Love in the time of coronavirus

Welcome to Duty Calls. This regular feature aims to shine a light on some of the most laudable examples of altruism and sustainability within the travel retail industry by companies that go beyond the call of duty. In this special edition we look at how companies have reacted to the COVID-19 outbreak with acts of kindness, human spirit and generosity.

K Hospitality serves over 1.35 million meals amid lockdown

Hospitality and food service K Hospitality Corp, though its Karuna Seva initiative, has served over 1.35 million meals to front-line workers, migrant labourers, the homeless and others in need during the COVID-19 lockdown. Starting at about 6,000 meals a day, the facility has been scaled up to provide over 40,000 per day, from Mumbai to Bengaluru.

K Hospitality, owned by the Kapur family, operates across over 500 locations in India. Group companies include Travel Food Services (TFS), Blue Sea Catering and Banquets and LifeCo.

Through the K Corp Charitable Foundation, founded by Chairman Sunil Kapur, group companies first opened multiple kitchens across Mumbai in March, once the crisis hit.

The meals are being distributed with the help of government agencies such as the BMC, BEST as well as the NGOs (YUVA, Project Mumbai, Mumbai Mobile Creches and the Rotary Club among them) on the ground. Areas covered include homeless pockets in Kurla, Sion, Dadar, Matunga, Jogeshwari and slums resettlement colonies in Mankhurd, Bandra, Malad, Nalasopara, Navi Mumbai, as well as migrant workers across the city. Bangalore Airport has also supported the activity in Bengaluru.

Chairman Sunil Kapur said: “Our guiding principles of Ownership, Transparency & Trust and People First have also defined the way we work. In connection to the Karuna Seva initiative, we hope our efforts in this difficult time help further our foundation’s work of food and nutrition for all. We would like to thank the community, the government, and all the NGOs working tirelessly, for their unquestioned support, without which this would have not been possible. This is a time where we all probe deeper into what we can do for our country, and ensure we emerge stronger out of this crisis.”

The Karuna Seva initiative serves over 40,000 meals a day to those most in need from Mumbai to Bengaluru

Veuve Clicquot launches the ‘Sista x Bold’ initiative to support female entrepreneurs

LVMH-owned Champagne house Veuve Clicquot has partnered with women’s organisation Sista Collective to launch the ‘Sista x Bold’ programme. The programme is an extension of the company’s ‘Bold by Veuve Clicquot’ CSR initiative and supports female entrepreneurs recover as the global economy slowly begins to reopen.

The programme offers a platform that connects female entrepreneurs with 100 experts — offering 1,000 hours of advice and guidance — to help rebuild their businesses and prepare for a future after COVID-19. The mentoring team is made up of the Sista network, experts from Veuve Clicquot and past winners of the Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award, which has been actively promoting female entrepreneurs since 1972.

Veuve Clicquot Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Gallot (pictured above) said: “Even though the crisis affects us all, more than ever we want to support these entrepreneurs through this period. It is one of our priorities and we are pleased to be able to take action with Sista.”

L’Oréal for the Future: L’Oréal launches €150 million social and environmental solidarity programme

L’Oréal Group has launched a €150 million social and environmental solidarity programme in response to COVID-19.

€50 million will be allocated to fund organisations that support at-risk women, while €100 million will help regenerate damaged ecosystems and prevent climate change. More details of the L’Oréal for the Future programme will be announced in late June.

The €50 million fund will help support these women fight poverty, achieve social and professional integration, provide emergency assistance to female refugees, prevent violence against women and support domestic abuse victims.

For L’Oréal Group Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer Alexandra Palt, the COVID-19 is not just a public health crisis but also a social one.

She said: “The Covid-19 crisis spares no one, but it also exacerbates existing inequalities, with particularly devastating effects on people who were already struggling socially or economically or are victims of abuse, especially women. It is essential that we take action to support the most vulnerable women.”

She added, “This social crisis has not eclipsed the need for a strong commitment to the environment. If we are to find a sustainable and inclusive way to move past this crisis, we must also focus on preventing climate change and the erosion of biodiversity, which now threaten to even more profoundly and violently shake our lives, our societies, and our economies, once again with women as the first victims.”

To address the immediate environmental impact of the pandemic, the group has dedicated €100 million to environment impact investing. €50 million will be allocated through the ‘L’Oréal Fund for Nature Regeneration’ to fund marine and forest regeneration projects that also create economic opportunities for local communities.

The remaining €50 million will fund projects linked with the circular economy. Through this, L’Oréal Group aims to find solutions and business models — particularly in recycling and plastic waste management — that promote sustainable consumerism.

“Over the coming months, our societies will face social crises giving rise to situations of great human suffering, particularly for the most vulnerable,” said L’Oréal Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Paul Agon. “At the same time, we are fully aware that environmental challenges are increasingly pressing.”

He added, “We wish to reaffirm our commitment to the environment and to the preservation of biodiversity, and to help mitigate the social crisis for women. These two causes reflect the values and the historic commitment of L’Oréal.”

Etihad Airways uses 3D-printing technology to produce face shields

The Etihad Airways Medical Centre (EAMC) — in collaboration with Etihad Engineering — has distributed 1,000 face shields to medical professionals in the UAE.

The face shields were produced using Etihad Engineering’s 3D-printing technology. They are constructed with a reusable plastic band and a disposable plastic sheet.

Etihad Aviation Group Vice President Medical Services Dr. Nadia Al Bastaki said, “As part of our CSR efforts, we challenged ourselves to determine what we could do to help combat the effects of this global pandemic. With high demand for PPE in the UAE, our innovative design team at Etihad Engineering developed 1,000 face shields for us to distribute locally.

“With the logistical support of Emirates Red Crescent, we’ll start distributing the face shields to medical professionals at EAMC and SEHA this week.”

Etihad Airways has also deployed 3,000 employee volunteers to support SEHA, Ma’an, Emirates Red Crescent, and the UAE Volunteers Platform. Through its partnership with Emirates Red Crescent, the airline provides 1,000 meals daily to Humanitarian City, a month-long CSR initiative which launched on 15 April and ran throughout Ramadan.

Al Bastaki added, “An overwhelming number of our employees have selflessly put their hand up to volunteer, from working at call centres to distributing masks and gloves and physically cleaning the streets of our capital city as part of the government’s sanitisation programme.

“This year, Eid will not be the same for most. Therefore, in collaboration with Grace Conservation, we will be distributing 1,000 gift boxes to families in need containing clothes for adults and children. As Etihad Aviation Group, we are here to support the UAE government and fight this pandemic together.”

Qatar Airways offers 100,000 complimentary return tickets to frontline healthcare workers

In an extraordinary gesture, Qatar Airways has given away 100,000 free tickets to frontline healthcare professionals to say thank you for their “heroic” work looking after people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The giveaway ran from 12 May to 18 May. Appropriately, 12 May was International Nurses Day, celebrating the contribution that nurses make to societies around the world.

The 100,000 healthcare professionals that receive the promotion code can book up to two complimentary economy class return tickets on Qatar Airways operated flights – one for themselves and one for a companion – to anywhere on the airline’s global network.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We at Qatar Airways are incredibly grateful for the commitment and hard work of healthcare professionals around the world who looked after people in these times of uncertainty. Their heroic display of kindness, dedication, and professionalism has saved hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.

“We have built a strong level of trust with passengers, governments, trade partners, and airports as a reliable partner during this crisis and we intend to continue delivering on this mission by acknowledging the incredible efforts of these heroes. Our crew and operation have never given up during these past three months, never abandoned hope or their mission to help people get home to their loved ones and we do not intend to do so now.”

His Excellency added, “United in dedication, we share our gratitude. Now it is our turn to give something back to those on the healthcare frontline. There are no words or gestures that are enough to repay these brave men and women but we hope that our small offer of a complimentary return flight on Qatar Airways will allow them to enjoy a well-deserved holiday, visit family and friends or explore a destination they have always dreamed of, as travel restrictions start to ease.”

As a further gesture of appreciation, healthcare professionals will also be offered a -35% discount voucher to redeem at Qatar Duty Free retail outlets at Hamad International Airport in Doha, valid until 31 December 2020.

Qatar Airways won a special judge’s accolade in the recent Moodies Awards for its poignant conveying of a simple-sounding yet hugely complex mission to get people home to their loved ones during the COVID-19 crisis.

Qatar Airways has played an inspirational, arguably unrivalled, leadership role throughout the crisis, one beautifully personified by a cabin crew member interviewed in the heartwarming film above. She says simply, “We will bring you home.”

Qatar Airways prefaces the film by saying: “We are so proud of Qatar Airways’ cabin crew who are continuing to serve in the midst of this challenging time, just knowing that it will make a difference to somebody out there.”

The Moodie Davitt e-Zine Duty Calls feature highlights environmental and socially responsible initiatives around the globe where people and the planet are the priority. If you have CSR projects, big or small, that you would like featured in Duty Calls, especially those related to tackling the impact of COVID-19, please contact Hannah Tan-Gillies at

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The Moodie Davitt eZine

Issue 280 | 3 June 2020

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 12 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd). © All material is copyright and cannot be reproduced without the permission of the Publisher. To find out more visit and to subscribe, please e-mail

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