1. Membership engagement and growth
We want to make it as easy as possible for you to engage with the CGF and your fellow members. There are two main ways in which you can do this. One is by getting directly involved in our Pillar working groups, where you can contribute to our work. The other is by participating in our events, workshops, webinars and so on.
Regarding the first route, we have added a number of working groups over the last few months in our Product Safety, Sustainability, Health & Wellness and End-to-End Value Chain Pillars. This means there are more opportunities for you to get involved in their work. You will find the new landscape of our working groups on our website.
On the second route, we have held a number of successful events over the last 6 months to help our members shape and implement our Pillar agendas. For example, many of you will have joined us at the 59th Global Summit at the end of June. In total, over 1,000 delegates attended the event – the highest number ever – and many commented to me that this has now become the pre-eminent, must-attend event of the consumer goods industry’s year. Our theme this year – Trust as a Foundation for Growth – reinforced the crucial role of the CGF’s Pillars in helping you to maintain and grow consumer trust. And, of course, Gareth, Denise and I also look forward to seeing you at the next CGF Global Summit in Cape Town in June 2016 – please put June 15-17, 2016 in your diaries!
Another great event that I attended was the Global Food Safety Conference, held in March in Kuala Lumpur – the first time it has ever been held in Asia. This provided over 900 delegates with opportunities to take home practical food safety advice and build their personal networks in this crucially important field. The feedback was also very positive.
In parallel with these flagship events, we held a wide range of workshops, seminars, webinars and conference calls – almost all focused on engaging our members in the CGF’s Pillars.
Despite this progress, we know that we can and must do more to engage you, our members. Expect to see over time a greater focus on providing you with practical support, linked to our Pillar agendas (see below) and on making some of our events more regionally accessible to you. To guide us further on how best to meet your needs, in the autumn we will repeat the survey of members that we conducted last year. A special request – please reply to it when it comes out!
Lastly, in terms of growing the membership, I’m pleased to report that 27 companies decided to join the CGF in the last 6 months, making a total of 40 new members since June 2014.
2. Pillar agendas for efficiency and positive change
The CGF’s Pillars are increasing their focus on providing practical support to our members and facilitating on-the-ground implementation of our Resolutions through our external stakeholder partnerships. Here are some examples from the last 6 months:
Environmental Sustainability – We have been working hard to help our members implement the Deforestation Resolution, including running workshops on sustainable soy and launching of our Palm Oil Sourcing Guidelines. The CGF was also a key supporter of the Business & Climate Summit in Paris in May, where we launched our Climate Change case studies booklet. On refrigeration, we have continued to support pilots to share best practices in the use of non-HFC refrigerants around the world. Lastly, during the Summit last month, we launched a new Resolution to halve food waste across our supply chains by 2025. This has already generated a lot of visibility in the media globally.
Social Sustainability – We have continued to help members drive efficiency and continuous improvement through the Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP). As an example, we launched an online tool, called Quick Scan to help members identify which standards are relevant for their compliance activities. The GSCP was also recently recognised by the G7 nations as having an important role to play in their efforts to drive harmonisation of social standards for the supply chain. In May, the two CGF co-chairs wrote to Angela Merkel, in her role as President of the G7 offering the industry’s expertise and willingness to cooperate in this work.
Health & Wellness – In February, we published our 2015 Progress Report demonstrating both more engagement from CGF members and more progress on implementing our Resolutions. Also, last month we launched Consumer Goods for Better Lives, an online toolkit to help support members in their implement of these Resolutions.
Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) – The GFSI’s Global Markets Programme focuses on building food safety capabilities throughout the industry, including smaller upstream companies. Recently we launched a self-assessment tool to support capability building in these critical part of the value chain.
Introducing Our End-to-End Value Chain & Standards Pillar – The Consumer Engagement Principles, launched in February, have gained external recognition for the CGF’s leadership stance. Here again we recently launched a self-assessment tool and companion manual to support implementation work in member companies.
3. Two-way dialogue with the outside world
One of our long-term objectives is that the CGF should speak with one voice for the industry. Over the last 12 months, we have hired a Director of Communications, strengthened the communications team and appointed an external communications agency (GOLIN). We are starting to strengthen links with the members of the Liaison Group and some of these are beginning to work well (e.g. GS1, AIM European Brands Association, Food Industry Asia). We have increased CGF visibility in high profile external events – such as the Business & Climate Summit and the EAT Food Forum.
Tracking data suggests that we are beginning to raise the CGF’s external profile, albeit from a relatively low base. For example, in the last six months, versus the prior year we have seen a near doubling in the number of relevant press releases, growth in CGF website traffic by 41%, social and print media coverage extended by 32% and a 63% increase in LinkedIn followers.
4. A great place to work
The CGF staff – 25% of whom are new in the last year – have shown extraordinary resilience and commitment in the face of a great deal of change as we start to improve our service to our members. I want to pay tribute to them but also want to thank you, our members, for being so supportive in a time of significant staff changes. In our recent staff survey, 73% of my colleagues said they thought the CGF was a good place to work – which is encouraging but says we still have some way to go. We will continue to work on recruitment, training, staff engagement and supporting staff through investments in technology.
I hope this update has been helpful for you. As always, do not hesitate to reach out to us here in Paris or our offices in Washington and Tokyo. Meanwhile, if you are planning to take some vacation in the northern hemisphere summertime, may I wish you a very enjoyable break.


This post was written and contributed by:

Peter Freedman
Managing Director
The Consumer Goods Forum