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ECR Europe '08 [Berlin]


“The world has changed.” The words of moderator Alex Thomson, opening the 13th annual ECR Europe Forum & Marketplace in Berlin, set the scene for a three-day conference in which sustainability and the pressing need for value emerged at the top – and stayed firmly at the top – of everyone’s agenda. Thomson, a TV news journalist more accustomed to the global hot-spots of Iraq and Afghanistan, was returning for his second stint as ECR Europe conference moderator. His observation reflected 12 months of economic uncertainty in the West, spiralling fuel prices, the growing clamour for environmental action and the rise of the East as an industrial and commercial powerhouse. His point was echoed by ECR Europe cochairs Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (Nestlé) and Dick Boer (Ahold). Brabeck spoke of the fundamental importance of sustainability and value creation – “two pillars of ECR” – and the need to “create and deliver value to society as well as business in a sustainable way”. ECR was the platform for change, he said. Boer pointed to ECR initiatives such as Jointly Agreed Growth, developed in the year since the previous conference in Milan and unveiled in Berlin, as ways to meet the industry’s challenges ahead. This, all agreed, was a year of change. And, Thomson said, it all came down to sustainability.

Plenary sessions

PL1 - Sustainable growth, a common challenge (Henkel)

PL1 - Jointly Agreed Growth (Nestlé - Tesco)

PL2 - Sustainability and shopping value (Unilever)

PL2 - Evolving a category (Nokia)

PL2 - Share and win (dm - L'Oréal)

PL2 - Delivering greater value to shoppers, together (Colgate-Palmolive)

PL3 - Doing good, doing well, doing it better (EU Commission)

PL3 - Connecting the dots between food and health (CCRRCNA)


Breakout sessions

BO1.1 - Future consumers

BO1.2 - The greening grocery scene

BO1.3 - T2T Collaboration

BO1.4 - Category Management

BO1.5 - The shopper is king

BO2.1 - Future supply chain 2016

BO2.2 - Implementing sustainable change

BO2.3 - Jointly Agreed Growth

BO2.4 - Shrinkage

BO2.5 - Target shoppers, activate insights

BO3.1 - Shopper dialogue

BO3.3 - On Shelf Availability

BO3.4 - Sustainable transport

BO3.5 - Differentiate or die

BO4.1 - Window on the world of retail

BO4.2 - Carbon footprint reduction

BO4.3 - eBusiness solutions

BO4.4 - Shelf-Ready Packaging

BO4.5 - In-store shopping behaviour


Special seminar

Central and Eastern Europe - Lessons for growth


Debating sessions

DB1.2 - Supply chain security

DB2.2 - CSR and responsible sourcing


Crash courses

CC1 - Putting category management into action

CC3 - Shopper-based assortment planning

What the delegates said

"The conference is in some parts inspirational. Do we have the right priorities? The Forum raises the question of whether these priorities should be changed. There is food for thought and reflection. The conference is also good for contacts. I have met people from other companies and other food manufacturers.

Gerard Schoot-Uiterkamp, Mars Europe, Germany

“The conference has been very useful, especially the breakouts, which are more concrete in their content. But the bigger sessions have certainly raised new ideas. I think the Marketplace is a bit spread out, but other than that it is a good place to meet and network. The question of sustainability is something we should all start thinking about in our way of working.”

Niklas Koiso-Kantilla, Hartwall Oy Ab, Finland


“For me, the main idea has been the need for collaboration between retailers and manufacturers – and I think there is still a lot more we can do about it. That is the key message which I will take home. I work in the supply chain and have valued the chance to benchmark with other companies. The conference is also an opportunity to network and meet other Nestlé colleagues. This was my first ECR conference and I would definitely come back if I had the opportunity.”

Elizabet Conesa Martinez, CPW (Sa), Switzerland


“I was impressed with the breakout at which Lego told how they engaged with the consumer in product development. I was interested in presentations from Google and Nokia on how the supply chains will have to change to cope with future business. There were some good ideas on how we need to change our way of thinking about future supply chain needs. There were some good creative ideas in the Marketplace. I was impressed at the sustainability records of companies like Kraft and L’Oréal.”

Dorle Bahr, Beiersdorf AG, Germany


“The conference is bigger than I expected and very professionally organised. I have certainly got lots of value out of it with the contacts I have made here. How often do you get to see top people from Nestlé and Unilever in person? And it was great to see senior executives and CEOs – from both retailers and manufacturers – shaping the focus on sustainability. It will make a big difference in the long term.”

Kevin Jackson, DHL Express Europe, Belgium


“This is my first time at the ECR conference and some topics were more useful to me than others. I particularly valued the breakout on the future supply chain and how in future consumers will change the game. There are about 10 per cent of exhibitors in my field, warehousing, and it has been enjoyable to see what others do.”

Alexandros Anagnostopoulos, Ab Vassilopoulos, Greece