The grocery industry can tackle big issues like youth unemployment and climate change if companies collaborate, according to Fiona Dawson, president at Mars UK and the IGD’s first female president.
Speaking at the 2013 IGD Convention, Dawson acknowledged the industry was competitive but was also “incredibly powerful when we work together”.
Dawson highlighted the success of the IGD’s Feeding Britain’s Future initiative, which aims to help young unemployed people get a foot on the career ladder, but said the fact youth unemployment was still stuck at the 1m mark is “an absolute tragedy”.
IGD is determined to address the issue and over 200 companies are now participating in the Feed Britain’s Future campaign including large businesses, one-man enterprises plus numerous stakeholders.
Dawson reported 98% of young people who took part in the latest initiative said they were now better equipped to get a job and 89% would consider the grocery industry for a place of employment.
“We can be incredibly transformational and can use it not just for unemployment,” said Dawson.
Climate change is another opportunity but reengineering supply chains to be sustainable for future generations would not be sufficient on its own, said Dawson.
The industry is also a consumer facing one and needs clear and simple messaging to navigate through this issue, she said.
Dawson revealed the IGD was launching a campaign to engage with consumers in this respect.
The grocery sector provides a diverse amount of opportunities to impact consumers and do the right thing, she said.
“If we work collaboratively we can continue to power the industry of the future.”