The day began with the CGF’s Managing Director Peter Freedman and Tiago Pitta e Cunha, CEO of the Oceano Azul Foundation, setting the scene for why the Sustainable Retail Summit is vital to the industry’s future. With a focus on “purpose”, Peter provided insights into why companies need to take action on the challenges now being faced by the consumer goods industry. Tiago then dived deeper into our oceans and what needs to happen now if we are to save them.
Lowinn KIBBEY, Global Head, Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute then talked on personal wellbeing, noting if you have a higher sense of meaning in life, you reduce your probability of dying. Lowinn then got delegates out of their chairs for an educational stretch, something they can do in any meeting to get the blood flowing again.
The delegates’ induction continued as they were exposed to the work being done by the CGF’s initiatives on environmental and social sustainability and health and wellness. Steering Committee members had frank and honest discussions about the revolution that is taking place, the need for action and how collaboration is the only viable way to ensure success at scale. The speakers, from companies including Danone, Marks and Spencer, Mars, Incorporated, METRO AG, The Coca-Cola Company and Walmart all stressed this point as they highlighted how CGF members are working together around the world on positive actions and interventions.
Health then became a more focused subject as the event shifted to its first megatrend topic. Key actors from academia and government provided their valuable insights on how companies can successfully nudge people towards healthier consumption and develop an integrated strategy to solve public health problems. Industry heavyweights then talked about actions taking place as part of the CGF’s Collaboration for Healthier Lives work. This included digital interventions and in-store activations in communities around the world, including those from MIGROS, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Danone, Walmart and SONAE MC.
The second megatrend then shifted the focus to how businesses can support positive migration and harness collective action. Representatives from IOM, Jesuit Refugee Service, TENT Partnership for Refugees and Jerónimo Martins Group helped to set the context on the issue of migration and the actions that need to take place. The panel then discussed how we need to create opportunities for refugees to join the work place and how companies need to learn to make use of this valuable talent pool for the future of their own businesses. And, once again, it was clear all actors need to work together to overcome the challenges of forced labour in global supply chains.
Henkel CEO Hans Van Bylan then talked on how to drive cultural change towards sustainability. He said sustainability is anchored in Henkel's long-term strategic framework and is brought to action through a holistic sustainability strategy. Guided by the strong belief that a genuine culture of sustainability can only be based on committed employees, Henkel enables its employees through various initiatives to contribute to sustainable developments in both their professional and private lives.
The third and final megatrend to be introduced brought the conversation back to waste, with a special focus on plastics. The speakers provided their own thoughts on the problem and solutions before coming together for a passionate discussion that looked at the future of plastics, plastic-free aisles in stores, the importance of mapping the solutions to avoid unintended consequences that are potentially worse than the current situation, and how we have reached a tipping point. We cannot afford to wait any longer to see real evidence of microplastics and other pollutants in the oceans. Action needs to take place now and it needs collaboration across all sectors. Consumers also need to play their part, but industry and governments need to help make it easier for them.
In the final session of the day, delegates were treated to two different perspectives on the issue of transparency and sustainability. First, the business perspective came from the team behind the newest CGF initiative, the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI). SSCI Committee Co-Chairs Hugo Byrnes, VP Product Integrity, Ahold Delhaize, and Vineet Khanna, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Supply Chain, Nestlé, were joined by SSCI Manager Sonja Schmid as they introduced the reason for the new initiative and its bid to ensure trust in sustainability standards worldwide. Solitaire Townsend, Co-founder of Futerra, then provided the consumer perspective, unveiling results from a new report published together with The Consumer Goods Forum on the importance of product transparency in the eyes of the consumer and the need for more honest products. This was going to become increasingly important in the years to come.
About The Consumer Goods Forum
The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.