To close our reporting for today here, we wrap-up CHOCOVISION 2014 - referring to the closing remarks of Juergen Steinemann, CEO of Barry Callebaut, the initiator and organizer of CHOCOVISION.
Throughout the conference, CHOCOVISION 2014 saw a very diverse line-up of speakers – starting with a Swiss Minister, an investment banker and a Peace Nobel Prize Laureate. CHOCOVISION 2014 touched upon a broad range of topics – like consumer needs, macroeconomic changes, demographics, innovation, health, retail landscape, the digital revolution, social values. We discussed challenges, issues and possible solutions.
James Walton from IGD painted a rather bleak picture for the developed markets of Western Europe, the USA and Japan... and one of an exciting growth story especially for China. That’s where the likes of Firmenich are coming in... Aldo Uva and Gary Smith, who were talking about how a flavor company can help create products with reduced sugar and salt, which will add to a better, healthier life.
Health will become a major mega trend for the cocoa and chocolate industry.... is it the new ‘sustainability’ in terms of importance? As John Morris of KPMG pointed out ‘Health concerns will impact the market’. This, according to John, has already led to a noticeable increase in the consumption of dark chocolate because it is healthier.
What has become evident here in Davos, as well, is the need to reformulate products. Gabino Gómez Carbajal of Grupo Bimbo presented an impressive case study on the grave impact of obesity – with 30% of Mexico’s population suffering from this modern day plague.
The ability to adapt like natural life on the Galapagos Island – adapting to specific markets, to consumer trends, to customer needs – was running like a golden thread through the case study of Yoshitaka Ebihara, Chairman of Fuji Oil.
Another golden thread set by trend strategist Dr. Graeme Codrington, is the impact of technology on our daily lives, on how we interact. As corporate leaders, we should be ready to embrace the new posibilities technology offers... Also to be able to become the employers Generation Y wants to work for, or brands they want to buy.
What could be heard loud and clear from 4 leaders of tomorrow – Louis, Nickolet, Kamila and Sergio from Jacobs University – is a strong sense of community and inclusiveness. Their message to the conference' participant was: ‘We are all part of the same planet, and we only have one planet to share.’
We also heard about the importance of ‘collaborative innovation’, as Dr. Ian Roberts of Bühler illustrated. He also rightly pointed to ‘the need for sustainable value chains becoming ever more important.
Another leader of today has understood and embodied the new rules of success and failure very early on: Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. Yes, the times are turbulent – or VUCA: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambigious. And the leadership skills to navigate this world are different than maybe what we learnt at university 20, 30 years ago. Paul Polman's argument that business can and must become a key part of the response to today’s major challenges and why this ultimately makes good business sense was truly compelling.... And encouraging.
Coming from another angle – research and science – Dr. Aalt Dijkhuizen, hinted to the fact that agriculture, too, should be considered from a business perspective. ‘Sustainable intensification is key’, was his key finding. As well as ‘Smallholder farming will not survive in the future.’
CHOCOVISION 2012 brought together key stakeholders along the cocoa value chain for the first time... Senior business people who can take decisions. To secure long-term supplies of enough quality cocoa, but also because all stakeholders have a moral obligation, the industry felt that there is a need to take action... collaborative action. The result of this joint understanding is CocoaAction. Starting from lots of well-intended projects with little impact – the World Cocoa Foundation counted 120 different projects –, the industry has been able to agree on an aligned approach where all are working now in the same direction. This was not an easy process among the initially 7 leaders of the world’s major cocoa and chocolate companies: ADM, Cargill, Hershey’s, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé and Barry Callebaut. The process is still at the beginning. But this was a major break-through.
During CHOCOVISION 2014, participants also had the privilege to listen and learn from two powerful women from Africa ... who both have a fascinating personal story to tell ... but who also came with a strong message.
Leymah Gbowee, who reminded the audience of the important role of women – and that the industry should give women more space. With her examples, Leymah has convinced participants that there's a need to pay more attention to the gender debate and the role and the rights of women in cocoa communities.
Dr. Auma Obama, on the other hand, shared her strong believes ... Such as that only free trade is truly fair trade. And she also talked about her rich experience from working with underprivileged children and youth in rural Africa in a very passionate way. If we do not take their valid question – ‘What’s in it for me?’ – seriously, we know that we will lose the next generation farmers... This is not an option.
Because, if industry does not take no action NOW, it will reach a dangerous inflection point by 2020, driving the industry south – as Damien Courvalin from Goldman Sachs has shown in an unsettling slide.
Wrapping up CHOCOVISION 2014 in a nutshell: Let us think today for tomorrow – and move Fast Forward!
See you again in two years at CHOCOVISION 2016 - or in between on our social media channels.
To close our reporting, here is a short video with the two 'fathers' of CHOCOVISION, Andreas Jacobs, Chairman of Barry Callebaut, and Juergen Steinemann, CEO of Barry Callebaut: