Yogurt is a go-to snack for many because of its wide variety of flavors and forms, but a majority of yogurt shares a common denominator: plastic packaging. Whether it be strawberry, peach, or Oreo flavored, chances are your yogurt cup is made of plastic #5 polypropylene which is more expensive to recycle and thus often faces challenges in actually getting recycled. These plastics often end up in landfills and unless created from bio-based material these plastics will not be set up for quicker, sufficient biodegradation. Seeking out a more sustainable yogurt company, I came across Two Good (owned by Danone North America), a certified B Corporation, that strives to minimize its impact. Two Good is making the effort to do “good for our world” by partnering with City Harvest and We Don’t Waste for their One Cup, Less Hunger Progam as well as Full Harvest for their Good Save yogurt line. Two Good’s own supply chain and product lifecycle, however, lacks clarity and solid data to support certain claims made and show true sustainability; thus, there needs to be more transparency on how and who is making their yogurt products. Two Good claims they are "happy to deliver transparency and third-party verification" to their fans, but this is not reflected in the accessibility of information and evidence. Compared to other yogurt brands failing to make any social or environmental effort, Two Good Good Save is a good way for consumers to begin combating food waste at the farm level.
Two Good yogurts are Non-GMO Project Verified and made from cows that eat Non-GMO Project Verified feed. While still a highly debated topic, GMOs have been tied to a loss of farmland biodiversity and wildlife habitat as well as damaging soil microbiology. Two Good partnered with Full Harvest, a surplus produce rescue organization, to make the Good Save yogurts out of rescued fruit to address food waste's negative impact on climate change (they reference the generation of greenhouse gas emissions). The California-grown Meyer lemons used in the Good Save yogurts would have otherwise been wasted food had they not been used by Two Good.
Cultured Reduced Fat Milk is the main ingredient, and their website states that about half of their milk comes from farms participating in Danone North America's soil health program. So where is the other "about half" of their milk coming from? They state that they buy their milk from "farmers [they] know and trust" but what does that really entail?
It also contains less than 1% of Tapioca Starch, Carob Bean Gum, Natural Flavors, Stevia Leaf Reb M, Sea Salt, Citric Acid, Vitamin D3, Active Yogurt Cultures L. Bulgaricus & S. thermophilus. Most of these ingredients are natural and do not raise an immediate alarm. For example, Carob Bean Gum is derived from Carob trees which may help the prevention of droughts and desertification.
The yogurt cup itself is made of #5 polypropylene plastic and the Two Good website offers information on how to recycle them through a "how2recycle" link, but it takes you back to the top of the exact same page. The actual how2recycle website has resources to learn about the different labels and checking locally for recycling programs. The problem with #5 plastic is that many garbage companies resort to melting it or shipping it overseas instead of recycling it because the hard, heat-resistant plastic is more expensive to recycle. In order to prevent it from ending up in landfills, we must seek out recycling programs that accept polypropylene like the Gimme 5 Program and TerraCycle as well as local collections. Two Good encourages consumers to check that their local curbside recycling or drop-off recycling center accepts plastic #5. Reusing or upcycling plastic containers is another way to help, but ultimately it’s best to avoid these types of plastics. On the inside of the yogurt lids, Two Good offers different ways to reuse the cup such as using them as doggy bowls. Buying in bulk or glass containers is another way to minimize plastic usage and as consumers, we can also encourage companies to use more eco-friendly packaging.
Information on how the yogurt is made in terms of location or production is not readily available. I did find though that Danone North America operates in the U.S. from headquarter offices in White Plains, NY and Broomfield, CO. As mentioned, Danone North America is the Parent Company to Two Good; Two Good is one of many brands included in the assessment of Danone North America. However, brands included in the Parent Company's certification may only use the Certified B Corporation logo --found on Two Good yogurts-- if B Lab has determined that their independent performance qualifies for certification. I could not find the analysis of their performance on the Two Good website or the Danone North America website.
The low-sugar component is achieved through a slow-straining process that removes most of the sugar from the milk. As mentioned, the milk used to make the yogurt is sourced from farms that supposedly support soil health and farmers they "trust" to keep their environmental impact low. The Danone North America’s soil health program maps and measures farms’ soil to support healthy soil, and that is how about half their milk is sourced. This program implements practices that "increase organic matter and improve the ability of the soil to sequester more carbon, reduce erosion, increase water retention, and support biodiversity."
Raising livestock makes up about 15% of global emissions, so that is another important consideration when it comes to dairy-based products like yogurt. They partner with said trusted farmers with the intention of lowering the environmental impact of dairy farming and promoting animal welfare practices, highlighting that this is all audited through third-party verification, but do not offer easy access to the audits on their website. Their other partnerships include the food rescue groups City Harvest, We Don't Waste, and Full Harvest to make their yogurts, and specifically their Good Save yogurt. Danone North America is committed to purchasing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and partnered with Enel Green Power for the physical delivery of renewable energy by entering into power purchase agreements (PPA) partnerships.
The parent company Danone has a goal of having 100% of their packaging be either reusable, recyclable, or compostable and claims they are on track. They have committed to reintegrating at least 50% of recycled material in all of their packaging by 2025. They have also claimed that by 2025 that they will have initiated/supported collection and recycling initiatives in their top 20 markets, which make up about 90% of their sales. A 2021 Forbes article points out that for the past five years Danone has “consistently underperformed compared to its immediate peers Unilever and Nestlé” but it is not made clear if this is strictly referring to sustainability or also profitability. It also highlights that they are now entering new management under CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique following the leave of Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber so we will have to keep tracking their sustainable initiatives and execution of their claims. Danone has publicly expressed their commitment to the U.N's SDG 2030 goals and has taken steps to reach their aims.
The link to Two Good's page on the Danone website required a sign-in with a password, denying me access to potential information on how the Two Good yogurts presented in grocery stores are made and who is making it. Danone North America's overall B Impact score is 96/200 (a score of 80 qualifies for B Corp Certification) with a score of 29 in the "Workers" category. I could only locate information for employees under Danone as a whole, not the specific Two Good brand. They claim to have "employee training that includes social or environmental issues material to [their] company or its mission." Danone highlights that social and environmental responsibility is incorporated into the company and its employees, but fails to share WHO is actually making these products. Danone operates in the U.S, but the workers within these U.S headquarters are not specified. Considering they meet B Corp standards, I think it's safe to assume there is no blatant exploitation in their labor supply, but transparency is absolutely needed to confirm so and verify their sustainability.