 2012 was set by Danone Brazil and subsequently broken down into steps for each year. The annual goals were all exceeded, resulting in an accumulated 32% reduction by 2012. I led this program within Danone, counting on the contribution of all of the company’s departments.
About You
About You
First Name


Tell us about yourself/your team.

I’m a simple man who was born in the countryside of São Paulo, in Riberão Preto. I love fishing, soccer, and my family and friends.
Ever since I was young I’ve followed the examples I have; I believe that hard work, humility, and commitment to what’s coming next are the keys to success.

By following these principles daily and remembering my dream of transforming both myself and the world, I was able to have remarkable experiences: I was a professional soccer player, a motorcycle courier, a student at CAASO, an engineer, and today, a pragmatic dreamer at Danone.
Today I am the Manager of Sustainability, responsible for the management of the department and of its socioenvironmental priorities.

What makes you an intrapreneur? What are the skills, capabilities, and personality traits that make you an intrapreneur?

I always view problems and challenges in a positive light—and honestly, I am drawn to projects, attitudes, and activities that are true challenges. I am attracted to the unknown because I understand that it is an opportunity both for growth and to be able to make a difference wherever we go.

The longing for something new within a heart that concerns itself with making this world better for everyone is the fuel that powers me to propose changes and always find the energy to challenge businesses.

This call to change for the better resonates strongly with me, and therefore I am able to pass it on through true, honest relationships, and without losing the commitment to results that the world of business so badly needs!

This vision of a business that is more of a partner with society is contagious, makes people happy, and stimulates change! And that, I believe, is my strength!

About Your Organization
Company Country

, SP, São Paulo

Primary country where this project is creating social impact

, SP

Additional countries or regions

Consumer Products

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Established (past the previous stages and has demonstrated success)

The Solution: Why is this solution innovative for your company and industry?

It is innovative because it goes beyond emissions to the chain of production. The initiatives permeate several links of the value chain, like providers, processing, and post-consumption.
In conjunction with this idea, we proposed the Carbon Agreement, which was established with companies that provide prime materials and packaging.
Regarding packaging, one project that illustrates packaging innovation is FOAM, which takes its name from the English word, due to the introduction of air in its composition.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

From the beginning of the GEE Emissions Management Program in 2007 up until 2012, there was a total accumulated reduction of 32% along the production chain, which is the equivalent of a reduction of 209 grams of CO2 for every kilogram of product produced.
Some examples are:
- Biomass Boilers: reduction of 16,244.43 kg of CO2 per year (substituting BPF oil-powered boilers)
- DAL routing: reduction of 2,359.92 kg of CO2 per year (optimization of milk collection routes, minimizing displacement)
- Adoption of green HDPE plastic: reduction of 5,420.44 kg of CO2 per year
- Minimizing empty trucks returning: reduction of 4,074.46 kg of CO2 per year
Another result is the number of Carbon Agreements that have already been signed: 21 of our biggest providers have already committed themselves to establishing a plan for emissions reduction within the span of three years.
Besides that, it can be seen that such projects also bring other climate benefits, like the reduction of natural resources.

What is your projected impact over the next 1 to 3 years?

With all these good examples, we will continue on with our commitment to emissions reduction, betting more and more each time that this commitment to managing greenhouse gases drives us towards optimization of our processes, innovation, and engagement with our internal public and reputation.
Moreover, at the moment, 21 companies have already joined the Carbon Agreement proposed by Danone Brazil, and 14 more have already indicated that they will join. Thus, the dissemination of carbon emissions management is being carried out by Danone along the supply chain.
I believe that this way we will succeed in bringing about a consciousness that a GEE emissions reduction program can be a business partner for more companies.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

The main barrier might be a return to the mentality that a GEE Emissions Management Program and a public commitment could be anathema to the development of business; this becomes more latent during moments of low growth, like we are going through right now.
However, the cure for this is clear: INNOVATION. Through new products, processes, or ways of thinking, I will certainly continue to bring incontestable benefits to the business of Danone Brazil.

What is the benefit or value you're creating for your business?

The GEE Emissions Management Program is today a real business partner, bringing costs reduction and a high potential for innovation.
As we detailed in the previous questions, we have several evidences and rationale about why the program should be maintained.

How are you leveraging internal resources (funds, time, knowledge, etc.) to support this initiative?

Internal resources are invested according to the generated results. The results that a program focusing on greenhouse gases can bring are not always clear to different people and departments. That's the reason why developing creative strategies were essential to ensure engagement from the different areas. Beyond bringing evidence about the clear financial gains and innovations paths brought by the program, in different occasions I had to use strategies of personal gains, in the sense that in many circumstances, people are driven by their own need for recognition. So, I developed a way that they would be recognized for their contribution in the carbon project.

Expand on your answer, explaining the long-term funding and support plan.

There is no clear financial dependency in the continuity of the GEE Emissions Management Program. The most important factor is to keep the engagement of all areas and make sure the program is part of the strategic plan for the business. This is the key point to ensure the long-term success of the process. For example, I have attained that all and each of the Danone brands have now a sustainability "seed" in their strategies. I also planted this same kind of seed in the supply chain and purchasing department by ensuring a public commitment with consumers and other stakeholders. Public commitments are also essential for long term continuity.

Tell us about your partnerships across your company and externally that are key to your project's success.

In order to make the GEE Emissions Management Program a positive action to the company, partnerships were absolutely essential. Initially, because they support the understanding of the tools and methods. Afterwards, they will be the ones to ensure credibility and reputation in the topic. In this sense, partnerships ensure continuity
In my case, I had several and very important partnerships: The Getulio Vargas Foundation (TN: biggest Business School in Brazil), CES, Embrapa (Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research), Ipê Institute, CEMPRE (Business Commitment to Recycling NGO), and some universities, like USP and UFSCAR (two of Brazilian top universities).

What internal support have you gotten for your project? What kind of push-back have you received?

The main criticism we received was around the effective results of this kind of metrics. In different occasions I had to argue with other areas inside the company to better explain the results. Also, the other areas complained about how we could make the actions more palpable. In these occasions, the support I received from high level executives inside the company, such as the President from my department, were absolutely essential.