Lagardère: Industry must ‘educate’ on sustainability

By Andrew Pentol |

Lagardère Travel Retail has pinpointed three specific areas where the DF&TR industry can make a difference in terms of sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Responding to a question from TRBusiness during yesterday’s Central & Eastern European Association online workshop, at which this publication was the sole trade media title in attendance, Lucio Rossetto, Chief Business Officer, Lagardère Travel Retail said the industry must ‘contribute and educate’ on this important issue.

“It’s probably not about carbon emissions, where the plane plays a major role in our value chain, but other areas where we can do our job.

“The first area of course is waste. Lagardère Travel Retail, especially in foodservice can show we have a better way of managing waste. We actually have a programme in place to reduce our waste.”

Using eco-friendly material is also a priority for the French travel retailer. “This encompasses packaging, disposables and fixtures in our shops and is an area we are investing in to provide concrete solutions for our airports and customers.”

ENGAGING WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES

Dealing with local communities is another area of focus, as far as CSR is concerned.

Lucio Rossetto, Chief Business Officer, Lagardère Travel Retail.

Rossetto, who is in charge of the retailer’s CSR programme commented: “We as a retailer are becoming bigger and bigger and losing contact with the local reality.

“This is not sustainable in the long-term from supply, economic and cultural points of view.”

“Currently, we are being measured on how well we are cooperating with the local environment, be it with suppliers, airports or communities. This is something that will become more and more important from a CSR standpoint in years to come.”

On the growing importance of sustainability, Rossetto suggested airports are focusing more on this issue than in the past. “Those working at airports are demanding more attention on this topic from our side, which is a good enough reason for me to place more emphasis on it.”

Customers also have increasing demands relating to sustainability, whether through measures implemented in-store or in terms of product packaging, for example.

“There is a big change in North America,” Rossetto remarked. “I cannot judge in terms of percentage, but there is clearly a demand from our customers in North America.

“This demand already exists in the Nordics and in the Pacific and is gradually taking hold in China.”

While acknowledging the increased focus on sustainability among consumers, he is unsure how this will impact Lagardère’s business. “Let’s be honest. We are in an industry which generates a significant amount of pollution, so green-washing our shops will not make our industry more sustainable.”

Aside sustainability, Rossetto, who replaced the long-serving Ambroise Fondeur in this key role last year, urged industry stakeholders, to be agile and flexible. “New trends will emerge, so we must be agile and flexible when looking at these trends and not simply anticipate them.”

 Lagardère Travel Retail has reported year-to-date sales growth of +90% in China versus 2019.

On overall business in China, where the retailer has developed a strong presence over the years, the coronavirus situation is improving all the time. “China was the first country to re-open, so we have some consolidated data.

“We have 88 stores in Wuhan where all the mess started. These outlets have been open since the end of April 2020.

STRONG BUSINESS RE-BOUND IN CHINA

“Business in China has re-bounded strongly. This is because traffic has returned and also due to economic growth and massive investment in travel and retail infrastructure. This has made the rebound extremely strong.”

At the time of writing, year-to-date sales growth in China had increased +90%. This number was even higher in April at +102%.

“Once the world completely recovers, China will have a completely different role in our network.”

Returning traffic, economic growth and massive investment in travel and retail infrastructure has driven the recovery in China.

Events in Hainan, where Lagardère partnered with Hainan Tourism Investment Development to open a large-scale downtown duty free store in Sanya, are a great example of what is happening in China, according to Rossetto.

“We are very happy about the development in Hainan and will be there in years to come with growing investment.”

Rossetto is equally upbeat about the retailer’s business in airports across the country. “The number of shop openings in Chinese airports surged at the end of 2020 and at the start of 2021. The potential is huge and we are in a favourable position to exploit opportunities in this market. The question is, can we do the same in other countries,” he concluded.

Melanie Guilldou, Executive Vice President CSR Global, Lagardère Travel Retail took part in the How Sustainability is Forging Powerful new Partnerships session from Travel Retail Sustainability Week which will return in 2022.

Click above to watch the video.

 

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