Sustainability – Introduction
Putting ‘planet positive’ ideas into practice
We introduce this section on how companies in our sector are investing to protect and preserve the planet with reflections on what sustainability means in today’s travel retail world. In the pages that follow, we highlight examples of how industry leaders are taking eco-protective initiatives.
The rise of the ‘conscious consumer’ is among the mega-trends influencing today’s retail – and by extension travel retail – landscape, and one that our sector continues to grapple with.
Research from within and beyond our sector underlines how a focus on sustainability by brands has a positive impact on consumer perception of their products, with many shoppers likely to pay more for those that are made with environmentally-friendly principles in mind.
As brands and their retail partners have discovered, consumers are better informed than ever, and use that information to made purchasing decisions based on their life choices and with the planet’s future in mind.
Little change, big differences at Cyprus Duty Free
In our consumer thinking and corporate values, we have in many ways gone beyond the conversation around sustainability to one where we talk about ‘planet positive’ initiatives – those that inspire and cajole us to embark on deeper, more ambitious undertakings that make a real difference.
This includes what we produce, how we produce it and how it is packaged and transported. In the circular economy, extending lifespan of a product or even a store is now an agenda-leading theme. Travel retail must develop its own circular design eco-system to ensure the industry becomes more efficient and protective of the world around us.
Sustainable design is among the key planks on which travel retailers are creating their future stores, while many airports now set ESG standards within their tender requirements. Staff too want the companies they work for to be aligned with their values.
The importance of this topic is reinforced by recent conversations with the community, which we’ll feature in full in forthcoming titles.
Dubai Duty Free Chief Operating Officer Ramesh Cidambi says: “We in the travel retail business have to be mindful of the fact that the aviation sector has been under pressure and will continue to be under pressure in terms of emissions. And in a place like Dubai, with its geography, there are no easy alternatives to air travel.
“So it is even more incumbent on companies like Dubai Duty Free to do whatever they can to minimise the impact on the environment. We must try and take the steps that are necessary to slow down negative aspects like global warming and act in that overall issue of climate change.
“As a major travel retailer, we need to continue to educate our employees on what they can do to minimise their environmental footprint. And we need to continue to work with brands and to see how they can help the situation with more sustainable packaging, for example, and other steps that brands can take.”
On consumer decision making that reflects more ethical choices, ATÜ Duty Free CEO Ersan Arcan says: “The demand for sustainable and eco-friendly products is rising globally. Duty free retailers could respond by offering a wider range of environmentally friendly products, reducing single-use plastics, and implementing sustainable packaging solutions.”
Aer Rianta International (ARI) Chief Operations and Business Development Officer Nuno Amaral, who also leads the company’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, says that we can expect to see more Pre-Loved concepts taking space at airports – ARI itself was a pioneer with its Montréal Airport LXR store in 2021.
Gloria Dix (left) and the Victorinox team show how carpooling can help minimise road congestion, carbon emissions and fossil fuels in a fun and social way
In a recent column on the theme for The Moodie Davitt Report, Amaral said: “Doing the right thing isn’t always the easiest business decision when it carries commercial implications – for example, investing in more expensive materials, waste management programmes or renewable energy infrastructure. Price concerns and economic pressures have also pushed environmental and sustainability considerations down the priority list for consumers, with value often being the overriding purchase motivator.
“But we must ask ourselves – what impact do we want to have on the world? What do we want our legacy to be? Are we staying true to our values? And are we future-proofing our business?”
ARI’s primary ESG focuses this year include eliminating single-use plastics from retail and office operations in favour of bioplastic, recycled and recyclable alternatives; ensuring 75% of food and confectionery products have at least one ecologically or socially responsible attribute; and continuing to champion locally-sourced products by maintaining at least 15% local suppliers in food and souvenirs.
Other retailers are taking a lead in this area too, whether it’s Lagardère Travel Retail with its Planet. Ethics. People. Social (PEPS) strategy, or Gebr. Heinemann with its drive to create ‘sustainable and spectacular assortments’. This is part of its strategy to achieve a ‘climate-positive’ supply chain by 2032.
In so many ways, the industry commitment to take steps both small and large to have a planet positive impact is reaching new levels.
The Gebr. Heinemann commitment to the UN Global Compact
We have seen it in our own titles and projects recently. At the Airport Food & Beverage + Hospitality Awards in Bangkok on 12-13 September, we’ll celebrate excellence in food & beverage, and are delighted to see a diverse line-up of finalists in the all-important Airport Sustainability and Environmental Initiative of the Year category. Our ten-strong list (see below*) reflects not only the commitment of our industry to ESG issues but also the urgency of the moment – and shows how airports and their service partners are demonstrating leadership in preserving and regenerating the environment.
Another recent project for which we received an overwhelming response was #TRmaderight, a partnership with Mondelez World Travel Retail around World Environment Day in June, Through a social media campaign, we encouraged travel retail industry stakeholders to embrace sustainable practices and to highlight their own everyday contributions to preserving the planet.
The prize was a donation made in the winner’s name (Victorinox Head of Global Travel Retail & Fragrance Sales Gloria Dix) to Mondelez WTR’s tricycle project. This initiative is a partnership with Child Rights International and the Cocoa Life programme. It raises funds to provide tricycles to local Ghanaian cocoa communities, making access to education easier for children and boosting business growth through enhanced mobility.
The campaign was part of Mondelez WTR’s Travel Retail Made Right agenda, which is applied across the industry to promote sustainable practices and products.
In these eZine pages we celebrate further examples of the work that companies in our community are undertaking, as they help to inspire the next wave of ‘planet-positive’ innovation and ambition.
FAB + HOSPITALITY AWARDS 2023 FINALISTS*
AIRPORT SUSTAINABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR
Airport Authority Hong Kong – Food TranSmarter Treatment Process
Allresto Flughafen München Hotel und Gaststätten – ‘Rethink’ campaign
Areas For Change – Areas
Autogrill Group – Green Store Guidelines
Dallas Fort Worth Airport – Waste composting initiative
HMS Host – ‘Make it Happen’ ESG Strategy, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
HMSHost The Netherlands partnership with Schiphol Airport
Lagardère Travel Retail – PEPS Program
SSP Bahrain Sustainability Team – Bahrain International Airport
SSP Group – Reimagining Food for People and the Planet
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