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BERLIN, 25th October 2019 – The 4th edition of the Sustainable Retail Summit has officially come to a close in Berlin. Close to 300 industry experts convened at the Hilton Hotel in the German capital for the second day of thought-provoking insights, best practice sharing and deep discussions around the hard truths in health and sustainability that face the consumer goods industry today.
Moderator Tom Heap, BBC, welcomed delegates back and opened the Start-Up Pitch Battle, a new addition to this year’s programme, which brought together speakers from five start-ups, including Too Good To Go, Evigence, Why Waste, Contronics and Rubikloud, to pitch their innovative solutions to tackling food waste to a panel of industry experts.
Tom Heap then opened the first Breakout Session of the day on the role of communication and marketing in telling stories about sustainable business practices. Perrine Bouhana, GlobeScan, then went on to introduce her company’s consumer insights report on Sustainable & Healthy Living, a study of 25,000 consumers from around the world. This was followed by Jo Rallig, The Food Foundation and Veg Power, presenting VegPower’s work to get more people to eat more vegetables. The Breakout ended with Dean Sanders, Anthesis, exploring the story behind brands, and the powerful stories that can be told.
Experts took a deep dive into driving collaboration and enabling health in the second Breakout Session, where Khaled Tawfik, BCG, presented learnings from the Collaboration for Healthier Lives initiative (CHL) in the UK. Initial findings from a consumer insights survey were then shared by Sandra Braeunlein-Reuss, Nielsen, and Tanmay Jain, BCG. Maggie Biscarr, PepsiCo, then took to the stage to share the CHL US “One for Good” case study in Hagerstown, followed by Nikta Vaghefi, Groupe Savencia, and Thomas Kyriaco, Danone, sharing learnings from the CHL France “On S’y Met” initiative. Rosie Warin, Kin & Co, delved into the importance of employee health and wellbeing and the session concluded with a panel discussion including Demir Aytaç, Migros Ticaret A.S., Bertrand Swiderski, Carrefour and Marion Caillard, Mediaperformances.
The third Breakout of the day saw expert speakers come together to present and debate consumer trends and innovative, yet realistic solutions for the future of protein. Sarah Blanchard from METRO AG kicked the session off by sharing some of her company’s findings regarding shifting consumer preferences and trends. She expressed her wish for a future where people have a much more varied diet, as diversity is the secret to everything. Vincent Doumeizel from Lloyd’s Register Foundation made a strong case for seaweed and algae for both animal feed and human consumption. It is about permaculture – algae is a great source of energy, it does not compete with any land production, and can even replace plastics. Tarique Arsiwalla from Protix then took to the stage and spoke about the consumption of insects, adding to the lively conversation on innovative protein sources. Moderator Tom Heap closed the conversation with some personal thoughts on whether we can make meat more climate-friendly. A complex matter, with potential implications on animal welfare, he concluded.
Paul Crewe, Anthesis Group, introduced the 4th Breakout Session of the day by noting his long-standing involvement with the CGF’s environmental work. Ignacio Gavilan, the CGF, then updated delegates on the CGF’s work on waste. Veronika Pountcheva, METRO AG, then spoke more on food waste saying METRO decided to look on the inside and outside of their blue box stores. Gökmen Güven, Wholesurplus, presented his company as a one-stop waste management platform. Mette Lykke, Too Good to Go, then looked at how we need to fight food waste together. David Kat, Wasteless, went on to take a closer look at the cost of food waste, before Eric Hannon, McKinsey & Company, helped move the conversation on to the plastic waste challenge. Tim Brett, The Coca-Cola Company, looked at how his company is working towards a world without waste.
A Special Session, sponsored by VEOCEL™, saw experts (Jürgen Eizinger, Lenzing AG, Melanie Sumereder, Lenzing AG, blogger Daniela Gaigg, and Edwin Oosterlaar, Sweeps BV) sharing insights on eco-responsible wipes. Their research revealed that consumers think there is only approximately six percent of plastic in wipes whereas it is in fact closer to 40 percent according to common industry standards. Their research also revealed that 9 out of 10 consumers would like to see what materials are used in their wipes, which is welcomed as good news as it shows that consumers care. The core message of the session was that sustainable business is the only way to do business in the wet wipes industry.
The final Special Session of the day, sponsored by Procter & Gamble, saw Faiza Lahlou, highlighting the amount of water used by households, and thus its importance to P&G. She said we need to go beyond the bottle, and we need to put the consumer back at the centre of what the company does, and how we can better use innovation. Elvan Onal, then explored more concrete examples of how P&G is implementing positive change through product and packaging innovations.
In the Closing Plenary, leading thinker on food and cities, Carolyn Steel, delved into the critical questions surrounding the world’s population’s access to food, the planet, and the future. She highlighted that food shapes everything, and if we value food, we can shape the world. Sebastian Grieme, Fridays for Future activist then talked to delegates about the growing momentum of the youth movement. He sent a strong and clear message to delegates: it is up to you whether you want to be part of the problem or the solution.
Arctic explorer, Vincent Colliard, was the last speaker to take the stage, telling delegates about his explorations to the Arctic and the visible effects of climate change on landscapes and ecosystems. He closed by telling delegates that corporations now have a great opportunity to grow their business with conviction and be more responsible.
Moderator Tom Heap went on to thank the event sponsors and organisers and gave a recap of some of the key messages that made an impact over the two days. Managing Director of the CGF, Peter Freedman, was invited on stage to bring the 2019 SRS to a close and invited all to the 2020 edition set to take place in Amsterdam.
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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 3.5 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 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.
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