- Issues impacting retailers, manufacturers under the spotlight at The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit in Cape Town, 15 to 17 June.
South African trade and industry minister Rob Davies told a room of international CEOs and executives from the FMCG sector that government was working hard to cut the red tape inhibiting foreign business from entering the country. He said that the process of setting up a business in South Africa would, soon, be done within a more specific – and faster – time frame and that business visas would be granted more flexibly and easily going forward.
Davies was speaking on day three of the 60th Global Summit of the Consumer Goods Forum, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 15 to 17 June. The event placed the spotlight firmly on Africa as a prospect for global retailers looking for new frontiers for growth.
“The message is a simple one, the African consumer goods market is expanding. Companies need to be here if they want to be part of the continent’s future.”
Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke said Africa is a continent of opportunities. “The long-term success of our company is based on creating a sustainable business, with deep links to local society. Africa is the place to be successful, but we need to know how to combine business value with social value.”
Also on the agenda on day three of the 800-delegate strong summit, was the issue of food safety. Danny Wegman, chairman of Wegmans – a US supermarket chain of some 88 stores – says that a great deal of work still needs to be done to ensure the safety of food at all points in the supply chain. He said listeria, a bacteria which can lead to the death of unborn babies, still presented a serious issue in the foods industry.
“We made a decision to put a sign on all our ground beef recommending our customers cook the meat at 160° or they could face serious health issues. We saw sales increase by 10% as a result. For me this means that customers are clearly looking to hear the truth from the industry.”
He urged businesses to work together and share best practices with each other to ensure safer food for all consumers around the world.
Wegman said that the route to food safety begins with the CEO of every organisation. “It starts by saying “we are going to be a food safe company” and then hiring a professional to guide you. Food safety must be top of the mind of everyone in the organisation.”
Sustainability – driven by the youth
Tom Gorman, CEO of Brambles – a supply-chain logistics company operating in around 60 countries – and Julie Hamilton, Global Chief and Customer Commercial Leadership Officer at The Coca-Cola Company, debated the role of millennials with students from the Enactus organisations in Morocco, Brazil and Kenya. Enactus is acommunity of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world.
The millennials from Enactus, who are involved in various ground-breaking social entrepreneurship projects in their home countries, from solar powered refrigeration trucks in Kenya to finding other uses for ‘imperfect’ fruit in Brazil, asked leaders to partner with them and guide them to help their projects succeed and scale up for success. The students called on big business to partner with them to build sustainable projects which have longevity, that impact the lives of the people in their countries meaningfully and help them scale up for broader success.