The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit 2024 – Event Preview

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit 2024 – Event Preview

The Windy City is the perfect location for businesses to embrace the winds of change. Stephen Wynne-Jones looks forward to The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit. This article first appeared in ESM's May/June 2024 edition.

In 1964, Frank Sinatra recorded one of his best-loved hits, an ode to Chicago entitled My Kind of Town, with lyrics that celebrate city landmarks such as the Wrigley building and the now-closed Union Stockyards – as well as its “razzmatazz ... and all that jazz.”

Some 60 years on, this summer, Chicago will play host to The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit – the annual meeting of minds for retail and consumer goods leaders – which will seek to set out a road map for the sector in terms of collaboration, resilience, and driving positive change. No better location, therefore – after all, as Ol’ Blue Eyes put it, Chicago is a city that “won’t let you down”.

Under the theme ‘Empowering Businesses to Deliver a Better Tomorrow’, the summit will feature industry leaders from some of the world’s biggest retail and CPG firms – including Coca-Cola, Ahold Delhaize, Mondelēz International, Walmart International, AS Watson, Unilever, L’Oréal, Loblaw, Danone, PepsiCo, Bel Group, Wegmans, Haleon, Instacart, Aldi and Kraft Heinz, to name but a few – and will take place from 11 to 14 June at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk. 

'Setting New Standards'

“The Global Summit is a catalyst for important industry change, setting new standards for responsible business practices," commented Wai-Chan Chan, managing director of The Consumer Goods Forum. "It will equip leaders with tools and insights to navigate their companies towards sustainable prosperity, aligning business success with social and environmental stewardship.


“Uniting many of the world’s most influential business leaders, the event will harness the collective expertise and reach that makes the CGF a powerful force for good. We will shine a light on where change is happening and where even greater action is needed, to keep pushing forward progress across the global consumer goods community.”

This year’s summit will also feature an appearance from Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States, who will take part in a moderated Q&A session on 12 June, sharing her wisdom and leadership on how to ignite positive change. ESM will be reporting live from the summit – keep an eye on the ESM website ( and our social media channels for updates.

Accelerating Action

Building on the momentum of the 2023 summit in Kyoto, Japan, this year’s event will continue efforts to ‘accelerate the pace of change’ for both The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and its members, as underpinned by the collective efforts and commitment of the CGF’s Coalitions of Action. 

As of the end of last year, there are now nine Coalitions of Action: the Forest Positive Coalition, the Plastic Waste Coalition, the Food Waste Coalition, the Human Rights Coalition, the Collaboration for Healthier Lives Coalition, the Global Food Safety Initiative, the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative, and the Product Data Coalition, as well as the new Net Zero Coalition, which will seek to consolidate diverse decarbonisation initiatives within the sector and foster increased collaboration among CGF members and the broader Race to Zero network.


The event will also act as an opportunity to take stock of the progress being made around the Acceleration Areas announced by CGF co-chairs Frans Muller, president and chief executive of Ahold Delhaize, and Dirk Van de Put, chairman and chief executive of Mondelēz International.

ESM caught up with both Muller and Van de Put in our most recent edition.

The Acceleration Areas were introduced to recalibrate focus, scale up existing coalition actions, and bring more industry players into the fold, focusing on such areas as employee health and well-being, ensuring human rights in supply chains, advancing packaging circularity, promoting deforestation-free supply chains, and moving forward on decarbonisation. 

Read More: The Consumer Goods Forum Publishes 2023 Annual Report


Day One

Following an all-day store tour programme on 11 June, taking in some of the city’s most innovative retailers, the summit kicks off on Wednesday 12 June with an invitation-only CEO Breakfast series (with Tesco CEO Ken Murphy, Unilever CEO Hein Schumacher and DFI Retail Group’s Scott Price) holding concurrent events), before the opening address from co-chairs Muller and Van de Put, alongside CGF managing director Chan and plenary moderator Isabelle Kumar.

It’s then on to the morning plenary sessions and a discussion on the topic ‘The Challenged Consumer – Shifting Values & Behaviours,’ which will include insights from James Quincey, CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, Kathryn McLay, president and CEO of Walmart International, Malina Ngai, CEO of Asia and Europe at AS Watson, and Unilever’s Hein Schumacher.

Following this is a series of parallel sessions, including a session on reducing plastic waste featuring L’Oréal, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Loblaw, as well as a session on ways to ‘inspire healthier ways of life’, featuring Danone and Haleon representatives, among others.

A networking break then leads into a discussion on ‘The Journey to Net Zero’, which will see contributions from Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of Danone, Nina Jönsson, CEO of ICA, Scott Price, CEO of DFI Retail Group, Ramon Laguarta, CEO of PepsiCo, and Cécile Béliot, CEO of Bel Group.


Over lunch, delegates have the opportunity to dip into a discussion on DE&I, hosted by Mondelēz International and Ahold Delhaize and featuring LEAD Network’s Allyson Zimmermann and Coleen Wegman, CEO of Wegmans.

In the afternoon, Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture and Mars Inc’s Poul Weihrauch will discuss the topic ‘GenAI: Future Trends & Impact on Our Industry,’ followed by an analysis of ‘Revolutionising Beauty with Technology’ hosted by Nicolas Hieronimus, CEO of L’Oréal. 

An Accenture-sponsored I-Talk will take place during an afternoon networking break, before delegates return to the plenary hall for arguably the highlight of the day, a conversation with former First Lady Michelle Obama. Day one comes to a close with the annual L’Oréal Gala Dinner.

Day Two

The second full day of the summit, Thursday 13 June, will again kick off with a series of CEO Breakfasts – featuring Ahold Delhaize’s Muller alongside Wegmans CEO Colleen Wegman, Bel Group’s Béliot, and Minsok Pak, CEO of CJ CheilJedang – before a ‘Business Conversation’ with Fidji Simo, CEO of Instacart, gets proceedings properly under way. 

Next up, two parallel sessions are scheduled, including a one-on-one interview with Carlos Abrams-Rivera, CEO of the Kraft Heinz Company; and an analysis of the topic ‘Food Systems are Getting Worse: Call to Action’, featuring representatives from WWF USA, The Kroger Co and Aldi South Group; and a look at ‘Sustainable Growth: Unveiling Shareholders’ True Expectations.’ 

The morning coffee break will feature an I-Talk from Tetra Pak, following which delegates have the choice of four special sessions – including sessions hosted by Microsoft, Vusion Group, PricingOne and Genpact – and these are then followed by a further four parallel sessions, hosted by PA Consulting, Capgemini, Roland Berger and NIQ.  

After lunch (which features an I-Talk from Engie Impact), the summit continues with what is certain to be an insightful afternoon seminar featuring ‘Voices From the Next Generation’, hosted by Dev Sharma, BiteBack 2030 chair and member of the UK Youth Parliament. This is then followed by a discussion about shareholders’ ‘true expectations’ when it comes to sustainability, featuring representatives from McKinsey & Company, Jefferies and Melitas Ventures.

Further parallel sessions follow, on topics including The Impact of AI on Retail Business Operations; Shaping Sustainable Futures Through Corporate Commitment; and Ensuring Accountability - Navigating Human Rights Due Diligence in Today's Business Landscape before Day Two concludes with an official cocktail reception hosted by SC Johnson.

Day Three

The summit concludes on Friday 14 June with a deep-dive analysis – ‘Future Trends in Retail’ – hosted by John Phillips, SVP, customer supply chain and go-to-market at PepsiCo, before Tobias Wasmuht, CEO of SPAR International examines Retail Best Practices. This is followed by a joint presentation from the ‘Northern Stars’ of European retail and FMCG, Rolf Ladau, CEO of Paulig, Hannu Krook, CEO of S-Group, highlighting their innovative approaches and contributions to the industry.

Following this, an examination of the ‘US Retail Landscape’ will feature insights from JJ Fleeman, CEO of Ahold Delhaize USA, before an analysis of ‘China’s Retail Landscape and Digital Future of Grocery Stores’, hosted Dr Zhang Wenzhong, founder of Wumart/Dmall, rounds up the plenary programme. 

To close, CGF co-chairs Muller and Van de Put will provide their reflections on the summit just passed and look forward to the 2025 event, which is set to take place in Amsterdam.

For the full agenda, log on to The Consumer Goods Forum website, at

Embracing The Future

The 2024 edition of the summit takes place just months from the midpoint of the decade – a milestone that is likely to be met with increased effort by those striving to achieve a 2030 agenda, and a joy or a disappointment for companies that have achieved or fallen short of their 2025 aspirations, respectively.  

Either way, the summit should act as a springboard for decisive, collaborative action for the remainder of the decade. As CGF managing director Wai-Chan Chan noted in his closing address in Kyoto last year, we need to start thinking like Buzz Lightyear – “To infinity and beyond!” Or, in the words of another Frank Sinatra hit, The Best Is Yet To Come. 

The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit takes place at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk from 11 to 14 June 2024. ESM’s Stephen Wynne-Jones will be reporting from the event – log on to for updates. For more information about the summit, visit This article first appeared in ESM's May/June 2024 edition.

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