APTRA Sustainability Report lays important marker

By Luke Barras-hill |

APTRA has launched its first Sustainability Report.

The Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association (APTRA) has released its inaugural Sustainability Report, allowing members to educate themselves on key issues and regulations likely to impact future business in the region.

The APTRA Sustainability Report, which concentrates on core travel retail markets in Asia Pacific, was unveiled exclusively during the second annual Travel Retail Sustainability Week (19-22 April) as part of an address from APTRA Board Member and Aer Rianta International (ARI) Chief Operations and Business Development Officer Nuno Amaral.

[Click below to watch the video].

The first report, which kicks off a twice-yearly series of updates from APTRA, is timely as governments look to develop and impose stricter legislative requirements that echo the need for greater planetary and social action.

Such action may affect the way airports, retailers, brands and F&B operators conduct business across countries such as Australia, Singapore, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, New Zealand, and Thailand, among others.

SUSTAINABILITY COMMITTEE

APTRA is measuring the scope of regulations based on threat levels according to a four-point system: 1. Agenda Building; 2. Policy Formulation; 3. Policy Adoption; 4. Policy Implementation.

As indicated, each represents a stage of policy development to help the industry determine the most appropriate response based on regulatory timescales.

Among the most pressing issues are the ban on single-use plastics (SUP), charges for plastic bag usage, and mandatory packaging reporting.

Australia will ban SUP on 1 June and Western Australia has legislated to ban plastic items by 2022 as the National Plastics Plan targets a phase-out of SUPs by 2025.

New Zealand announced it will phase out SUPs between 2022 – 2025.

Japan has implemented a charge on plastic utensils and straws beginning this month, while Singapore has introduced mandatory packaging reporting, requiring retailers to report annually the volume of packaging they plan to introduce into the country together with policies to reduce, reuse or recycle packaging.

“It’s clear from the discussions we are having that all our business are at very different stages of the journey, whether it is strategic scoping, adapting to global travel retail initiatives or even the implementation process – it varies widely,” commented Amaral during the ‘Green influencers part 1: Combining People, Planet and Purpose’ session held on Friday 22 April.

“We have a region that encompasses 45-plus countries, so there are obviously different regulations and requirements across that region.”

Amaral pointed to the pace of change taking place in Asia Pacific with regards to sustainable regulation and while there are variances between countries, there is consensus among suppliers, retailers, airports or governments when it comes to tackling some issues such as reducing SUPs, for example.

“Because Asia Pacific is such a diverse region, we are trying to triangulate what is happening with other countries so we can give enough time and knowledge to countries that are behind the journey and [to prepare for] what is coming.”

In a prevailing theme highlighted during the course of Travel Retail Sustainability Week, the cost implications of ‘going green’ can influence the approach taken by businesses in the DF&TR industry.

“Many of these [sustainability] initiatives involve cost and economic investment,” continued Amaral. “The fact is, many [businesses] have an immediate additional cost. There are boardrooms and shareholders to manage and that is something we are particularly aware of.”

To facilitate greater dialogue around the challenges and opportunities related to sustainability, APTRA established a Sustainability Committee in March composed of retailers, brands, airports and F&B operators.

The committee is chaired by ARI Chief Operations and Business Development Officer Nuno Amaral and includes Auckland Airport, Pernod Ricard, Changi Airport, SSP and Gebr. Heinemann.

“We have set up the Sustainability Committee and are structuring it around three different pillars: advocacy, knowledge and research and networking events to discuss issues, the first being the APTRA Exchange on 10 May in Singapore during the TFWA programme,” he told TRBusiness.

“We started talking about this more seriously during the pandemic and thinking, as an association, how we could add value. That was the discussion and it’s not an easy one [to have] as an association. Every country, retailer, airport, supplier is doing its own thing. With the sustainability committee, we are bringing different members from different areas to have as much diversity as possible.

“Then, we began working on the terms of reference and the three pillars made sense. We want to support members with the most commercially valuable insight, providing them with usual learnings and to share best practices.”

To watch repeats of all the educational webinars held during Travel Retail Sustainability Week, including the Sustainability Pitch sessions, click here to access the TRBusiness Youtube channel.

TRBusiness will moderate a session dedicated towards sustainability regulation in Asia Pacific at the forthcoming APTRA Exchange on Tuesday 10 May as part of TFWA Asia Pacific Live in Singapore.

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