Danone Serves Up a More Sustainable Future

Heather McIlvaine

Danone products delight millions of people every day. Fueled by a holistic commitment to sustainability, Danone is satisfying more than the world’s appetite for healthy foods. They are helping consumers make better choices as they become more sustainable, one container of yogurt, milk, and water at a time.

With 35,000 items that come from water, milk, fruits, and plants, it’s no wonder sustainability is in this €17 billion company’s DNA. They aim to deliver sustainable, healthy products that drive overall economic performance. In fact, the company’s executive board sees sustainability as a strategic priority. Explains Franck Riboud, Chairman and CEO, Danone, “My vision for Danone: a company that creates economic value while creating social value.”

Danone has adopted a measured approach to integrate sustainable business practices across its 160 plants on five continents in over 120 countries. They’ve established carbon reduction as a guiding principle, and have even appointed a “Vice President for Nature.” Senior management has elevated carbon reduction to coequal status with business targets, and tied bonuses for 1,400 global managers to their performance around environmental objectives. The company also works hard to optimize water usage, which is key to operations. Transparency to consumers and retailers, as well as support for new standards and legislation in the countries where it operates, are foundational to Danone’s growth strategy driven by sustainability.

Partnership with SAP

To help achieve this remarkable transformation, Danone has partnered with SAP to help make sustainability an integral part of how Danone does business every day. The two companies are united by a shared commitment to innovative IT strategies that will meet their promises to consumers and the challenges of today’s environment, as well as comply with changing country regulations.


In a resource-constrained world where consumers want to make better choices, both companies know sustainability is not only about conservation or recycling. Real change can only occur by taking a measured business approach to determine the cost of materials and products across the supply chain, from sourcing to production to delivery and beyond.


As a result, Danone implemented SAP BusinessObjects solutions to collect, measure, analyze, and reduce its carbon footprint across its entire 35,000 product line. Relying on SAP BusinessObjects Profitability and Cost ManagementSAP BusinessObjects Financial Information Management, and SAP BusinessObjects Data Services, the process captures highly detailed, monthly assessments of its product line by SKU across the entire lifecycle, from sourcing through productiontransportretail distributionconsumption, and end of cycle. Full integration with SAP ERP allows Danone to automatically retrieve information including bills of materials, production and delivery orders, and intercompany transportation. Danone can easily assess a range of product footprints, and incorporate allocation of emissions and costs generated by each process.


Employee Engagement


These SAP software solutions have fundamentally changed not only the way Danone does business, but also how employees think, work, and engage with the company. Employees have a deeper sense of pride in their work since every staff member is held accountable for the quality of carbon data in their business area. Specialists in lifecycle management collect and assess information from the supply chain, such as site-specific emission factors for components used during the raw-pack process. People with job titles like Carbon Master and Master Data Manager, along with users in manufacturing, purchasing, and transport units, provide additional input for things like emissions factors by transport types or energy consumption to complete the process. Teams perform calculations for insight and visibility into the carbon measurements at a product level via multi-dimensional modeling and analysis. Using SAP software reports and dashboards, employees can display the product carbon footprint intensity as grams of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO?e) per kilogram or liter of product, as well as in absolute terms of metric tons of CO?e emissions.

Towards a More Protected Future

Danone is well on its way to helping protect the world’s precious finite resources for future generations. It has reduced its carbon footprint by 22 percent, and is confident of reaching its target of 30 percent by the end of 2012.  Moving forward, they intend to simulate emissions when introducing a new material, or process into a product, brand, or country. This will improve and optimize design decisions, supplier choices, and investments, as well as support brand-related goals. Additionally, Danone recently selected the SAP Sustainability Performance Management solution to help holistically manage data collection, reporting and analytics across all social, environmental and economic initiatives. Danone is also working with suppliers so they can directly enter their data into SAP ERP, saving time and boosting information quality.

Future plans include enhanced reporting beyond SKU carbon footprint tracking. Danone will report emissions by product, factory, division, country, brand, customer, and time interval — then set benchmarks based on the intelligence. Executives envision a monthly “sustainability closing,” much like a financial closing, for greater transparency and stronger competitive advantage.

Consumers worldwide rely on Danone to bring them fresh, tasty dairy products and bottled water, as well as baby and medical nutrition products every day.  The company’s sustainability commitment is having an equally profound impact on the world in which all of us live.




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13 Scary Statistics On Employee Engagement [INFOGRAPHIC]

Jacob Shriar

There is a serious problem with the way we work.

Most employees are disengaged and not passionate about the work they do. This is costing companies a ton of money in lost productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. It’s also harmful to employees, because they’re more stressed out than ever.

The thing that bothers me the most about it, is that it’s all so easy to fix. I can’t figure out why managers aren’t more proactive about this. Besides the human element of caring for our employees, it’s costing them money, so they should care more about fixing it. Something as simple as saying thank you to your employees can have a huge effect on their engagement, not to mention it’s good for your level of happiness.

The infographic that we put together has some pretty shocking statistics in it, but there are a few common themes. Employees feel overworked, overwhelmed, and they don’t like what they do. Companies are noticing it, with 75% of them saying they can’t attract the right talent, and 83% of them feeling that their employer brand isn’t compelling. Companies that want to fix this need to be smart, and patient. This doesn’t happen overnight, but like I mentioned, it’s easy to do. Being patient might be the hardest thing for companies, and I understand how frustrating it can be not to see results right away, but it’s important that you invest in this, because the ROI of employee engagement is huge.

Here are 4 simple (and free) things you can do to get that passion back into employees. These are all based on research from Deloitte.

1.  Encourage side projects

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload. Let them explore their own passions and interests, and work on side projects. Ideally, they wouldn’t have to be related to the company, but if you’re worried about them wasting time, you can set that boundary that it has to be related to the company. What this does, is give them autonomy, and let them improve on their skills (mastery), two of the biggest motivators for work.

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload.

2.  Encourage workers to engage with customers

At Wistia, a video hosting company, they make everyone in the company do customer support during their onboarding, and they often rotate people into customer support. When I asked Chris, their CEO, why they do this, he mentioned to me that it’s so every single person in the company understands how their customers are using their product. What pains they’re having, what they like about it, it gets everyone on the same page. It keeps all employees in the loop, and can really motivate you to work when you’re talking directly with customers.

3.  Encourage workers to work cross-functionally

Both Apple and Google have created common areas in their offices, specifically and strategically located, so that different workers that don’t normally interact with each other can have a chance to chat.

This isn’t a coincidence. It’s meant for that collaborative learning, and building those relationships with your colleagues.

4.  Encourage networking in their industry

This is similar to number 2 on the list, but it’s important for employees to grow and learn more about what they do. It helps them build that passion for their industry. It’s important to go to networking events, and encourage your employees to participate in these things. Websites like Eventbrite or Meetup have lots of great resources, and most of the events on there are free.

13 Disturbing Facts About Employee Engagement [Infographic]

What do you do to increase employee engagement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Did you like today’s post? If so you’ll love our frequent newsletter! Sign up here and receive The Switch and Shift Change Playbook, by Shawn Murphy, as our thanks to you!

This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee survey tool that helps companies improve their corporate wellness, and have a better organizational culture.


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Supply Chain Fraud: The Threat from Within

Lindsey LaManna

Supply chain fraud – whether perpetrated by suppliers, subcontractors, employees, or some combination of those – can take many forms. Among the most common are:

  • Falsified labor
  • Inflated bills or expense accounts
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Phantom vendor accounts or invoices
  • Bid rigging
  • Grey markets (counterfeit or knockoff products)
  • Failure to meet specifications (resulting in substandard or dangerous goods)
  • Unauthorized disbursements

LSAP_Smart Supply Chains_graphics_briefook inside

Perhaps the most damaging sources of supply chain fraud are internal, especially collusion between an employee and a supplier. Such partnerships help fraudsters evade independent checks and other controls, enabling them to steal larger amounts. The median loss from fraud committed
by a single thief was US$80,000, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

Costs increase along with the number of perpetrators involved. Fraud involving two thieves had a median loss of US$200,000; fraud involving three people had a median loss of US$355,000; and fraud with four or more had a median loss of more than US$500,000, according to ACFE.

Build a culture to fight fraud

The most effective method to fight internal supply chain theft is to create a culture dedicated to fighting it. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Make sure the board and C-level executives understand the critical nature of the supply chain and the risk of fraud throughout the procurement lifecycle.
  • Market the organization’s supply chain policies internally and among contractors.
  • Institute policies that prohibit conflicts of interest, and cross-check employee and supplier data to uncover potential conflicts.
  • Define the rules for accepting gifts from suppliers and insist that all gifts be documented.
  • Require two employees to sign off on any proposed changes to suppliers.
  • Watch for staff defections to suppliers, and pay close attention to any supplier that has recently poached an employee.

About Lindsey LaManna

Lindsey LaManna is Social and Reporting Manager for the Digitalist Magazine by SAP Global Marketing. Follow @LindseyLaManna on Twitter, on LinkedIn or Google+.


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Technology: A Sustainable Approach To The Fight Against Cancer

Werner Eberhardt and Will Ritzrau

Conducting business in more sustainable ways is increasingly relevant today, and it’s rapidly becoming a megatrend. This “must-have” business requirement is driven by growing populations, accelerating urbanization, intense resource usage, government regulation, and climate change. Equally important is the fact that consumers are increasingly demanding healthy, affordable, as well as socially and environmentally responsible products.

We see many companies striving to be a role model in sustainable business operations in areas such as procurement, travel, and mobility policies; green IT; health and diversity programs; and employee engagement. It’s no wonder companies are pushing sustainability initiatives, as there is mounting evidence that efforts like these can have a substantial financial impact between a company’s social and environmental activities and overall operational performance.

Taking sustainability to the next level

Sustainability programs are great initiatives in corporate responsibility. However, it takes more than admirable company policies, healthy cafeteria foods, or smart procurement processes to have a significant sustainable effect on the world. Companies that want to make a positive impact on the world must recognize that to achieve this they need to extend their sustainability vision to their products and services.

We believe this is especially relevant to companies in the high-tech industry, where technology is making significant inroads into improving people’s lives and making a difference in the world. High-tech companies that are committed to sustainability have the opportunity to work diligently with their industry-leading customers to help them understand how technology and innovation are key to advancing sustainability.

A perfect example of this is how technology is advancing efforts to fight cancer – and not only improve people’s lives, but save them.

Helping battle the disease that leaves no one untouched

With nearly 14 million new cases diagnosed yearly, almost everyone knows someone who either has cancer or has succumbed to the disease. Thankfully, remarkable advances are being made in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease – and innovative technology is a key part of this process.

Take the ground-breaking solution that is under development by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the largest organization of professionals in the world dedicated to the study and care of patients with cancer. This organization is building CancerLinQ, a Big Data analytics solution that hopes to revolutionize cancer care through the integration and analysis of millions of cancer patients’ electronic health records.

This solution aims to provide immediate, practical insights and clinical support to oncologists by quickly identifying the best evidence-based course of care. The initial launch of the CancerLinQ platform will have data on 500,000 patients in the United States who have a wide array of treatments, tumor types, and genomic profiles. Participating doctors will be able to search this shared and aggregated data to see trends of how patients in the past have responded to various treatment regimens. They can then determine the best and most effective course of treatment for their patients and take significant steps towards achieving ASCO’s goal of a world that is free of the fear of cancer.

Technological advances all over the world

CancerLinQ is just one example of how technology is being used to fight cancer. The National Center for Tumor Diseases in Heidelberg is using real-time analytics to help accelerate cancer research and improve clinical trial matching. In Japan, Mitsui Knowledge Industry is reducing the time it takes for patient-specific genomic analysis for cancer diagnosis from 30 days to 20 minutes. Similarly, MolecularHealth has a solution for solid tumor analysis that provides a clinical interpretation of clinical and genomic patient data.

Through solutions like CancerLinQ, people around the world can see how information technology is contributing to quicker diagnoses, more exacting treatments, and ultimately, increased survival rates.

To learn more about how SAP is supporting these initiatives and using technology to fight diseases of all kinds, visit To learn more about sustainability and business innovation, you can attend this free course from openSAP, an innovative learning platform with enterprise massive open online course (MOOC) offerings.



#Big Data , ASCO , cancer

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Ambient Intelligence: What's Next for The Internet of Things?

Dan Wellers

Imagine that your home security system lets you know when your kids get home from school. As they’re grabbing an afternoon snack, your kitchen takes inventory and sends a shopping list to your local supermarket. There, robots prepare the goods and pack them for home delivery into an autonomous vehicle – or a drone. Meanwhile, your smart watch, connected to a system that senses and analyzes real-time health indicators, alerts you to a suggested dinner menu it just created based on your family’s nutritional needs and ingredients available in your pantry. If you signal your approval, it offers to warm the oven before you get home from work.

This scenario isn’t as futuristic as you might think. In fact, what Gartner calls “the device mesh” is the logical evolution of the Internet of Things. All around us and always on, it will be both ubiquitous and subtle — ambient intelligence.

We’ll do truly different things, instead of just doing things differently. Today’s processes and problems are only a small subset of the many, many scenarios possible when practically everything is instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent.

We’re also going to need to come up with new ways of interacting with the technology and the infrastructure that supports it. Instead of typing on a keyboard or swiping a touchscreen, we’ll be surrounded by various interfaces that capture input automatically, almost incidentally. It will be a fundamental paradigm shift in the way we think of “computing,” and possibly whether we think about computing at all.

The Internet of not-things

The foundation will be a digital infrastructure that responds to its surroundings and the people in it, whether that means ubiquitous communications, ubiquitous entertainment, or ubiquitous opportunities for commerce. This infrastructure will be so seamless that rather than interacting with discrete objects, people will simply interact with their environment through deliberate voice and gesture — or cues like respiration and body temperature that will trigger the environment to respond.

Once such an infrastructure is in place, the possibilities for innovation explode. The power of Moore’s Law is now amplified by Metcalfe’s Law, which says that a network’s value is equal to the square of the number of participants in it. All these Internet-connected “things” — the sensors, devices, actuators, drones, vehicles, products, etc.  — will be able to react automatically, seeing, analyzing, and combining to create value in as yet unimaginable ways.  The individual “things” themselves will meld into a background of ambient connectedness and responsiveness.

The path is clearly marked

Think of the trends we’ve seen emerge in recent years:

  • Sensors and actuators, including implantables and wearables, that let us capture more data and impressions from more objects in more places, and that affect the environment around them.
  • Ubiquitous computing and hyperconnectivity, which exponentially increase the flow of data between people and devices and among devices themselves.
  • Nanotechnology and nanomaterials, which let us build ever more complex devices at microscopic scale.
  • Artificial intelligence, in which algorithms become increasingly capable of making decisions based on past performance and desired results.
  • Vision as an interface to participate in and control augmented and virtual reality
  • Blockchain technology, which makes all kinds of digital transactions secure, verifiable, and potentially automatic.

As these emerging technologies become more powerful and sophisticated, they will increasingly overlap. For example, the distinctions between drones, autonomous vehicles, and robotics are already blurring. This convergence, which multiplies the strengths of each technology, makes ambient intelligence not just desirable but inevitable.

Early signposts on the way

We’re edging into the territory of ambient intelligence today. Increasingly complex sensors, systems architectures, and software can gather, store, manage, and analyze vastly more data in far less time with much greater sophistication.

Home automation is accelerating, allowing people to program lighting, air conditioning, audio and video, security systems, appliances, and other complex devices and then let them run more or less independently. Drones, robots, and autonomous vehicles can gather, generate, and navigate by data from locations human beings can’t or don’t access. Entire urban areas like Barcelona and Singapore are aiming to become “smart cities,” with initiatives already underway to automate the management of services like parking, trash collection, and traffic lights.

Our homes, vehicles, and communities may not be entirely self-maintaining yet, but it’s possible to set parameters within which significant systems operate more or less on their own. Eventually, these systems will become proficient enough at pattern matching that they’ll be able to learn from each other. That’s when we’ll hit the knee of the exponential growth curve.

Where are we heading?

Experts predict that, by 2022, 1 trillion networked sensors will be embedded in the world around us, with up to 45 trillion in 20 years. With this many sources of data for all manner of purposes, systems will be able to arrive at fast, accurate decisions about nearly everything. And they’ll be able to act on those things at the slightest prompting, or with little to no action on your part at all.

Ambient intelligence could transform cities through dynamic routing and signage for both drivers and pedestrians. It could manage mass transit for optimal efficiency based on real-time conditions. It could monitor environmental conditions and mitigate potential hotspots proactively, predict the need for government services and make sure those services are delivered efficiently, spot opportunities to streamline the supply chain and put them into effect automatically.

Nanotechnology in your clothing could send environmental data to your smart phone, or charge it from electricity generated as you walk. But why carry a phone when any glass surface, from your bathroom mirror to your kitchen window, could become an interactive interface for checking your calendar, answering email, watching videos, and anything else we do today on our phones and tablets? For that matter, why carry a phone when ambient connectivity will let us simply speak to each other across a distance without devices?

How to get there

In Tech Trends 2015, Deloitte Consulting outlines four capabilities required for ambient computing:

  1. Integrating information flow between varying types of devices from a wide range of global manufacturers with proprietary data and technologies
  2. Performing analytics and management of the physical objects and low-level events to detect signals and predict impact
  3. Orchestrating those signals and objects to fulfill complex events or end-to-end business processes
  4. Securing and monitoring the entire system of devices, connectivity, and information exchange

These technical challenges are daunting, but doable.

Of course, businesses and governments need to consider the ramifications of systems that can sense, reason, act, and interact for us. We need to solve the trust and security issues inherent in a future world where we’re constantly surrounded by connectivity and information. We need to consider what happens when tasks currently performed by humans can be automated into near invisibility. And we need to think about what it means to be human when ambient intelligence can satisfy our wants and needs before we express them, or before we even know that we have them.

There are incredible upsides to such a future, but there are also drawbacks. Let’s make sure we go there with our eyes wide open, and plan for the outcomes we want.

Download the Executive Brief: Enveloped by Ambient Intelligence

Ambient Intelligence thumb

To learn more about how exponential technology will affect business and life, see The Digitalist’s Digital Futures.


About Dan Wellers

Dan Wellers leads Digital Futures for SAP Marketing Strategy.

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