November 23, 2021 — Yesterday, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) joined a coalition of organizations to deliver signatures and comments from 7,739 organic consumers and farmers to submit a complaint to B Lab (administer of the B Corporation corporate social value certification program) against Danone North America, owner of Horizon Organic. The complaint outlines violations the company has made against the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence. These farmers and consumers are members and supporters of the 11 organizations that submitted a complaint earlier this month against Danone North America/Horizon. This is the first batch of signatures that will be submitted to B Lab.
In August 2021, Danone North America notified all their contracted organic dairy farm families, totaling 89, in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and a portion of New York that they would be ending their contracts and pulling out of the Northeast U.S. supply chain. Fourteen of the affected farms are located in Maine. Many of the affected farm families have provided organic milk to Horizon Organic for decades and have been instrumental in building that successful brand with grass-fed organic milk from family farms.
“We’ve been visiting each affected farm and the impact of this decision on Maine’s rural communities will be wide ranging,” says Sarah Alexander, MOFGA’s executive director. “Our organic dairy farmers work every day of the year to produce high-quality milk that has helped build the Horizon Organic brand and leaving these farms without a market and on short notice is at odds with the commitment Horizon made as a B Corporation.”
B Corporations have made a commitment to work toward reducing inequality, lowering poverty, creating a healthier environment, building stronger communities and creating more high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose. The B Corp label tells consumers that the company has created a positive impact for their employees, communities and the environment. Danone North America’s action in the Northeast goes against all of these principles, and B Lab must take action or the B Corp label is in jeopardy of losing its integrity. Regional producer groups representing the affected farmers met with Danone North America last week to ask them to stay in the Northeast and invest in the region’s organic dairy farm families.