On October 4th 2023, Director of Health and Sustainability at The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Sharon Bligh joined a panel discussion dedicated to looking at the consumer goods sector’s role in achieving the net zero transition at The Economist Group’s 3rd Annual Sustainability Week: Countdown to COP28. Sharon who oversees the CGF’s work on Net Zero, as well as its Coalitions of Action on Food Waste and Collaboration for Healthier Lives, was invited to share her thoughts on the industry’s progress so far on decarbonisation, as well as its pathway forwards.

Sharon was joined by Kara Fulcher, Director of Sustainability, North America at Michelin, Oriol Margo, EMEA Sustainability Transformation Lead at Kimberly-Clark, and John Dulac, Group Climate Change Engineer at Saint-Gobain. The session resulted in an engaging discussion around industry-wide initiatives to decarbonisation, such as data sharing, with the panel sharing case studies of actions they are already taking, as well as ways in which decision makers in the whole value chain can join forces to advance the sector’s decarbonisation strategies. Sharon set the scene on the CGF’s role as official UN Accelerator of the Race to Zero for the consumer goods industry, allowing us to use our influential reach to increase awareness of the urgent need to commit to net zero targets to reach net zero by 2050 and halve emissions by 2030. She explained that our role is to help companies to “pledge and then plan”, as well as persuading the whole sector to move forwards.

Sharon then spoke about how the CGF enables the industry to raise the bar and go beyond individual commitments. Collaboration, she said, is at the heart of this work, as she shared the respective missions of the CGF’s eight global Coalitions of Action (including Forest Positive, Food Waste and Plastic Waste) which are working to address environmental challenges at the various different points of the value chain. By bringing all of these expertise together as we hone in on specific touchpoints, our members are working on the greater ambition to halve emissions. In terms of very tangible tools to help the industry, Sharon shared that the CGF has published a Net Zero Playbook, as well as our Carbon Solutions Hub.

The discussion then came to an end with panelists sharing hopes and reflections for COP28. Sharon said that she is encouraged to see that the link between sustainable nutrition and the future of the planet features more prominently in the agenda for this year’s event.

For more information about the event, visit The Economist’s event website .