Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps provided a stunning backdrop to the World Conference on Detergents.
Charts Its Future
The Seventh World Conference on Detergents in Montreux looked at the biggest
problems facing this $65 billion segment and offered some solutions on issues
such as sustainability and innovation.
Tom Branna • Editorial Director
LEADERS OF THE GLOBAL detergent in- dustry descended on Montreux, Switzerland last month for the Seventh World Conference on Detergents. The
event, organized by the American Oil
Chemists Society (AOCS), attracted nearly
900 industry executives from consumer
product companies and their suppliers.
For the first time, the conference featured keynote addresses from the chief executive officers of the three largest
detergent manufacturers: Bob McDonald of
Procter & Gamble, Paul Polman of Unilever
and Kaspar Rorsted of Henkel. While The
Big 3 were undoubtedly the stars of the
conference, the organizing committee put
The opening session included remarks by (l-r): Keith Grime, Bill Schmitz, Chris DeSozia and David Duncan.
together a program filled with speakers
who provided unique perspectives on a variety of disparate subjects.
“We’ve never had a better program,”in-
sisted conference general chairman Keith
Grime of KJG Consulting. “It’s been a tu-
multuous four year break between Mon-
treux conferences and all of us have been
affected by tremendous change and uncer-
With such uncertainty in the global
marketplace, Montreux gave attendees the
opportunity to stop and assess where the
detergent industry has been and where it is
going, according to Grime.
There’s no denying that the global
household products industry is under pressure, noted Robert McDonald, chairman of
P&G. Market growth slowed to 4% in 2009,
compared to 5% the previous three years;
consumer habits have changed; commodity
costs remain volatile; and the regulatory
environment is difficult to navigate.
Still the opportunities for growth are