The latest meeting of the Working Capital Forum saw treasury leaders from several major retail and FMCG firms gather around our Virtual Round Table.
In a wide-ranging conversation, the group shared experiences of managing cash during the global pandemic and the unique pressures placed on them and their teams. The catalyst for the conversation came from new research by event sponsor Taulia, which looked at how retail is emerging from the COVID area. Some highlights from the report, shared during the meeting, included:
For those around the table, these pandemic issues were certainly front-of-mind, but other themes also emerged. One of these is managing risks in volatile markets, with one online retailer saying he was spending a great deal of time managing commodity risks and FX risk – a problem that echoed with other group members, especially in the FMCG sector.
Perhaps the most prominent of these new challenges was a focus on ESG (Environmental, Societal, and Governance) issues, especially around sustainability in the wake of the COP26 summit in Glasgow. Many of the treasurers spoke of renewed pressure from executives for greater ESG awareness and action across the business in the wake of the summit. For treasurers, this has meant looking for ‘greener’ investment options but also supporting more sustainable practices among suppliers, often through ESG incentives built into SCF programmes.
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