Consumer Goods Forum Sustainable Retail Summit Kicks Off In Lisbon

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Consumer Goods Forum Sustainable Retail Summit Kicks Off In Lisbon

The 2018 Consumer Goods Forum Sustainable Retail Summit, the annual gathering of industry leaders to discuss all matters relating to supply chain transparency, plastic packaging, healthy living, sustainable waste management, and protecting the world’s oceans, is underway at the Dom Pedro Lisboa Hotel.

Taking place today and tomorrow (25/26 October), the Summit feature top speakers from firms including Sainsbury’s, Henkel, Ahold Delhaize, Marks & Spencer, Walmart, Metro AG, Mars Inc, Sonae, Coca-Cola and many others, as well as providing a platform for collaboration between retailers and suppliers.

Click here to view the official programme for this year’s Summit.

ESM: European Supermarket Magazine is also present at the event, in our capacity as media partner. If you are attending, make sure you pick up your copy of the latest issue of Europe’s top grocery magazine. Contact [email protected] to arrange a meeting.

Leading The Way

Ahead of the Summit, ESM spoke to Ignacio Gavilan, director of environmental sustainability at the Consumer Goods Forum (and one of the original instigators of the Sustainable Retail Summit, three years ago), about some of the key themes that the forum is seeking to address this year.


“The important thing to remember, is that the Sustainable Retail Summit is not a beauty contest,” Gavilan explains.

“Some of the companies attending the event have done fantastic work in terms of sustainability, and others are only starting out on their journey and are only discovering best practice. It’s all about positive migration and encouraging those that are in their early stages to become the trend setters of tomorrow.”

Specific areas in which the Consumer Goods Forum has been able to facilitate dialogue include refrigeration – “we were able to encourage businesses to move from synthetic refrigerants to naturals, without the need for policy or obligation” – and deforestation – “we were able to provide retailers and manufacturers with the tools for procurement, so they know what to do” – as well as making great strides in terms of tackling food waste, forced labour, and other sensitive issues.

“The issue of waste is not one that businesses can solve alone,” says Gavilan.


“No matter how aggressive their individual commitments are, nothing compares to that collective action when it comes to solving these issues. Yes, you can make a difference if you have two or three leaders moving in a certain direction, but if you can get 40 businesses all going the same direction, the rest of the industry will follow,” he adds.

Topical Issues

The Forum has aligned itself with organisations that have been proactive in terms of raising awareness and enacting change on the issue of plastic waste, which is likely to be one of this year’s main talking points.

“It’s about encouraging firms to work, in a ‘pre-competitive’ way, to address plastic waste,” says Gavilan. “This can be challenging, because of course every single company is proud of their packaging, and many are taking steps to reduce the size or shape of their packaging. But even when this is the case, you still have plastic floating in the ocean.


“We’re looking at how we can develop collective solutions for positive change – for example, a fundamental redesign of plastic packaging. Why does a particular types of packaging need so many different layers, only some of which can be recycled? Also, we need to look at collection systems - no matter how recyclable your plastic is, it will more often than not end up in the wrong place if the right infrastructure is not available.

“This is going to be one of the main talking points at this year’s Summit,” he adds.

The 2018 Consumer Goods Forum Sustainable Retail Summit takes place at the Dom Pedro Lisboa Hotel on 25 and 26 October. For more information, visit

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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