AS Watson CEO talks about consumer change

‘Collective effort’: AS Watson CEO calls for greater retailer-manufacturer collaboration around sustainability

AS Watson CEO Malina Ngai has said manufacturers and retailers need to be better at collaborating if the business world is to make enough of an impact around sustainability.

During a plenary session called ‘The World is Changing, Consumers are Changing – We Need to Change Too’ at The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Global Summit 2023 in Kyoto, Japan, last week, Ngai discussed how an eco focus is part of what the new breed of consumer wants to see from the business community.

The AS Watson CEO, whose remit covers Asia and Europe, joined CGF board co-chairs Frans Muller and Dirk Van de Put –  CEOs of Ahold Delhaize and Mondelēz International – respectively on the stage in Kyoto. She used her platform at the event to address the global change agenda for retailers and manufacturers.

“With sustainability being high on customers’ mind, businesses need to align their purpose with the customers’ values so that we can jointly create a more positive impact on the planet,” she said.

Ngai urged all companies – big and small, and from all geographic locations – to work together towards becoming more sustainable.

“The subject of sustainability is far-reaching and requires collective efforts between retailers and manufacturers to create significant impact,” the AS Watson CEO explained.

Earlier in her speech, she described the changes businesses are navigating right now as “new opportunities”.

“Today, consumers are becoming more emotional, more unpredictable, more educated, and more socially conscious. They want more choices, more deals, and have less time and loyalty,” Ngai said.

“It’s becoming very complex to run a retail business because it’s not only about trying to win customers’ share of wallet but also share of time. Time is a new currency. With the constant change in their behaviours, retailers and manufacturers need to adapt accordingly and with pace.”

AS Watson owns Superdrug, Savers, and The Perfume Shop, which operate in the UK. Read Green Retail World’s interview with The Perfume Shop’s managing director, Gill Smith, where she explains key aspects of the retailer’s strategy to become a greener organisation.

[Image credit: AS Watson]

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