In January 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed Danone’s most recent Position Paper on Animal Testing, published in 2016. The company stated the following:

“At Danone, animal testing is conducted in order to ensure the safety and efficacy of new products. In some cases, these tests are used to understand the mechanism of action of our innovations or are part of the safety assessments required by national regulatory authorities for pre-market approvals. In the case of specialized nutrition for vulnerable populations, animal testing is still sometimes necessary to advance fundamental knowledge. All tests are carried out in respect of international animal welfare standards and when no alternative research models are available.”

The company stated that it tried to find alternatives to animal testing where possible but “where no other options are available, we carry out animal testing but only within a very strict framework….We actively seek alternative methods to limit the use of animal testing. To this end, we apply the internationally recognized “Triple R” (Replace animal testing, Reduce the number of animals being used in the tests, and Refine the testing process, or 3R).”

“To foster progress in Triple R research, Danone takes part in a number of concrete initiatives that include on-going collaboration with 3R centers in the UK and the Netherlands and with the John Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) in the US. In addition, Danone has played a key role in the recent creation of a new task force at ILSI Europe (Alternatives to Animal Testing in Food Safety, Nutrition and Efficacy Studies).”

No fixed cut off date for stopping animal testing altogether could be found.

As a result the company was marked down in the animal testing category.

Reference:

Position Paper (September 2016)

In January 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed Danone’s website which confirmed that dairy was the core of Danone's business. The company sold a number of products containing meat, fish and poultry products that were not certified as organic or free range. These included: chickens, lambs, turkeys, cattle, calves, pigs, wild and farmed fish. 100% of its egg products were said to be sourced from cage-free systems.

Danone’s Animal Welfare guide was downloaded for more information about its policies and practices, which discussed the issues associated with animal welfare, how these impacted milk production and how best practice could be achieved. However, at the time of writing it did not appear that any of the company’s milk was sourced from free range or organic herds.

The company thus lost a mark under the Animal Rights and Factory Farming categories.

Reference:

Danone website (8 January 2020)

According to Harrogate's website viewed in September 2020 by Ethical Consumer, it was a sponsor of Ascot and Royal Ascot horse racing festivals.
Ascot had been criticised by www.animalaid.org.uk, and horse racing in general in the UK had also been criticised by PETA and the League Against Cruel Sports.
The company therefore lost half a mark under Animal Rights.

Reference:

www.harrogatespring.com/ (23 August 2017)

In January 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed the 2018 'The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare' (BBFAW) report.

BBFAW was supported by Compassion in World Farming, World Animal Protection and Coller Capital, and aimed to "drive higher farm animal welfare standards in the world’s leading food businesses" by providing "an annual, objective, independent assessment of farm animal welfare management, policy commitment, performance and disclosure in food companies."

The Benchmark assessed company approaches to farm animal welfare on the basis of their published information in four core areas: Management Commitment and Policy; Governance and Management; Leadership and Innovation; Performance Reporting and Impact.
In total, 110 companies were assessed according to their published information and ranked from Tier 1 (indicating companies that have taken a leadership position), down to Tier 6 (farm animal welfare does not appear to be recognised as a business issue).

Groupe Danone was ranked as 'Tier 2: Integral to business strategy', which was up a tier since the 2017 BBFAW report.

Tier 3 in the Benchmark indicated that a company had "made farm animal welfare an integral part of its
business strategy"

As a result of being in Tier 2 Danone was not marked down. This reference is for information only.

Reference:

Ethical Consumer Lobby Group member list (7 February 2019)