The FIA Secretariat joined global CEOs from the world’s leading manufacturers and retailers last week for the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Board meeting in Washington DC. Attending the meeting as part of the CGF Liaison Group, FIA contributed to a substantive discussion on the CGF’s key policy pillars, including food safety, sustainability, and health and wellness.

Throughout the meeting, it was clear that alignment between industry groups working on food safety initiatives in Asia continues to be a priority for the CGF Board. Following the meeting FIA Executive Director joined the CEOs of CGF and the US Grocery Manufacturers’ Association (GMA) at a meeting at the World Bank to discuss next steps for the newly established Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP).

This initiative, which is a public-private partnership for capacity building to support better food safety practices across the global agri-food sector, is the Bank’s first partnership with the private sector. It has generated considerable interest among stakeholders, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

GFSP encompasses regulatory institutions, private enterprises, processors, producers, manufacturers, retailers and other stakeholders along the agri-food value chain. It aims to raise donations from public and private sector donors to sponsor food safety training courses in emerging markets.

Bev Postma, Executive Director of FIA, acknowledged the leadership shown by GMA in developing the concept and urged more Asia based companies and retailers to be engaged in the discussions.

“FIA will continue to assist the leading partners of the GFSP by hosting regular roundtables with member representatives in Asia’s emerging markets, and by encouraging more Asian companies and retailers to be engaged in these discussions.

“FIA has been invited to participate in a multi-stakeholder dialogue at the World Bank office in Paris next week. The industry will be asked to review the governance model for the food safety partnership and identify immediate priorities for training and capacity building. There is a large focus on emerging economies, particularly in Asia Pacific,” she said.

Ms Postma added that FIA members are invited to provide feedback on the draft 5-year plan, and encourages them to do so.

Meanwhile, FIA has updated its members on other key outcomes from the CGF Board meeting, where CEOs discussed their commitment to the resolution on tackling overweight and obesity.

Ms Postma said: “CGF’s efforts are generally aligned with IFBA’s commitments and they will focus on gathering data to demonstrate how members are delivering against these communities. FIA will continue to work closely with the CGF Health and Wellness Team, and share the outcomes of our recent members’ survey on the roll out of front of pack GDAs in Asia.”

Ms Postma concluded that sustainability was also raised throughout the meeting.

“This was highlighted as another key focus for the CGF Board and there was a strong call for member action against the CGF resolution on deforestation and a renewed focus on sustainable palm oil and pulp and paper.

“FIA will continue to monitor these discussions as an observer.”