@The Consumer Goods Forum Blog

My Reflections on First Half of 2017


More than 1,200 of the CGF’s members met in Berlin last month for the 61st Global Summit – the best Summit ever, to judge by the feedback. If you were one of those able to attend, I hope you also found it both valuable and fun. If you were not able to join us, you can find here a summary of the inspiring main plenary sessions.

All of us continue to experience extraordinary disruptions, both in our industry and in the geopolitical landscape. One of the things that struck me forcibly from the conversations in Berlin was that if the CGF did not already exist, we would definitely need to invent it now. The hard business case for driving positive change – the CGF’s core mission – is made more compelling every day by the purchasing behaviour of younger shoppers and the values of younger employees. As one speaker in Berlin put it, unless we accelerate the shift to more authentic, sustainable products and retail propositions, consumers and employees will drift away from us. Your membership of the CGF is thus an important way to accelerate growth in your business.

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Future Leaders Programme – Find the Future, Today

I’ve spoken and moderated a number of events over the years, but the Future Leaders Programme is something special. Not only is it a great place for aspiring business heads to learn from those that came before them, it’s also a great networking event, full of fun and contacts that last an entire career. Of course, I’m always surprised when it comes around, as it shortly will be. Can it really be the case that another year has passed since the last one?

The attending future leaders - as in not-yet-leaders but showing clear potential – are clearly not old people. They are uniquely capable of absorbing top-level experience from the stage and workshop sessions all day and it seems, then meeting with friends well into the night.

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Same Goal, New Path: Managing Food Safety in an International but Locally Focused Company Like Danone

Imagine being one of the world’s top food producers focusing on health-driven “categories”: Early Life Nutrition, Medical Nutrition, Water, and Dairy… Imagine that most of your products are community-relevant, tailored to the local culture and expectations of the 130 countries they’re distributed in… Imagine that for some of your customers – babies, patients with a medical condition – the food you produce can constitute 100% of their diet for at least a week… 

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Sustainable Retail Summit and a Big Thumbs Up to Businesses That Do the Right Thing

It is barely three months until the second Sustainable Retail Summit and, with last year’s event in Paris as a guide, this will be a lively and inspiring couple of days. I chaired the event last year and am thrilled they have asked me back as the quality of speakers and level of interaction with the audience was so high.

The meeting got off to a flying start with a real coup: the bosses of Britain's rival supermarkets, Mike Coupe from Sainsbury’s and Dave Lewis from Tesco, on stage together for the first time. We enjoyed a sparky 'fireside chat' about food waste ending on a cheery snapshot with the commercial foes, with arms on each other’s shoulders and giving a big thumbs up to camera! There were plenty of other business leaders there but it wasn't all about the big beasts. We also had passionate presentations and discussions on forced labour from those on the frontline, innovative ideas on healthy shopping from a supermarket chain in Turkey and very funky band of food waste fighting students from France.  

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Are You Committed? The Time to Act on Refrigerants is Now

New research shows that our society is only four years away from keeping the global average temperature of rising to no more than 1.5C. Reductions of CO2 through measures such as the phasing out of chemical refrigerants are necessary. Thankfully, much progress has been made by the global consumer goods industry in transitioning away from fluorinated gases in refrigeration since we published our first Refrigeration Resolution in 2010. This progress was reflected in our revised resolution on refrigeration, published in October 2016, and our first-ever, member-led Refrigeration Case Studies Booklet.  

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