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Digital Consumer Transparency

(approved June 2017)

The Board of Directors of The Consumer Goods Forum recognises the importance of giving consumers easy access to reliable information on the products they buy, including their ingredients, provenance and supply chains.

We also recognise that consumers want to be able to access these data digitally whenever possible and that digital information transparency places additional demands for harmonisation and consistency across the industry. Specifically, research indicates that consumers in any one country want to be able to access a harmonised set of product data, following standardised data definitions and presented in a consistent way – regardless of which manufacturer makes the product or which retailer sells it.

Lastly, we recognise that, given the global nature of the internet, a globally consistent approach to consumer transparency is desirable in order to avoid confusing consumers and incurring unnecessary costs.

We therefore, as individual member companies, commit to support the following principles in all our countries of operation:

  1. Individual countries are encouraged to adopt a nation-wide, industry-wide consumer solutions providing consumers with digital access to product information, defined and organised in a single consistent way
  2. Individual country solutions should provide consumers with a globally-required minimum set of data attributes while also defining additional required and optional data attributes that take account of local law and reflect local consumer insight
  3. All data attributes – globally-required, locally-required and locally-optional – should use Global Data Dictionary data definitions
  4. To ensure that consumers have access to accurate information no matter how they choose to find it, brands should simultaneously publish the transparency attributes via the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN) so that retailers and other e-commerce sites have access to those same, accurate data
  5. Individual country solutions are encouraged to provide multiple access routes, such as mobile scanning, web search, and click-through links to and from brand sites, in order to make them as easy as possible for consumers to use
  6. Individual country solutions should comply with a common data standard
  7. Individual countries are encouraged to promote locally to build a minimum level of consumer awareness of the consumer transparency solutions to encourage usage.

Our Commitment to Consumers

In December 2014, our Board approved a set of principles to help secure consumer trust by being open and transparent about how companies use and store data collected from consumers. 

Our members are committed to principles and practices that promote an environment of trust between the consumer and business. We do so against a backdrop of rapidly changing technology and consumer behaviour shifts that put a premium on proactive trust-building and consumer communication.


The industry-wide Principles will, therefore, act as a framework for how companies engage with their consumers, and are designed to promote an environment of trust and pro-active consumer communication. The Principles will benefit all stakeholders as the industry looks to safeguard consumers’ data and nurture greater consumer trust.

The goal is to have consumers view the industry as a responsible user and steward of consumer data and insights – thus forming the common foundation from which the digitally enabled value exchange can be optimised by individual companies.

Our members endeavour to support the following Consumer Engagement Principles:

  • Simple Communications
    Communicate in a clear, simple and easy to understand language.
  • Value Exchange
    Inform consumers about the benefits and value that the use of their personal information provides to both businesses and consumers.
  • Transparency
    Fully inform consumers about what we do with the personal information they provide.
  • Control and Access
    Enable consumers to easily choose whether and how their personal information is used; and to have access to information on how their personal information is used, and the ability to correct it and/or have it removed.
  • Ongoing Dialogue
    Listen and respond to consumer feedback about the use of their personal data.
  • Protection of Personal information
    Protect the integrity, reliability and accuracy of consumers’ personal information and, should things go wrong, be open about the status of their personal information.
  • Integrity in Social Media
    Preserve integrity through proper disclosure of commercial interests in social media practices such as ratings, recommendations, endorsements and work with regulatory agencies on alignment of practices and guidelines


2017  Published the Board-Approved Digital Consumer Transparency commitments. Published additional reports to our Learning Series including Physical Internet and Modularisation.

2018  Published Learning Series documents on Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, Smart Reduction of Food Waste, Blockchain and Total Retail Loss. We also launched the series of Springboard Events and the Data Leapfrog pilots.

2016 – The first-ever CGF educational series was launched under the E2E Value Chain Pillar. The series, on the Internet of Things, has been designed, together with experts from Capgemini and Intel, to help breakdown the jargon to allow you to get the facts and see where the IoT can help improve your business performance and ensure greater consumer trust.

2015 – The Consumer Engagement Principles are announced. This is followed later in 2015 by the publication of the Future Value Network report.

2014 – The Consumer Goods Forum’s work is refocused and restructured, with End-to-End Value Chain, in its current format, coming into being.

2012 – Published “Driving consumer goods innovation in the cloud” together with IBM, which provided a c-suite perspective on cloud technology in the consumer goods industry.  

2011 – Published the Global Protocol on Packaging Sustainability 2.0 to provide the consumer goods and packaging industries with a much needed common language with which to discuss and assess the relative sustainability of packaging. We also kicked off this year with the publication of the ‘CO2 – KPI and Measurement in Logistics’, a self-containing document explaining the concepts of CO2 measurement and usage in easy terms.

2010 –The Future Value Chain Report 2020 is published,focusing on how to build strategies for the new decade and what they should look like.

2009 – Part of the newly-generated “CGF”, our End-to-End Value Chain work initially fell under two pillars, Future Trends and Operational Excellence. It is here that a number of projects were born.

2008 – The Future Value Chain 2018 is published, focusing on international aspects of collaboration.

2007 – The Future Supply Chain report was published together with Capgemini,digging further into collaboration in the supply chain.

2006 – The first-ever Future Value Chain report was published with our long-time partner Capgemini. This report looked at what our industry would be like in 2016.

2004 – The first edition of the Global Upstream Supply Initiative (GUSI) published. The GUSI introduced us to the Upstream Integration Model (UIM) framework, a checklist designed to improve communication and provide a strategy to approach different suppliers using global standards.  

Download the Consumer Engagement Principles

Begin your journey to safeguarding consumer data, helping prevent misuses and earning consumer trust.