Coca-Cola and Carrefour CEOs to head Consumer Goods Forum

The Consumer Goods Forum has elected Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, and Lars Olofsson, CEO of Carrefour, as its new co-chairs.

Muhtar Kent
Muhtar Kent

Jointly, the co-chairs will drive cross-industry collaborative action on sustainability, consumer health and wellness and food safety. They will serve a two-year term.

The Consumer Goods Forum is an independent global parity-based consumer goods network. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of over 650 retailers, manufacturers, service providers and other stakeholders across 70 countries.

The Forum was created in June 2009 by the merger of CIES – The Food Business Forum, the Global Commerce Initiative (GCI) and the Global CEO Forum.

Kent says: “The Consumer Goods Forum offers the industry the chance, finally, to come together on even terms and work in concert on the non-competitive issues that affect all of our companies. The Forum delivers the concrete working tools, benchmarks and best practice we need to get this work done. It is also a highly effective way for us to stay connected and engaged with our many and varied stakeholders.”

Olofsson adds: “Our consumers deserve the best possible response from retail and industry on the issues that resonate with them. We truly have today an opportunity to serve shoppers and consumers in a better, faster and responsible way and offer them a better life through better business. We as an industry must move forward in a more collaborative, open and inclusive way.”

At the Forum’s global summit in London yesterday, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales told the CEOs and Chairmen of the world’s leading consumer goods retailers and manufacturers to use their collective market power to force urgent and immediate change in the way ocean fisheries are managed.

Sir Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco, and Paul Polman, CEO of consumer goods giant Unilever, gave an unequivocal call for for immediate, concerted and collaborative action on climate change.

“All the evidence is that climate change is a reality,” Leahy told the Summit. “Experts remain 90% certain that it is caused by man’s activities.” He said that consumers wanted business to take a lead and to help them be sustainable in their own lives. “Our challenge is to harness that desire and help fulfill it by creating a mass movement in green consumption.”

Paul Polman said that, with 75% of all emissions influenced by consumers, the time to act was now. “To those who say, ’Can’t we wait until the recession is over?’ I say no. And to those who ask, ’Why can’t we leave it to government?’ my answer is that no single institution can tackle this problem alone. Of course governments need to act – and many are. But by working together – business, government, consumers – we can achieve collectively what none of us can achieve alone.”

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