The Consumer Goods Forum, an industry group that works to improve business practices in the sector, has established a new China board of directors, which will be co-chaired by Alibaba Group Executive Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang.
Zhang, who joined the CGF global board in 2017 and was named its vice co-chair earlier this summer, will share responsibility with New Hope Liuhe Chairwoman Angela Liu, CGF said during its China Day event in Hangzhou on Tuesday. The China board is CGF’s only regional board apart from its Latin America board, set up in 2015.
“The launch of the new CGF China Board highlights the importance of Chinese companies in helping to tackle global challenges around plastic waste, consumer health, product data and food safety,” said Zhang. “By working together with regional experts, we can develop innovative solutions to address these issues collectively as an industry and deliver new value to consumers.”
The Consumer Goods Forum’s worldwide network of retailers, manufacturers and other stakeholders includes chief executives and senior executives from some of the world’s best-known companies in the sector, including brands such as L’Oréal, PepsiCo and Unilever to retailers such as Auchan, Tesco, Target and Walgreens Boots Alliance. They work on initiatives that range from environmental sustainability and improving food safety to the end-to-end digitization of value chains.
WATCH: Daniel Zhang on New Role at the CGF
Consumers are at the heart of their efforts, Zhang added.
“It always goes back to the consumer. The first letter in CGF says it all,” said Zhang. “For every one of us, belonging to different sectors and different steps along the value chain, we all face consumers. Our ultimate aim to make consumers satisfied and happy and exceed their expectations.”
The Forum’s Managing Director Peter Freedman said the new China board will help them “engage companies at the local level and provide them with the key platform to address local challenges, one that also comes with the full support of a global board and expert teams around the world.”
Emmanuel Faber, chairman and CEO of French food company Danone and co-chair of the CGF global board of directors, said the Chinese members of CGF are “a key piece in the puzzle to tackle today’s global industry challenges. They bring a unique perspective that is vital to the ongoing conversations, and we need to engage and support those companies looking to lead from the front.”
Zhang said that, through the new role, he hopes to bring to light some best practices in China that can be applied around the world. He also expects Alibaba to offer fresh perspectives and new solutions to the CGF, leveraging its technological capabilities and ecosystem reach.
According to figures released at the company’s Investor Day event last month, Alibaba aims to serve over 1 billion annual active consumers – up from 730 million consumers as of June – and surpass RMB 10 trillion ($1.41 trillion) in annual gross merchandise volume through its China consumer business by the end of fiscal 2024.
“A key feature of ours is we are an important interface between [businesses] and consumers,” Zhang said. “Digitization has provided us with brand-new opportunities and new ways to reach large numbers of consumers that would’ve been hard to imagine in the traditional retail world.”