CAPE TOWN, 15th June 2016 – Today amidst a gathering of the world’s consumer goods industry leaders at the CGF Global Summit in South Africa, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to signal their commitment to a large-scale partnership for food safety.

Addressing Critical Challenges on a Global Scale

The partnership solidified today sets out to harness the vast experience and knowledge of both global organisations in order to implement “a roadmap for scaling up” by developing large-scale food safety capability building projects in a number of key regions in the global food supply network.

This development programme will be based on the GFSI Global Markets Programme, which sets out how small or less developed food companies can meet the challenge of food safety and gain market access. It will be enabled by UNIDO, benefiting from their specialised experience in industrial development capability building.

A Roadmap for a Far-Reaching Implementation Plan

According to a roadmap which is currently being crafted, this far-reaching food safety capability programme will be implemented in a number of key geographies, starting with China, Southeast Asia and Africa before being continued in further regions.

In China, the partnership aims to scale up food safety capacity building for local food enterprises throughout China in line with the Sustainable Supplier Development Programme (SSDP) and establish the China Food Safety Initiative (CFSI).

In South East Asia, the aim is to initiate a regional SSDP programme, scaling up the UNIDO-AEON Malaysia SSDP programme into a multi-country, and multi-buyer initiative.
In Africa, the project will benefit from a strong UNIDO presence to design and build a joint UNIDO-GFSI multi-country, multi-buyer project for Africa on capacity building.

Going Further Thanks to Cross-Sector Collaboration

Commenting on the new partnership, Philippe Scholtès, Managing Director, Programme Development and Technical Cooperation at UNIDO, said: “The World Health Organization estimates that up to 600 million people fall ill every year after eating contaminated food. Our collaboration with GFSI will further strengthen and promote multiple benefits of safe food for social inclusiveness, sustainability and industrial development.” 

Mike Robach, Chair of the GFSI Board of Directors said “We are very enthusiastic about the potential to have a bigger impact in these key regions thanks to this collaboration with UNIDO. Multi-sector collaboration is the way forward in achieving food safety across borders and barriers. Our joint efforts within this partnership will take us further and faster towards our vision of safe food for consumers, everywhere.” 

The Global Summit in South Africa served as a natural backdrop to this signing ceremony as 800 top business leaders of major consumer goods companies gather to discuss the future of the industry. With the motto Better Lives Through Better Business, The Consumer Goods Forum collaborates with its 400 members to drive positive change and business efficiency, across social and environmental sustainability, health and wellness, end-to-end value chain and food safety through GFSI.

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UNIDO is the specialised agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalisation and environmental sustainability. The Organization’s programmatic focus is structured in three thematic priorities, each of which represents different aspects of inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) – creating shared prosperity, advancing economic competitiveness and safeguarding the environment. Each of these programmatic fields of activity contains a number of individual programmes, which are implemented in a holistic manner to achieve effective outcomes and impacts through UNIDO’s four enabling functions: (i) technical cooperation; (ii) analytical and research functions and policy advisory services; (iii) normative functions and standards and quality-related activities; and (iv) convening and partnerships for knowledge transfer, networking and industrial cooperation.


GFSI logoThe Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) brings together key actors of the food industry to collaboratively drive continuous improvement in food safety management systems around the world. With a vision of Safe food for consumers everywhere, food industry leaders created GFSI in 2000 to find collaborative solutions to collective concerns, notably to reduce food safety risks, audit duplication and costs while building trust throughout the supply chain. The GFSI community works on a volunteer basis and is composed of the world’s leading food safety experts from retail, manufacturing and food service companies, as well as international organisations, governments, academia and service providers to the global food industry. GFSI is powered by The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a global industry network working to support Better Lives Through Better Business.

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Prévert
Communications, The Consumer Goods Forum

Gerardo Patacconi
UNIDO Department of Agri-Busniess Development

Anne Gerardi
Global Food Safety Initiative