Global companies need to put sustainable development at the core of their strategy if they are to succeed in the future, Carrefour chairman and chief executive Daniel Bernard told the world's top retailers and suppliers last week. Addressing 496 delegates from 38 countries at the CIES World Food Business Summit in Atlanta, Bernard said globalisation and its effects were increasingly being questioned, presenting a new challenge to retailers. "Citizens ­ voters, shareholders and customers ­ have awoken to safeguarding the future. They are no longer happy to simply suffer the consequences of other people's decisions without taking action," he said. "It is a wake-up call. We need a more accountable kind of globalisation." He described sustainable development as the only credible solution for long term strategy, and said it was a "lever to create value in a company". Among the factors that have to be considered are a sustainable good price to suppliers, environmental protection, fair wages and product safety. "We need to give transparent and complete information so that people can exercise their freedom of choice," he said. Last year Carrefour produced its first report on sustainable development. The 50-page report outlines its commitment to issues such as developing durable and equitable relationships with SME suppliers, ensuring suppliers do not use child or forced labour and adding an environmental approach to site audits. Carrefour was the first major food retailer to develop an international presence, back in 1973. In the last decade the French retailer, which has 9,000 stores and employs 382,000 people, has multiplied sales by four and profits by eight times. "We have learned how to understand and respect diverse customers and adapt to each market," said Bernard. "We are Chinese in China, Turkish in Turkey and Brazilian in Brazil." Bernard was one of a distinguished group of world-leading directors addressing the issue of who is accountable for the global economy. These included Wal-Mart president and CEO Lee Scott, Woolworths CEO Roger Corbett and Coca-Cola chairman and CEO Douglas Daft. Delegates also heard the views of former president of the Republic of Poland Lech Walesa while South Africa's Pick N' Pay organised a surprise recording from Nelson Mandela, who said globalisation was not to be feared or despised. {{NEWS }}