Partnerships vital in helping achieve ‘all sustainability ambitions’, says Coty

By Andrew Pentol |

Mondelez and CircleSquare have lifted the lid on their partnership which culminated in the recent launch of a sustainable design scorecard to inspire the implementation of more sustainable point of sale materials in DF&TR.

Both companies were represented on a strong panel as part of the Back to the Drawing Board: How Sustainability is Forging Powerful new Partnerships session on day three of Travel Retail Sustainability Week.

On the subject of partnerships, the session also provided further details on Coty’s proposed alliance with LanzaTech to introduce sustainable ethanol made from captured carbon emissions into its fragrance products.

A leader in the production of next generation green and sustainable ingredients, LanzaTech captures industrial emissions (such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide produced in steel manufacturing) and processes the waste gases into a new, more sustainable source of ethanol.

Coty’s scientists have worked alongside LanzaTech and production partners over the past two years to develop a high-purity sustainable ethanol that is suitable for use in fragrances. The proposed partnership means that Coty will incorporate this carbon-captured ethanol into its fragrance manufacturing process. The aim is to have the majority of its fragrance portfolio using ethanol sourced from carbon-capture by 2023.


The seven-strong panel consisted of Caroline Andreotti, Executive Vice President, Global Travel Retail, Coty; Shaye Folk-Blagbrough, Senior Environmental Specialist, Vancouver Airport; Melanie Guilldou, Executive Vice President CSR Global, Lagardère Travel Retail; Richard Houseago, Head of Customer Marketing, World Travel Retail, Mondelez International; Abby Loader, Account Director, CircleSquare; Tracy Ross, Projects & Design Manager, Aer Rianta International Middle East; and Hugo Vanderschaegh, Managing Partner, ODG, part of Altavia Travel Retail.

Aer Rianta International, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman, Coty and Mondelez were the session sponsors.

As reported, the aim of the Mondelez and CircleSquare partnership initiative is to assist brand owners, retailers and airports in lowering their environmental impact through a Sustainable DNA Rating System.

The rating system encourages the choice of more authentic materials and considerate construction methods, along with manufacturing decisions that allow for in-store units to be recycled easier at end-of-life.

[To view a repeat of the session in full, click below video].

Outlining how the partnership came about, Houseago said: “From a partnership perspective, we have spent a lot of time thinking about the materials we can use in our branded in-store furniture.

“We make hundreds of pieces of in-store furniture on a yearly basis and concluded that while we understand some material restrictions exist for very good reasons in our environment, we wanted to explore how we could do better.”

He added: “We have a very close collaboration with our design partners CircleSquare so presented them with a challenge.

“The result that came from this partnership was a sustainability framework. This informs and validates our collective design decisions and pushes us towards more sustainable retail practices. It helps make us more accountable for those [retail practices] as well.”

Aer Rianta International, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman, Coty and Mondelez sponsored this session, which emphasised the importance of partnerships.

From a CircleSquare perspective, the opportunity to demonstrate that ‘sustainability design could be ground-breaking and beautiful’ and that the company could deliver disruptive and engaging design, were among the main motivations for the creation of the sustainability framework.

Loader commented: “We want to engage the consumer and don’t want to sacrifice the equity of a brand just because the design or the outcome is more sustainable.

“We just need to take those really important factors of travel retail design/retail design, think about them in another way and really centralise sustainability as our core message.”

In terms of the nature of the partnership, Loader revealed open and transparent conversations between both teams. “We think a really good way to solve complex problems is to start looking inward — what are we doing at the moment and what the output is? We did a really good analysis of a case study involving the Toblerone wall-bay.”

CircleSquare has spent a substantial amount of time thinking about the materials it can use in its branded in-store furniture.

She added: “We have needed insight from brands and retailers to support our expertise. This is not a concept we have to own.”

Partnering with competitors provides an excellent opportunity for all parties, according to ODG’s Vanderschaegh, who remarked: “Our collective effort is so big that that we must collaborate, regardless of whether we are competitors.

“Partnering with competitors provides an excellent opportunity to help the travel retail industry regain trust among consumers.

“Duty free sometimes has this image of being too expensive, for example, so I really think we can help regain this trust by promoting our big collective effort.”


Citing sustainability-related learnings from the Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal project, which remains ongoing — the facility is yet to open following several delays — ARI’s Ross said: “As you work with different design agencies, you gain experience from these guys as well. It is also great to hear what the suppliers are doing.

“We as the retailer can then start gathering all this information together, which becomes part of our sustainability DNA, when we go to tender for new projects.”

Another company which has sustainability in its DNA and recognises the importance of partnership is Coty Inc.

Andreotti, who assumed the role of Executive Vice President, Global Travel Retail last year, declared sustainability as the ultimate driver of business and innovation now and in the future.

Coty launched its dedicated sustainability strategy last year called Beauty that Lasts.

“Within our 117-year history we have developed great expertise when it comes to science, innovations and research and development. We made it our mission to continue to ensure that sustainability is at the heart of all our product innovations.”

With this in mind, the company launched its dedicated sustainability strategy last year called Beauty that Lasts. The strategy is built around three key pillars — The Beauty of People, The Beauty of our Product and Beauty of our Planet.

“I know these areas are not only important to us,” Andreotti remarked. “They are also important to our consumers, associates, partners and stakeholders across the globe.

“To achieve all sustainability ambitions, we know we cannot do it on our own. We really need to work in full partnership with many companies and organisations and make full use of the expertise they are offering to improve the way that we operate and shape our plans.”

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