Industry Leaders Discuss Ways to Build Better Lives Through Better Business
PARIS, 23rd June 2021 — On the penultimate day of The Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) virtual Global Summit, the conversation hinged around some of the CGF’s core priorities, including sustainability, human rights and a resilient food supply. Leaders from the organisation and its member companies shared work they have done to push these priorities and traditional levers for growth — two imperatives which, they emphasised, can coexist. The day’s proceedings also included the premiere of the CGF’s docuseries, produced by BBC Storyworks, that illustrates the CGF’s Better Lives Through Better Business vision.
Coalitions of Action in the Spotlight
Today’s plenary sessions turned the spotlight to three of the CGF’s Coalitions of Action, focused initiatives open to all CGF members: the Global Food Safety Initiative Coalition, the Food Waste Coalition and the Human Rights Coalition – Working to End Forced Labour.
The Global Food Safety Initiative Coalition came to the fore in a panel discussion with Dirk Van de Put, Chairman and CEO of Mondelēz International, Tim Hunter of the World Food Programme, John Ellenberger of Land ‘O’ Lakes Foundation & Senior VP at Venture37 and GFSI Director Erica Sheward. This conversation across the for- and non-profit divide highlighted industry’s role in the fight against hunger and foodborne disease and in helping to build food safety capabilities for all. A similar conclusion arose from a later plenary on the Food Waste Coalition, which paired Ken Murphy, Group Chief Executive of Tesco with Craig Hanson, Vice President for Food, Forest, Water & the Ocean, World Resources Institute and Lisa Moon, President & CEO, The Global FoodBanking Network. The panelists spoke of the collaboration that took place during the pandemic to shift surplus food from businesses to the people who need it most.
Forced labour, another pressing concern for the consumer goods industry, was the subject of a plenary interview of Emmanuel Faber, former Chairman and CEO of Danone. Faber, who was involved in the formation of the Human Rights Coalition, spoke with passion on the imperative of addressing forced labour in the supply chain with openness and humility. “The more we will be transparent about it, the speedier it will be for us to move and act”, he said.
Building a Connection with Consumers
The CGF’s vision for a responsible consumer goods industry was the subject of the new online series, “Better Lives Through Better Business”, which was produced by BBC StoryWorks for the CGF. Two BBC creators joined a plenary about the role of storytelling in building consumer connections. “If you tell an authentic story successfully, if you can treat customers as viewers, you can earn a whole new level of trust and loyalty”, said Simon Shelley, Vice President of Programme Partnerships at BBC StoryWorks. “But failure can be fatal if it’s seen as woke-washing or passive empathy.” The session ended with a screening of the trailer for the series, featuring vibrant images of some of the settings where companies are creating positive change. The full series is available online.
A different approach to building consumer relationships was proposed in a Special Session hosted by Roland Berger with speakers from beloved brands Porsche, The Coca-Cola Company and adidas. The session introduced Roland Berger’s LOVE framework, which encourages brands to listen to what consumers want, offer things they care about, build a consumer-centric value chain and provide unforgettable experiences. “We want to showcase what brand love actually has in common with interhuman relationships”, said Helen Saade, Senior Project Manager at Roland Berger.
Meanwhile, in a concurrent Special Session hosted by Salesforce, executives presented digital solutions for consumer engagement and other growth drivers. “We’re seeing CPGs across the board adopting the DNA of digital disruptors, driving disruption within”, said Gavin Patterson, Chief Revenue Officer at Salesforce. Monica McGurk, Chief Growth Officer at Kellogg’s, gave the example of a machine learning tool that allows the company to customise online advertisements to prospective consumers’ interests, such as displaying photographs of sports that their data shows they enjoy.
The Special Session hosted by PA Consulting allowed leaders from PA and Unilever to showcase the Covid Awareness Situation Intelligence tool, or CASI, a live dashboard developed to project Covid infection rates up to 30 days ahead. “We have shown how open data can be rapidly harnessed and transformed to unlock intelligent and predictive insight on a meaningful scale”, said Richard Chamier, Data Analytics Expert and CASI Development Lead for PA. He and his colleagues suggested further applications for this powerful tool beyond the pandemic, such as for food safety or in the travel industry.
The digitisation conversation continued during the day’s three Tech Talks hosted by innovative companies. Niall Murphy, CEO and Co-Founder of EVRYTHNG, answered questions about tools to achieve full transparency; Rami El Gamal, Senior Solutions Architect at EY, discussed data innovation in the face of privacy laws; and leaders from Oracle and Capgemini shared ways to shape business models around the modern consumer, who they called “empowered” to seek fulfilling experiences.
Tips from the Top
Building on yesterday’s exploration of the consumer goods industry in the Asia-Pacific, two of today’s sessions introduced leaders who successfully adapted to the region’s retail trends. Zhang Wenzhong, Founder of Wumart, and Weiwen Han, Managing Partner at Bain & Company, discussed digitisation trends in China and the future of omnichannel retail. The latter model is already gaining a foothold in India, a market that is quickly catching up to China in terms of digital penetration. This trajectory was demonstrated in a plenary with Falguni Nayar, Founder and CEO of Nykaa, an Indian beauty product retailer that made a successful foray into omnichannel after launching as an e-commerce platform. She encouraged businesses entering the omnichannel space to allow themselves space to grow. “What is important is that technology allows you to scale beyond your initial thinking, and you have to be prepared for it”, she said.
Three Fireside Chats shared further leadership perspectives from global contexts. The featured leaders included Hubert Joly, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and Former Chairman and CEO of Best Buy, who outlined the empathetic leadership principles described in his book “The Heart of Business”; and Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle, who spoke of the role of technology in sustainability. In one of the Fireside Chats, two CEOs, Dirk Van de Put of Mondelēz International and Satya Nadella of Microsoft, essentially interviewed each other, sharing stories from a year of crisis leadership. They both emerged with a greater appreciation of human and social capital. “On the social capital side, we burned a bunch of it during the pandemic”, said Nadella. “How do we make sure we build it back by creating that connection between the company’s mission and people?”
Another plenary introduced a leader from the world of impact investment: Catherine Howard, CEO of ShareAction, a charity that promotes responsible investment and shareholder activism as a way to engage with companies. In conversation with Brooke Masters, Chief Business Commentator and Associate Editor of the Financial Times, she spoke of the stakeholder-led imperative to commit to ESG priorities. “I hope that everyone in The Consumer Goods Forum is a future-maker that will shape the world in the way we need”, Howard said in closing.
We look forward to continuing to work together to shape the world and its future on the final day of the Global Summit tomorrow.
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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 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 57 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.
For further information, please contact:
Lee Green, Director, Communications, The Consumer Goods Forum