Let me first introduce myself. I joined as the managing director of the CGF at the beginning of the year. Since then, I have been trying to meet as many people as possible, especially our members, and it’s been a great privilege for me to start to get acquainted with the GFSI. Allow me therefore to offer you four observations from someone who still has the benefit of being new to all that you do:
1. Your commitment and passion is inspiring. I was able to join some of the GFSI Board and working group meetings in Anaheim. I can tell you I have attended many similar industry meetings in my career and I have seldom seen such numbers of such senior people collaborating with such passion on work that is of such fundamental importance to consumers worldwide. The fact that you are all ‘volunteers’ makes it all the more extraordinary.
2. The GFSI is a great example of something that the Consumer Goods Forum is almost uniquely qualified to support. The issues you are tackling span retailers, manufacturers and service providers, can only be addressed globally, and will sometimes require tough decisions that only the CEOs of your companies can address. That’s a pretty good description of what I think the CGF should focus on.
3. You are clearly having impact. I hope you have all seen the independent research showing evidence of the GFSI’s impact on food safety itself, on regulatory compliance and on food safety culture and skills. Another marker of your impact is the fact that some of the world’s most important regulators attended the GFSI Board meeting in Anaheim and talked about the benefits of a public-private partnership with GFSI. That’s both impressive and enormously encouraging for the future.
4. There is a lot more we can do together. I am looking forward to working with the GFSI Board and with all of you on the challenges that lie ahead. An example of these challenges will be to ensure that the principle of “once certified accepted everywhere” does indeed lead to greater efficiency in our industry.
I hope you are very proud of what you do – you certainly should be!