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#CGFSummit: Reap the rewards of doing business sustainably

'Shared-value sustainability' was a hot topic on the third and final day of the Consumer Goods Forum, with insights shared by Nestlé CEO and former Consumer Goods Forum co-chair, Paul Bulcke.

With a particular focus on how they do good business on the continent, Bulcke emphasised that it’s not just about environmental sustainability; it’s also about “being in it for the long haul”.

For Nestlé that’s based on clear deliverables such as education, clean water and nutrition. The delivery of the last factor is seen as the hardest to measure but Bulcke says it's all about building a permanent foundation consumers come to trust, such as with the ‘Nestlé healthy kids’ programme that spills over as an educational tool to the rest of the family and is part of a permanent effort on the continent. In addition, these tie in with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Water Africa, water the world

But Africa is by no means the last stand, as: “The same worries are present elsewhere as those on the continent.”

Bulcke says Nestlé engineers its global marketing mix around all its consumers' needs.

For example, he pointed out that without water, we can't brew a good coffee, we can’t grow crops, we can’t clean ourselves – it's a vital resource on many levels. As a result you need more than just a water pump installed in rural areas. Nestlé has taken this to heart in providing access to water and sanitation in poor communities, as well as reducing usage of water worldwide in its production process.

Now, a strong focus on improving global nutrition standards, many of Nestlé's products are fortified with micronutrients in areas where deficiencies exist.

At the end of the day Bulcke says it’s about combining your economic activity with the society you're active in, and learning how your sustainable development goals are actually served by simply doing what you have to do as a business in the right way.

It seems what's good for the consumer is ultimately good for the company. Click here for Bulcke’s presentation in full, and here for more from the Consumer Goods Forum summit.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

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