Pingree, Welch, Golden, Kuster Urge Danone to Reinstate Contracts with 89 Organic Dairy Farms across the Northeast

October 25, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC— Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), and fellow northeast lawmakers Representatives Peter Welch (D-V.T), Jared Golden (D-Maine), and Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) on Monday sent a letter to chief executives of Danone regarding the company’s decision to terminate its contracts with 89 organic dairy farms in Maine and across the Northeast.

“By all accounts, your decision to sever the contracts of these 89 farms was one based solely on maximizing profits, regardless of the devastating consequences for the families and communities you cast aside and despite the reputational benefits and profit you gleaned from their work,” the letter read. “Clearly, your 2020 corporate revenue of $27 billion was not enough.”

The group urged Danone and its subsidiary, Horizon Organic, to reconsider their decision to sever contracts in the northeast, and to instead prioritize the well-being of farms and surrounding communities – calling it “especially disappointing” that this decision came as they are pursuing status as a B Corp.

The letter goes on to say, “… your actions against these Northeast farmers are in direct conflict with the B Corp commitment of ‘balancing profit with purpose’ and ‘using business as a force for good.’ We ask that you choose to live the values of the B Corp commitment and reinstate the contracts of these 89 farms, who have been a force for good in their communities and a source of profit for you.”

Full text of the letter is available here and below.

Mr. Antoine de Saint-Affrique and Mr. Shane Grant:

We write regarding the abrupt decision of your wholly owned subsidiary, Horizon Organic, to terminate its contracts with 89 organic dairy farms across the Northeast. This decision is a devastating blow to these farm families and our rural economy; it must be reversed.

Since 1999, when it purchased The Organic Cow in Tunbridge, Vt., Horizon Organic had supported the vision of small, organic farms in our region. These organic dairy farms have been reliable partners in building the reputation and value of the organic dairy market and have contributed substantially to the bottom line and brand of both Horizon and Danone.  Each of these farms and farm families have established themselves as respected businesses, serving as both strong environmental stewards and the backbone of our rural economies. 

By all accounts, your decision to sever the contracts of these 89 farms was one based solely on maximizing profits, regardless of the devastating consequences for the families and communities you cast aside and despite the reputational benefits and profit you gleaned from their work. Clearly, your 2020 corporate revenue of $27 billion was not enough. Further, it is especially disappointing that this decision came as you are pursuing status as a B Corp, given your actions against these Northeast farmers are in direct conflict with the B Corp commitment of “balancing profit with purpose” and “using business as a force for good.”

 We ask that you choose to live the values of the B Corp commitment and reinstate the contracts of these 89 farms, who have been a force for good in their communities and a source of profit for you.