Executives from Top Consumer Goods Companies Discuss Global and Local Brands in Today’s Consumer-Centric World

BERLIN, 23rd June 2017The second day of The Consumer Goods Forum’s Global Summit drew to a close yesterday evening.

Day 2 was opened by Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, President and Chief Executive Officer of the LEGO Group. Mr. Knudstorp energised the morning session by getting the conference’s 1,000 delegates to assemble their own LEGO duck. He then observed that there had been no standard answer – and this ability to creatively assemble pieces in millions of different ways was at the core of who LEGO is. A core that LEGO returned to after years of losing money for a decade to now be one of the world’s most recognisable brands with significant financial growth.

Next, Nestlé’s CEO Mark Schneider explained how Nestlé was adapting to change in millennial consumer behaviour, the growth of digitalisation and the complex trading environment the world’s largest companies now faced. A common thread exists however to the approach of facing all these challenges and it is that strong brands take investment. Following Mr. Schneider’s presentation was the CEO of Sainsbury’s, Mike Coupe. Mr. Coupe highlighted that the United Kingdom, their primary market, was one of the most developed online markets in the world. This fact means that necessarily the company has adapted to this online landscape and uses consumer preferences and behaviour to ensure they are flexible in their purchasing experiences.

Emmanuel Faber, CEO of Danone, inspired the audience by stressing that as leaders of some of the largest and most influential companies in the world, profit must not be the sole motive of business. He cited the current disconnect from people to their food and how this trend needed to be reserved for the greater good of our people and the planet. Mr Faber then announced to delegates that Danone was committing to “One Planet, One Health”.

The following session focused on three of The Consumer Goods Forum’s strategic focus areas, food safety, forced labour and refrigeration. Managing Director Peter Freedman opened the session and introduced all three speakers; Jean-François van Boxmeer, Grant Reid and Danny Wegman. Mr. Wegman, CEO of Wegmans Food Markets, discussed how the CGF’s Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) allows for the harmonisation of food safety practices across the world and the successes the programme has had with numerous governments over the years. Next, Heineken CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer explained why sustainable refrigeration was one of the best investments companies can make for the future of the planet, as it is one of the highest producers of greenhouses gases today. To close this session, Mars CEO Grant Reid shared sobering statistics on the prevalence of forced labour, with 21 million individuals its victim today. Mr Reid highlighted the work of The Consumer Goods Forum against this pressing global issue and encouraged others to join.

Cecilia Malmström, the EU Commissioner for Trade, encouraged all businesses to do their part in encouraging and practicing free trade as ultimately protectionism was harmful to consumers, businesses and society as a whole. Following Mrs Malmström’s speech, Stephan Grünewald from the Rheingold Institut shared his perspective on the secret desires which underlay consumers’ stated choices of shopping destination and product purchase.

In the next session, Emmanuel Faber and Doug McMillon, CEOs of Danone and Walmart, respectively, discussed how their respective companies were working with The Consumer Goods Forum’s strategic pillar of Health & Wellness and how important it was to ensure the long-term health of communities for all of society. They also promoted the new Collaboration for Healthier Lives pilots being rolled out around the world.

Day 2 ended with an enriching panel discussion on the future of retail with Robert Gentz, Founder and CEO, Zalando; Sam Kim, CEO, Homeplus; Mickey Mikitani, CEO and Chairman, Rakuten and Anders Svensson, CEO ICA Sweden and Deputy CEO, ICA Group. The session was moderated by Peter Child from McKinsey. The panel each shared an overview of their companies and how they adapt to the everchanging consumer landscape, each with their own insights and tactics that vary depending on their target market, geographies and consumer products. Digitisation and consumer data were pertinent to all panel companies, showcasing how important these elements are to all consumer retailers regardless of company scope.  

Taking place in Berlin, The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit has brought together over 1,000 consumer goods industry leaders from around the world to discuss the future of their industry and how to adapt to an everchanging consumer landscape. Its third and final day takes place today, Friday 23rd June, 2017. 

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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.

Lee Green
Director, Communications
The Consumer Goods Forum
l.green@theconsumergoodsforum.com

Helen Blair
Manager, Corporate
GOLIN
HBlair@golin.com

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