Today amidst a gathering of the world’s consumer goods industry leaders at the CGF Global Summit in South Africa, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to signal their commitment to a large-scale partnership for food safety.

Addressing Critical Challenges on a Global Scale

The partnership solidified today sets out to harness the vast experience and knowledge of both global organisations in order to implement “a roadmap for scaling up” by developing large-scale food safety capability building projects in a number of key regions in the global food supply network.

This development programme will be based on the GFSI Global Markets Programme, which sets out how small or less developed food companies can meet the challenge of food safety and gain market access. It will be enabled by UNIDO, benefiting from their specialised experience in industrial development capability building.

A Roadmap for a Far-Reaching Implementation Plan

According to a roadmap which is currently being crafted, this far-reaching food safety capability programme will be implemented in a number of key geographies, starting with China, Southeast Asia and Africa before being continued in further regions.

In China, the partnership aims to scale up food safety capacity building for local food enterprises throughout China in line with the Sustainable Supplier Development Programme (SSDP) and establish the China Food Safety Initiative.

In South East Asia, the aim is to initiate a regional SSDP programme, scaling up the UNIDO-AEON Malaysia SSDP programme into a multi-country, and multi-buyer initiative.

In Africa, the project will benefit from a strong UNIDO presence to design and build a joint UNIDO-GFSI multi-country, multi-buyer project for Africa on capacity building.

Going Further Thanks to Cross-Sector Collaboration

Commenting on the new partnership, Philippe Scholtès, Managing Director, Programme Development and Technical Cooperation at UNIDO, said: “The World Health Organization estimates that up to 600 million people fall ill every year after eating contaminated food. Our collaboration with GFSI will further strengthen and promote multiple benefits of safe food for social inclusiveness, sustainability and industrial development.”

Mike Robach, Chair of the GFSI Board of Directors said “We are very enthusiastic about the potential to have a bigger impact in these key regions thanks to this collaboration with UNIDO. Multi-sector collaboration is the way forward in achieving food safety across borders and barriers. Our joint efforts within this partnership will take us further and faster towards our vision of safe food for consumers, everywhere.”

The Global Summit in South Africa served as a natural backdrop to this signing ceremony as 800 top business leaders of major consumer goods companies gather to discuss the future of the industry. With the motto Better Lives Through Better Business, The Consumer Goods Forum collaborates with its 400 members to drive positive change and business efficiency, across social and environmental sustainability, health and wellness, end-to-end value chain and food safety through GFSI.

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