Business growth is key to post-pandemic recovery

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Loic Tassel, President, Europe, Procter & Gamble


  • The EU is investing billions in COVID-19 recovery plans to build a more resilient, sustainable economy.
  • P&G is committed to European recovery and plans to lead the FMCG industry through innovation, responsible growth and knowledge sharing.

I am a committed European, and despite the current crisis, as we say in French: “L’Europe est une belle opportunité”, and I know it will continue to be a beautiful opportunity, both for businesses and consumers.

Europe is an economic power and has the potential to be an even bigger power in the future. The EU is the second biggest economy in the world by GDP, after the US, and ahead of China in 2019. The region that P&G defines as ‘Europe’—much larger than the EU—equates to a third of the global economy, $30 trillion annual GDP. To us, crisis is a time to protect, serve and support, but also a time for investment in the future.

We are not alone in this. The EU is investing in the post-COVID-19 recovery: €827 billion will be spent on rebuilding Europe in 2021 and €260 billion per year will be invested into the European Green Deal. This is kickstarting the reignition and modernization of the European economy. It is estimated that digitization will contribute up to €2.5 trillion to the European economy in 2025. Europe is also a vibrant business and retail hub. It has world leading research and development, and a strong $100 billion media and marketing industry.

For P&G, Europe is the second most important region after the US with more than 20% of global sales. As a result, we believe that we have all it takes to be optimistic. We believe in Europe and we think that the cooperation—between governments, large manufacturers like us, the retail industry and our consumers—will create sustainable consumption, driving responsible growth that will be the key to recovery. coronavirus, health, COVID19, pandemic

What is the World Economic Forum doing to manage emerging risks from COVID-19?

The first global pandemic in more than 100 years, COVID-19 has spread throughout the world at an unprecedented speed. At the time of writing, 4.5 million cases have been confirmed and more than 300,000 people have died due to the virus.

As countries seek to recover, some of the more long-term economic, business, environmental, societal and technological challenges and opportunities are just beginning to become visible.

To help all stakeholders – communities, governments, businesses and individuals understand the emerging risks and follow-on effects generated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Marsh and McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group, has launched its COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications – a companion for decision-makers, building on the Forum’s annual Global Risks Report.

Companies are invited to join the Forum’s work to help manage the identified emerging risks of COVID-19 across industries to shape a better future. Read the full COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications report here, and our impact story with further information.

Growth is the key to recovery

We believe that growth is the only possible answer to help lift Europe out of crisis. Growth is possible, and it is needed to mitigate the consequences of the global health crisis, as we will see pressure on economies, the labour market, and our societies. We need new ideas, new jobs and new development to counter confusion, uncertainty and economic downturn. We need growth and optimism to lift our societies out of the current situation.

We know this is possible, because the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry has done this before: the financial crisis of 2008 showed that while the total economy shrank – FMCG kept growing. The fiscal year 19-20 was one of P&G’s best years. We are in business because our categories are needed every day, as they enable life to continue and be more enjoyable at home.

Fast-moving consumer goods: backbone of the economy

FMCG companies like P&G are the engine of the economy, touching the lives of nearly a billion consumers across Europe and central Asia – directly and indirectly, every day. P&G Europe alone employs 32,000 people, operates 32 manufacturing plants in 15 countries, offering work, education, and stability to whole regions. European FMCG companies combined worth is well over €1 trillion annually and grew by over €75 billion in 2020*.

This industry provides 600 billion units sold every year to European consumers, sold at over 650,000 modern trade stores in Europe. This sector represents over 90,800 manufacturers and covers over 210 product categories, and despite the complications generated by the pandemic, the average category saw 150-200 new items launched per market in 2020, showing the need for products that FMCG (or as I would call it) ‘every-day-goods-companies’ are providing. This industry is a crucial pillar of the European economy and a bedrock of stability.

The industry’s responsibility and role in society

The FMGC industry currently helps stabilize European societies, but we are also creating the future. More than 2,000 P&G researchers are inventing products that Europeans will need in a changing world, and hundreds of P&G Brand Builders are inventing the future of FMCG, designed to serve consumers no matter what the context. Everyday products are an important part of everyone’s daily routine, making people feel well and safe, providing products that help them to stay healthy.

In 2021 we have a simple mission: we must make sure that these ‘everyday-products’ are available at any time, and that they are the best for our consumers. Additionally – and this should not be forgotten in COVID times – we must make sure that the lifecycle of these products respect the natural resources of our planet, that they are produced in a responsible way; a way that makes our employees, partners, stakeholders and our world thrive.

A time for reinventing responsible growth

Companies that prospered during the crisis need to act as a lighthouse and help others do business the right way. P&G focusses on five areas, and we are inviting our industry, and our partners, to join us:

1. We will drive sustainable innovation that serves the elevated hygiene and health needs of consumers.

2. We will continue to pioneer digitalization, building capabilities that will benefit our businesses but also our societies at large.

3. We will invest in our people, enabling them to develop a true growth mindset to become more resilient to crises and to invent the future for our consumers.

4. We will continue to pursue and speed up our race to achieve climate neutrality to protect the resources of our planet.

5. We will become an even stronger advocate of equality and inclusion, to make P&G Europe a lighthouse for a society where everyone is included.

Our clear focus on these five elements is precisely why P&G Europe is confident that we will deliver responsible growth in 2020-21, and that this growth will benefit our societies at large. In this process we look for partners to achieve this together, because if there is one thing we have learned throughout the pandemic, it is that we are all in this together, in the happy and bad moments. Only if Europeans collaborate and show solidarity we will be able to make Europe an even more beautiful opportunity for us and for the generations to come.

*Nielsen IQ Retail Intelligence including European Strategic Planner, data ending 27.12.2020.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

A new European Research Area: Commission sets new plan to support green and digital transition and EU recovery

This is how travel hotspots are fighting back against overtourism

Energy Transition: Commission announces three Energy Compacts at UN High-Level Dialogue in New York

Why COVID-19 makes a compelling case for the wider integration of blockchain

Rule of law in Slovenia: MEPs conclude their first mission to the country

Fostering global citizenship in medical students through exchanges

How Gen Z and Millennials can learn to love manufacturing jobs for real

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into arbitration award in favour of Antin to be paid by Spain

Migration has set EU’s political clock ticking; the stagnating economy cannot help it and Turkey doesn’t cooperate

“Our house is on fire.” 16 year-old Greta Thunberg wants action

FIRST PERSON: An artist’s ‘obsession’ with New Orleans tradition

Veteran UN Syria Envoy to step down, pledges to work ‘until the last hour’ for peace

Paliative care and Universal Healthcare

5 neuroscience hacks that will make you happier

Soil erosion must be stopped ‘to save our future’, says UN agriculture agency

Eurozone: Retail sales and inflation point to recession

Investors must travel a winding road to net-zero. Here’s a map

Energy: EU priority projects should be aligned with 2050 climate objectives

This is where obesity places the biggest burden on healthcare

Eurozone economy desperately needs internally driven growth

Eurozone: How safe are our deposits? Which banks will survive?

Schengen: new rules for temporary checks at national borders

This Japanese TV show about work-life balance is a big hit – here’s why

Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons marks first anniversary, but still lacks sufficient numbers to become law

Brexit: No withdrawal agreement without a “backstop” for the Northern Ireland/Ireland border

Reasons to hope and reasons to keep perspective on a vaccine

Tobacco-free public space – how is the European law executed in my country?

‘No justification’ for attacks against civilians, UN envoy says on mounting cross-border violence in Gaza

‘World’s deadliest sea crossing’ claimed six lives a day in 2018: UN refugee agency

At last Britain considers a super-soft Brexit

Humanitarian aid: €24.5 million in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region

These 3 innovative solar farms show why this renewable technology is hot right now

The United States divorce rate is dropping, thanks to millennials

Discrimination in the medical curriculum: are medical schools providing students with equal access to the medical profession?

How tech can help businesses balance profit and purpose

Green Deal: Coal and other carbon-intensive regions and the Commission launch the European Just Transition Platform

FROM THE FIELD: Sourcing clean water in Ghana

Eurozone: Uncertain future with unemployment ravaging the South

How a start-up in India is pioneering a way to tackle the global e-waste problem

A Californian city gave people $500 a month – no strings attached. Here’s what happened

A very good morning in European markets

COVID-19: ‘Top priority’ must be on containment, insists WHO’s Tedros

The need for a united Europe

Security of 5G networks: EU Member States complete national risk assessments

Commission reaches agreement with collaborative economy platforms to publish key data on tourism accommodation

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by Google in the online advertising technology sector

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on guidance for national courts when handling disclosure information

New UN finance panel to push Global Goals forward

Mali facing ‘alarming’ rise in rights violations, warns UN expert

India can lead the world in solar-based growth. Here’s how

Antitrust: Commission fines Google €4.34 billion for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to strengthen dominance of Google’s search engine

UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by Ethiopia plane crash which killed 157, including at least 21 UN workers

How banks can help companies restructure for growth

EU adopts retaliative measures in response to US steel and aluminum tariffs

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s speech from World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions

The female struggle for leadership: gender issues in medicine 

Monday’s Daily Brief: Earth Day, looking for a solution to Libya crisis, focus on indigenous issues, Security Council on Sri Lanka, a high-level visit to Bangladesh

Denmark’s last circus elephants are retiring – here’s what might take their place

What is a CSO and does every company need one?

Gender Hierarchy in Medicine: From University to Specialization

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: