MONTRÉAL, 3rd October 2017 - The first day of The Consumer Goods Forum’s Second Sustainable Retail Summit drew to a close yesterday, and it was a great success. Taking place at the Centre Mont-Royal in Montréal, the Sustainable Retail Summit has brought together over 230 “global leaders” from 26 countries to discuss the role of business in tackling today’s most pressing challenges, which can only be overcome through collective action: food waste, forced labour and consumer health.
The event was opened by The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Managing Director Peter Freedman and Save-on-Foods President Darrell Jones. Peter highlighted why the CGF is playing an important role within the industry, calling on delegates to “be courageous and bold”. Darrell Jones welcomed the delegates to Canada, before noting the role companies need to play today. He also said we need ways to add value and provide solutions. He closed by expressing thanks to the CGF and how we need to work collectively to understand the consumer goods industry and the world at large.
Delegates were then updated on the work of the CGF by the teams leading the charge within their own companies, as well as those working directly for the CGF. Attendees were given updates on the CGF’s work on environmental and social sustainability and health and wellness. It was clear that steady progress had been made, but a common theme was that more work is needed. There was clearly much to be proud of though, from “Collaboration for Healthier Lives” pilots to the first ever resolutions on forced labour and food waste.
The final session of the morning saw Barilla and Carrefour presenting on how they are working together on the issue of food waste: a global problem with humanitarian, environmental and economic implications.
The afternoon sessions then saw more focused panel discussions on the three megatrends. Bringing to the stage CEOs, NGOs, government representatives and industry experts, delegates were treated to excellent discussions and Q&As, and delegates got to test panellists with some tricky questions.
Across the three megatrends, however, there were three clear learnings:
- Companies need to measure: whether it’s accurately assessing food loss and waste, tracing your supply chains for potential cases of forced labour or measuring incremental sales in healthier baskets, the data is essential if positive change is to take place.
- Progress is being made and the achievements are many, but it’s still early and more needs to be done. Implementation processes need to accelerate and more companies need to step up to the plate.
- These problems are too big for any one company, industry or government to tackle. Collective action is a must on all three areas, and companies need to work with each other as well as with governments and other key stakeholders.
What is the Sustainable Retail Summit?
The consumer goods industry is facing a clear call to action. People are demanding sustainable products and want to live healthier lives, and they expect our industry to deliver. At the same time, the UN Sustainable Development Goals demand co-ordinated industry action. These demands, together with an uncertain political environment and ever more complex supply chains, mean it’s harder than ever before to know how to implement strategies and actions that will secure the long-term, sustainable growth of consumer goods businesses.
However, thanks to The Consumer Goods Forum and its Sustainable Retail Summit, there is now a unique opportunity to learn first-hand how companies are taking positive action and collaborating to overcome today’s biggest industry challenges. From eradicating forced labour, reducing and measuring food loss and waste, to supporting healthier diets and lifestyles, the Sustainable Retail Summit provides practical sessions on implementing change and meeting these challenging demands head on.