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Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit – Day Three Review

Published on Jun 15 2019 2:43 PM in A-Brands tagged: Featured Post / Consumer Goods Forum / Global Summit / Vancouver

The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit might have started with environmental activists scaling the ceiling of the Vancouver Convention Centre, but it finished with the perspective of an individual who has reached far higher… Captain Scott Kelly, astronaut.

As Kelly explained in the closing address on Day Three, spending a year in space reinforced the importance of self-belief.

“If we can dream it, we can do it,” he explained, in an address that rang true with many of those present. “We need to focus on the things we can control and ignore what we can’t.”

Taking Risks

The final day kicked off – at the later time of 9.30am due to the L’Oréal soiree the night before – with a presentation from the president and CEO of Walmart International, who examined how the retailer is keeping customers at the centre of a re-imagined retail industry.

This includes the embracing of new technologies that enable Walmart delivery teams to access a customer’s home to replenish their fridge – however McKenna admitted that not all the novel tech-driven solutions being adopted by the retail giant will prove to be game-changers in a rapidly-changing retail world.

“Very few things work first time,” she said. “Those that are prepared to take risks and accept that not everything will work every time, they are the ones that move faster.”

Given Walmart’s global exposure, the issue of tariffs was also raised, with McKenna saying that Walmart is hoping for a “speedy resolution” to the current US-China trade impasse. “But at the end of the day, our job is to keep prices low, and we will do everything we can to keep prices low,” she noted.

Health And Wellness

The role of health and wellness in ‘new retail’ was examined by Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson and Walgreens Boots Aliiance’s Stefano Pessina in a discussion with Consumer Goods Forum managing director Peter Freedman, with the importance of collaboration again stressed by all parties.

Pessina, who has built a reputation as something of a dealmaker in the industry, offered his advice on how to ensure that collaborative ventures make sense.

“At the end of the day, if what you buy or sell is not in the DNA of your strategy, it’s very likely that it will fail,” he said “With any deal, the first question you should ask is not ‘who is in charge?’, it should be ‘are we creating true value or bringing a better service to the customer?’”

Creating value of a different kind, Brad Oberwager, founder and CEO of ‘gig economy’ specialist Jyve Corporation highlighted the increasing 'gamification' of modern society, noting that new technologies and platforms are “going to get very good at measuring productivity”, something firms should take on board.

Elsewhere, Daniel Servitje, chairman and CEO of bakery giant Grupo Bimbo, similarly stressed the importance of transformation, saying that four years ago, the company "made the commitment to transform ourselves. If we didn’t transform ourselves, someone would do it for us.”

Positive Change

Polar explorer Vincent Coillard also gave a sense of perspective to proceedings when he spoke of his experiences of expeditions in some of the remotest places on earth, where global warming is leading to ice melting faster than ever before.

“A pessimist would say ‘we can’t do anything and its too late’, an optimist would say ‘everything is fine’. But in both cases nothing gets done,” he explained, urging the firms present to find a balance between driving profits and also ensuring positive change.

The next Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit takes place in London in June 2020. For more information, or for information on other Consumer Goods Forum events, visit

 © 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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