This year The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF)’s Sustainable Retail Summit (SRS) will be hosted in Lisbon, Portugal on 25th to 26th October. The Associação Portuguesa de Empresas de Distribuição (APED) has been a member of the CGF since 2010. We, alongside our members from the Portuguese retail sector, have been playing an active role for many years in the promotion of sustainability, an issue of crucial importance for economic, social and environmental reasons.

We promote sustainability amongst consumers through awareness-raising campaigns for recycling, reusing cooking oils, and food waste reduction techniques. With our member companies, we share strategies for optimised management of inputs, production, product management and logistics.

We believe that a strong commitment to the circular economy requires the support of companies (throughout the whole value chain), consumers, and national and international public bodies. Together, we can overcome global sustainability challenges, and have a powerful impact on the shift in behaviours and mind-sets, efficient water management, the end of fossil fuel dependence and climate change. We must embrace and work alongside increasingly activist consumers, who are more attentive to the social and economic impact of the brands they purchase.

The consumer goods market continues to grow in Portugal, with a 4.2% overall increase in 2017 on the previous year. Large superstores proved to be the best-performing channel, with growth of 6.7%. However, with growth comes increased, more complex sustainability challenges.

Food waste is a significant issue in Portugal, and to tackle this, the Ministry of Agriculture has recently released a ‘National Strategy and Action Plan on Food Waste Combat’. The city of Lisbon is on route to becoming the world’s first zero waste capital since the launch of “Zero Desperdício” (Zero Food Waste) Movement, run by DaRiACORDAR which brings together businesses, NGOs and local authorities to recover food which may otherwise have been thrown away. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has translated the association’s manual into English and has cited their work as a case study and best practice.

Whilst significant advances have been made in the field of sustainability over the last decade in Portugal, we believe that hosting the discussion on the topic in Lisbon will provide an important opportunity to share our best practices and examine the strategies and action agendas of the Government, associations, companies and consumers.

It also provides the opportunity to build partnerships and collaborate on an international level with global key players in retail and beyond. Only by opening our doors to the world and learning about best-in-class global practices can we understand how we can do better in Portugal.

At APED, we recently created a set of best sustainability practices, (Best Practices Environmental Guide) which reflect the strong commitment of our association and the sector in the area of ​​Environmental Sustainability and an instrument with lines of action that help the retailers in the continuous improvement of their environmental performance.  Of course, SRS is not just about the environment. It’s about people too. And, for this, it’s a primetime to come to Portugal. In December last year, the Portuguese government announced a new initiative to improve nutrition and reduce obesity with the launch of its new Integrated Strategy for the Promotion of Healthy Eating (EIPAS). Similar to the CGF’s work on consumer health, it is aligned with the recommendations contained in the WHO European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015–2020.  Our country is also looking to cut premature deaths by 20% and is working on a number of employee health programmes to support this goal. Supporting good health in the workplace is a key component of this national effort to improve population health, particularly as the population age and the burden of chronic conditions rise.

For all this, and much more, APED and the Portuguese retail sector are delighted to welcome the Sustainable Retail Summit to Lisbon in October 2018. We look forward to meeting you at SRS, sharing our knowledge and experience and learning from you.  

Associação Portuguesa de Empresas de Distribuição (APED)