The Consumer Goods Forum: Who they are and what they are about
Fastmoving - Jun 29th 2016, 10:46
The Consumer Goods Forum is the greatest convener of the consumer goods industry across the globe. Their mission is to improve industry efficiency, build consumer trust, and advocate for practices that improve the world at large. They not only address issues facing retailers, but the entire value chain, from manufacturing to advertising. The recently celebrated their 60th anniversary of the Global Consumer Goods Summit held in Cape Town on 13 – 16 June 2016.
The Consumer Goods Forum was first formed in 1931, and held their first annual congress in the same year. In 1955, the first Future Leaders Congress was held, which was followed by the first ever Global Consumer Goods Summit in 1956. The growing need for food safety resulted in the formation of the Global Food Safety Initiative in 2000 and was shortly followed by the first Global Food Safety Conference in the same year. By 2009, the Consumer Goods Forum, in it’s current state, was launched as a parity organisations run by retailers and manufacturers, and marked the launch of their health and wellness, social and environmental sustainability, and end-to-end value chain pillars.
Through enabling the collaboration between FMCG retailers and manufacturers globally, the Consumer Goods Forum is able to develop actionable solutions and harmonious industry processes, as well as connecting external stakeholders to facilitate positive change and value chain efficiency. Members of the Forum are assisted with expanding their network in order to share best practices with their industry peers. This is achieved through taking their 400 members on a journey that spans the supply chain. The Consumer Good Forum is the only organisation that serves both the retail and manufacturing industries.
Their eminent board consists of 50 global CEOs, 25 from the manufacturing industry and 25 from the retail sector, across all the continents of the globe. These include big names like Pick n Pay, Mondelez International, Tesco, and many more. Peter Friedman has been the managing director of the Consumer Goods Forum since January 2014, and has almost 30 years’ experience in the consumer goods industry. He spoke at this year’s Consumer Goods Summit on the issues and opportunities facing the industry owing to digital disruption.
The issue of digital disruption was addressed through the five core pillars of the Consumer Goods Forum, namely: health and wellness, environmental sustainability, social sustainability, product safety, and end-to-end value chain and standards. These pillars serve as the key work streams of the forum, and are considered the most important factors affecting the consumer goods industry.
More than half the world’s population is expected to be obese by 2050, while 30% of food produced is wasted. There are 21 million victims of forced labour globally, and 600 million people suffer from food-borne illnesses owing to a lack of food safety regulations. The end-to-end value chain has limited transparency and products have minimal traceability. Hence, through focusing on the five pillars outlined by the Consumer Goods Forum, issues such as these can resolved with actionable solutions.
This has been achieved through the collaboration of manufacturers and retailers within the Consumer Goods Forum. Health and wellness programmes now consist of 1.8 billion people impacting 5 000 communities across the globe. The creation of ethical sourcing guidelines for soy, beef, palm oil, pulp, and paper production has seen a positive impact on the environment. This is helped by the implementation of low carbon refrigeration by more than 4 000 supermarkets. To tackle social sustainability, harmonised global supply chains have been created to increase efficiency and transparency. 100 000 food operations and facilities have been certified across 160 countries effectively addressing the need for greater food safety. Finally, end-to-end value chains have been influenced by the SmartLabel, which ensures transparency for consumers who purchase these products – building trust between consumers and retailers.
The Consumer Goods Forum aims to support their consumers through engendering trust and rebuilding confidence in brands where necessary. They believe companies are responsible for protecting the planet, alongside their profit margins, which are often interlinked. Through collective action, this can be achieved. The Consumer Goods Forum, aims to support industry through encouraging companies to ‘go beyond’ their own experiences, learning the best practices from one another to ensure a healthy consumer goods industry. Collaboration with government is of paramount importance to the industry, as this can open more pragmatic routes for engagement with the market effectively boosting business and GDP globally.
The mission, approach, and strategic pillars of the Consumer Goods Forum all serve one purpose, and that is to make positive change within the industry, but also the world at large. Through collaboration, the Forum makes it possible to learn from key industry players, enables discussions on key issues, and creates effective implementation strategies for the industry.
Next year, the Consumer Goods Summit will be held in Berlin from 20 – 23 June, and will once again bring together the biggest CEO in the consumer goods industry to continue tackling the challenges they face.
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