Johannesburg - Government, business and civil society need to work together to achieve sustainable growth, Coca-Cola Southern Africa president Therese Gearhart said on Tuesday.
“We can become the most powerful force for creating sustainable growth and shared value,” she told the Consumer Goods Council of SA (CGCSA) summit in Johannesburg.
Shared wealth was achievable through confidence, good governance and hard work.
One of the problems facing business and its relationship with consumers was mistrust, she said.
“Consumers and the public have a lot of mistrust, not just in business but also in government.
“So a lot of what we are doing comes with mistrust and that is why close collaboration is needed to achieve sustainable growth and shared value.”
Gearhart said one business alone could not do this and every sector had to work with the government and civil society.
She called for a focus on investment and job creation.
Sustainable growth should not come at a cost to business, but should form part of the growth path of a business.
Gearhart spoke about the youth movement and its role in creating opportunities because of innovation and easy access to information.
Earlier, CGCSA chief executive Gwarega Mangozhe said global economic problems were affecting South African consumers and business.
He said South Africa was experiencing its own significant socio, political and economical problems.
Mangozhe said problems included increased pressure from global competitiveness, less effective economic growth, consumer debt, and unemployment.
Despite the problems, both business and consumers had risen to the occasion and this had resulted in sustainable businesses.
“This of course has necessitated the need to build and recraft the industry,” he said.
Local and international speakers will address the summit, which is taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday, on building sustainable businesses. - Sapa