Following the G7 Summit in Germany, the German government has welcomed collaboration with The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and the Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP) in reaching the shared goal of raising sustainability in global supply chains.
For the first time this year, the G7 added the enforcement of global labour, social and environmental standards to its agenda at this year’s G7 summit, where G7 leaders agreed on the fundamental importance of work in this area, especially in light of the recently launched UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Ahead of the 2015 G7 summit, the two CGF Co-Chairs wrote to Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany expressing the willingness of the consumer goods industry to collaborate with global governments on the topic of social sustainability, and as a key partner for sustainable change. They highlighted the work that the CGF and its initiative, the GSCP, has already carried out in promoting responsible business conduct and the harmonisation of retail and supply chain standards, and demonstrated the industry’s wish to put this work at the service of institutions.
The German government, hosting G7 2015, has responded to the CGF letter, expressing recognition of the active role the CGF and GSCP could play as business partners in setting the stage to raise sustainability standards. In this letter from the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ - Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung), the Ministry commends the valuable work the CGF and its members have accomplished, specifically its experience in aligning voluntary standards for continuous improvement of working and environmental conditions in global supply chains. The letter highlights that “the CGF tools and processes for implementation of best existing industry practices are deemed important reference frameworks for the operationalization of G7 commitments at supplier level.”
Alignment of norms with voluntary codes of conduct such as those of the GSCP Reference Tools is described as an important step forward for sustainable business practices and an area where the GSCP has a relevant contribution: “The Global Social Compliance Programme has already started valuable work in this area.”
The holistic approach adopted by the German government mirrors the CGF dual objectives of positive change and business efficiency as they strive to strengthen compliance with internationally recognised social and environmental standards while simultaneously increasing productivity and economic efficiency. To this end, the CGF can put its work in harmonisation at the service of these institutional objectives.
The consumer goods industry is supportive of governmental efforts at enabling and enforcing sustainable supply chains. Working together with G7 governments will be crucial to maximise our efforts to mainstream social and environmental performance worldwide.
Collaboration through public-private partnerships will be key to achieving these goals and this recognition of the role the CGF and its members can play is excellent news for a more sustainable future.