- Report by The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and EY gathers perspectives from leaders across consumer goods industry
- CEOs give insights on action needed to accelerate progress toward UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- Report launches to coincide with The CGF’s Global Summit in Dublin, 20-23 June 2022
PARIS and DUBLIN, 20th June 2022: The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and the EY organisation have today published a new report bringing together opinions from 13 consumer industry leaders that outlines the urgent priorities the sector must act upon to help meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 deadline.
At the halfway point to the 2030 deadline (from the SDGs being set in 2015), the CEOs are optimistic that faster progress can be achieved through five actions to accelerate impact. The five priority areas identified to help CGF members and other businesses across the industry to accelerate progress are:
- Partner for success – Profitability and revenue competition are part of a healthy economy but solving sustainability’s systemic challenges requires collaboration. Only by pulling together can consumer businesses rise to the scale of the challenges ahead – from combating climate change to reducing global inequality.
- Measure for progress and impact – Businesses can’t manage what they don’t measure – and there is a clear need to integrate the SDGs with other frameworks and for consistent international or regional standards. The growing number of frameworks makes this difficult – yet convening bodies such as CGF have the power to consult and advocate for consistent standards.
- Embed sustainability into your company DNA – Companies that embed the SDGs into their working culture – potentially through rewards and incentives – are far more likely to achieve them.
- Bring the consumer on the journey – Consumer companies occupy a privileged position that confers great power, and great responsibility, in shaping consumption. They can incentivise better consumer behaviour and raise awareness of the SDGs in ways that other stakeholders cannot. Consumers are rewarding those businesses who do the right things to improve the health of communities. If businesses fail to act on urgent environmental and social issues, they will get left behind.
- All SDGs should be supported but prioritise the areas where you have the power to make the biggest difference – Whether it is malnutrition, sanitation or waste, certain companies can make a greater contribution to some SDGs than others, depending on their experience and sphere of influence. Setting material targets will help companies to make a tangible difference in the areas most appropriate to them.
The report, developed in collaboration with EY teams and launched just ahead of CGF’s annual Global Summit taking place in Dublin from 20-23 June, features interviews with leaders from 13 of the largest global consumer goods companies: Ahold Delhaize; Alibaba Group; Ajinomoto Group; A.S. Watson Group; The Coca-Cola Company; DFI Retail Group; Grupo Éxito; Kerry Group; Kirin Holdings; Musgrave Group; Procter & Gamble; Unilever; and Woolworths Holdings.
The report also highlighted that many companies see their activities as accelerating and are shifting mindsets from previous sustainability goals seen as a “nice to have” to now viewing them as being integral to success. This reflects the rising prioritisation of climate change among consumers, along with biodiversity outlined as top priorities in the EY Future Consumer Index. Technology also enables this by making sustainable measurement and progress more viable and affordable. In turn, this can accelerate the progress companies make toward the SDGs and support new frameworks and metrics that can track and improve impact.
Wai-Chan Chan, Managing Director of The Consumer Goods Forum, says:
“As we race toward the 2030 deadline for the SDGs, time is short. But we can and must build a more resilient world in which no one is left behind. The consumer goods industry is vital to achieving the SDGs, and collaboration to help ensure this has never been more critical.
Our new report underlines the importance of corporate collectivity. Businesses have an unprecedented responsibility: society’s urgent global problems cannot be solved by government, business, non-profits or citizens alone. Great strides have been made in accelerating positive action, but we must all challenge ourselves to go much further if we are to deliver on the SDGs by 2030. With an ethos of collaboration, we can share knowledge and combine resources to innovate and adapt.”
Kristina Rogers, EY Global Consumer Leader, says:
“Collaboration among businesses, governments and organizations will be key at this halfway point to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. However, consumer businesses also have a unique opportunity to bring consumers along on this journey, in ways that other stakeholders cannot. These companies not only occupy a significant position of influence, but also have responsibility for shaping and inspiring better consumer behaviors, raising awareness of the goals and building momentum toward real SDGs progress.”
CGF is the only CEO-led organisation that represents both manufacturers and retailers globally. Its network of leaders comes together to accelerate changes that have lasting positive effects on people, planet and business, using CGF’s influential reach to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards.
CGF’s work is already taking significant actions to help deliver against a number of the SDGs, including:
- Goal 1 (Zero hunger)
- Goal 12 (Responsible consumption and production)
- Goal 17 (Partnerships for the goals)
- Goal 15 (Life on land)
CGF’s network is a testament to the benefits of collaboration to address major challenges. For example, members worked tirelessly during the pandemic to help ensure that vital goods continued to move along supply chains and onto retailers’ shelves. At the same time, they worked to protect the health and wellbeing of their employees and customers while making important progress on tackling key issues like plastic waste and deforestation. Members of CGF’s Coalition of Action on Plastic Waste, collectively representing more than 10% of the global plastic packaging market, have united around a series of best practice rules for plastic design, production and recycling – to accelerate a circular economy. In addition, CGF’s Forest Positive Coalition of Action launched its first annual report last year, committing to publicly report against metrics to end commodity-driven deforestation.
The report is available to download here.
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About The Consumer Goods Forum
The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide.
It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format.
Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 4.6 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 55 manufacturer and retailer CEOs.
For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com
The CEOs that took part in the report are listed below:
- Frans Müller, President & CEO, Ahold Delhaize
- Daniel Zhang, Chairman & CEO, Alibaba Group
- Takaaki Nishii, President & CEO, Ajinomoto Group
- Malina Ngai, CEO, A.S. Watson Group
- James Quincey, Chairman & CEO, The Coca-Cola Company
- Ian McLeod, Group CEO, DFI Retail Group
- Carlos Mario Giraldo Moreno, CEO, Grupo Éxito
- Edmond Scanlon, CEO, Kerry Group
- Yoshinori Isozaki, President & CEO, Kirin Holdings
- Noel Keeley, CEO, Musgrave Group
- Jon Moeller, President & CEO, Procter & Gamble
- Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever
- Roy Bagattini, Group CEO, Woolworths Holdings
About the report
This report was written by the EY Global Consumer practice in conjunction with The Consumer Goods Forum to assess the progress that’s been made in achieving the SDGs today, at the halfway point in the journey to 2030. The report investigates companies’ strategies to achieve the goals and which goals they align with the most. It also looks at the role that organisations like the CGF can play in helping to accelerate collaboration and change through its coalitions of action and other initiatives.
The EY Global Consumer practice and the CGF conducted interviews with 13 leaders of CGF member companies representing a cross-section of the total CGF membership. The interviews explored CEOs’ perceptions of the SDGs in the context of their business and the context of other initiatives and activities. We gained deep insights into how consumer companies align their sustainability/ESG strategies within the SDG framework, the progress made to achieve the goals, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
The qualitative interviews formed a foundational set of insights, which were augmented by additional research into the sustainability activities of the CGF and its members, other perspectives in the wider market and proprietary EY research into sustainability and the SDGs (through programmes such as the Future Consumer Index). This multitiered approach creates a broad perspective on how the consumer companies value the SDG framework and how the CGF can play a part in helping to deliver them. It provides examples of best practices and current strategic priorities. It also provides recommendations for the industry to collectively drive the positive change required to turn the goals of 2030 into reality.