evian testing the waters with sustainability transparency

June 01, 2021

Last month, on Earth Day, among dozens of other businesses outlining science-based climate commitments and resource targets, the Danone-owned water brand evian announced not only the business’s certification as a B-Corp, but also the launch of a digital dashboard enabling consumers to track its progress towards key plastics targets. Its overarching mission is now to reach 100% recycled content; to ensure that all plastic packaging is recyclable, and recycled in practice. It is also working on the removal of plastic that is already polluting nature, putting it back into the recycling system. The digital dashboard enables consumers to track progress towards these goals in percentage terms. Outlining the thinking behind the dashboard, the brand’s global vice president, Shweta Harit, said, “We wanted to share where we are on this journey; I think that having people tracking progress from brands is the way it should be. It’s okay for brands to say that work is still ongoing; why should a brand hide anything?”

Good question Shweta. What is there to hide? And if brands commit to environmental targets, why are the details of their progress towards these goals only accessible once a year in an Annual Report that only a handful of their stakeholders actually read? It seems obvious that if a brand genuinely wants to be seen as an environmentally friendly option to the general public, it would make this information highly accessible to its consumers. And yet this does not currently seem to be the case. It should be said that evian’s digital sustainability dashboard comprises only one target (100% recycled PET) and is updated biannually. But perhaps evian’s new online dashboard disclosure indicates a new type of transparency, one where progression on public commitments can be tracked whenever, by whoever. Is the annual progress update no longer enough?

Author: Abi Frankfort