With The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit kicking off today in Dublin, the CGF and EY have published a new report that calls on CPG suppliers to take urgent steps to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 deadline.
“As we race toward the 2030 deadline for the SDGs, time is short," commented Wai-Chan Chan, managing director of The Consumer Goods Forum. "But we can and must build a more resilient world in which no one is left behind. The consumer goods industry is vital to achieving the SDGs, and collaboration to help ensure this has never been more critical."
The SDGs were established in 2015, and with the halfway point now reached, the report identifies five priority areas in which consumer goods firms can accelerate progress. They are:
Partner For Success
Profitability and revenue competition are part of a healthy economy but solving sustainability's systemic challenges requires collaboration. Only by pulling together can consumer businesses rise to the scale of the challenges ahead – from combating climate change to reducing global inequality.
Measure For Progress And Impact
Businesses can’t manage what they don’t measure – and there is a clear need to integrate the SDGs with other frameworks and for consistent international or regional standards. The growing number of frameworks makes this difficult – yet convening bodies such as CGF have the power to consult and advocate for consistent standards.
Embed Sustainability Into Your Company DNA
Companies that embed the SDGs into their working culture – potentially through rewards and incentives – are far more likely to achieve them.
Bring The Consumer On The Journey
Consumer companies occupy a privileged position that confers great power, and great responsibility, in shaping consumption. They can incentivise better consumer behaviour and raise awareness of the SDGs in ways that other stakeholders cannot. Consumers are rewarding those businesses who do the right things to improve the health of communities. If businesses fail to act on urgent environmental and social issues, they will get left behind.
Make A Big Difference
All SDGs should be supported but companies need to prioritise the areas where you have the power to make the biggest difference. Whether it is malnutrition, sanitation or waste, certain companies can make a greater contribution to some SDGs than others, depending on their experience and sphere of influence. Setting material targets will help companies to make a tangible difference in the areas most appropriate to them.
The report, developed in collaboration with EY teams, features interviews with leaders from 13 of the largest global consumer goods companies: Ahold Delhaize; Alibaba Group; Ajinomoto Group; A.S. Watson Group; The Coca-Cola Company; DFI Retail Group; Grupo Éxito; Kerry Group; Kirin Holdings; Musgrave Group; Procter & Gamble; Unilever; and Woolworths Holdings.
“Collaboration among businesses, governments and organisations will be key at this halfway point to reach the Sustainable Development Goals," commented Kristina Rogers, EY Global Consumer Leader. "However, consumer businesses also have a unique opportunity to bring consumers along on this journey, in ways that other stakeholders cannot.
"These companies not only occupy a significant position of influence, but also have responsibility for shaping and inspiring better consumer behaviours, raising awareness of the goals and building momentum toward real SDGs progress.”
"Our new report underlines the importance of corporate collectivity," Chan added. "Businesses have an unprecedented responsibility: society’s urgent global problems cannot be solved by government, business, non-profits or citizens alone. Great strides have been made in accelerating positive action, but we must all challenge ourselves to go much further if we are to deliver on the SDGs by 2030.
"With an ethos of collaboration, we can share knowledge and combine resources to innovate and adapt.”
The full report can be found here.
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