Grameen Danone Foods: A Social Business Enterprise

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG073
Case Length : 15 Pages
Period : 2005-2007
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Grameen Danone Foods
Industry : FMCG
Countries : Bangladesh

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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The Joint Venture: A Merger of Values

According to newspaper reports, Dr. Yunus discussed the idea of creating an SBE with Franck Riboud (Riboud), the CEO of Danone, over lunch in Paris in November 2005. At the meeting, he described the need to create businesses that were more concerned about the number of people they have benefited than about improving their bottom lines.

"I spoke to Riboud about what I call my concept of 'social business entrepreneurs'. And he responded instantly. Instantly! He said this was fascinating, and he agreed there and then to create Grameen-Danone,"said Dr. Yunus later.

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The Case for Social Business Enterprises

Though Danone was among the first companies to actually start an SBE, the concept of companies integrating their businesses with social and environment issues was not new. For example, Harvard Business School had introduced a course titled 'Social Factors in Business Enterprise' as early as in 1915. The United Nations (UN) too had talked about this concept in 1992, calling it 'Responsible Entrepreneurship', under its Environment program. Initially, the UN saw it exclusively from the environment angle. But by 1998, "social considerations"were also taken into account (Refer Exhibit VII for more details)...

The Road Ahead

Production at the Bogra plant commenced in November 2006. The company started selling the yoghurt under the 'Shakti Dohi' (meaning 'energy yoghurt' in Bengali) brand. An 80 ml cup of the product was priced at 5 Taka . The yoghurt was enhanced with micronutrients such as iodine, vitamin A, iron, and zinc, so as to meet 30% of the daily nutritional needs of a child. Explaining why it was important to create SBEs, Dr. Yunus said, "With personal wealth reaching unimaginable heights...


Exhibit I: Social Business Enterprises
Exhibit II: Groupe Danone's Brands and Products
Exhibit III: Financial Information on Groupe Danone
Exhibit IV: Financial Information on Grameen Bank
Exhibit V: Bangladesh: Some Health Statistics
Exhibit VI: Deficiency of Micronutrients in Bangladeshi Population
Exhibit VII: Three Broad Stages of Responsible Entrepreneurship
Exhibit VIII: The Five Key Themes of 'The Danone Way'


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