On 18 June 2014, the Board of The Consumer Goods Forum released two important messages, emphasising the consumer goods industry’s commitment to sustainability and consumer health & wellness. The Consumer Goods Forum (“The Forum”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 manufacturers, retailers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. The Forum member companies have combined sales of EUR 2.5 trillion. Their retailer and manufacturer members directly employ nearly 10 million people with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain.
Regarding sustainability, the Board called on heads of state across the world to secure an ambitious and legally binding global climate deal and to make the UN REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) climate change mitigation plan a priority. CEOs also renewed their commitment to taking action through the two Board-approved climate change resolutions; namely, help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 through the sustainable sourcing of key commodities and to begin phasing-out of hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) in new refrigeration installations by 2015 and replace them with non-HFC refrigerants.
Paul Polman, Co-Sponsor of The Forum’s Sustainability Pillar, and CEO of Unilever, commented: “Our call to governments comes one year before Paris hosts the UN’s Climate Summit. That summit will offer another chance for leaders across the world to act decisively to combat climate change. While we at The Consumer Goods Forum have a clear role to play in creating a more sustainable future, we need to draw upon and work in partnership with governments and civil society to transform markets at scale, and within the framework of an accepted and enforced global climate deal that implements the appropriate elements of REDD+”.
Recognising the importance of health and wellness to consumers, The Consumer Goods Forum reaffirmed its commitment to the implementation of its Health & Wellness Resolutions published in June 2011 and asked its members for increased alignment and engagement on its ambitious five-year plan, which aims to empower the world’s population to make healthier product and lifestyle choices.
The plan includes a number of specific actions from the Resolutions, such as publicising company policies on nutrition and product formulation; implementing employee health and wellness programmes; consistent product labelling; stopping targeted advertising to children under 12 for products that do not fulfil specific nutrition criteria. In order to measure progress in implementation of the Resolutions, the industry’s first ever industry-wide survey is also being conducted, and has been extended to signatories of the AIM Charter on Brands for Health & Wellbeing, if they wish to participate.
Paul Bulcke, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé SA and Co-Sponsor of The Forum’s Health & Wellness Pillar, added: “The consumer goods industry acknowledges its role in the health and wellness of society, the issues around it, and the imperative need for actions. We have to scale up our efforts. We have to accelerate existing initiatives. We have to engage in multi-stakeholder dialogues and efforts. We believe that The Forum will contribute to a positive impact in this area. Today’s outcome shows the commitments that only CEOs can make to demonstrate that the consumer goods industry, through The Forum, is a hugely important partner for organisations seeking to make the world a healthier and better place”.