Stellar lineup to judge ‘The Sustainability Pitch’

By Michael Barrett |

The Sustainability Pitch is a groundbreaking new programme from TRBusiness that recognises and rewards stakeholders across the travel retail supply chain.

More than 20 senior travel retail and sustainability executives from across the global travel sector have confirmed their participation as judges in TRBusiness’ ‘The Sustainability Pitch’.

As announced, the pioneering industry-wide recognition programme will showcase and celebrate sustainable initiatives across the travel and travel retail sector.

The Sustainability Pitch will play a central role in the first-ever Travel Retail Sustainability Week, due to take place on 19-23 April 2021, to coincide with Earth Day on Thursday 22 April.

The programme is a response to the growing importance placed on environmental considerations by consumers in their choice of products and services.


TRBusiness is well aware from its experience of the industry’s first consumer-voted Travel Retail Awards that stakeholders ascribe huge value to understanding consumer sentiment around sustainability.

Research shows that in the eyes of today’s consumer, a brand’s sustainability message is fast becoming as important as the brand itself.

Brands are stepping up their sustainable investments in line with consumer demand. Bacardí (pictured) has revealed plans to put the most sustainable spirits bottle on shelf by 2023.

The first question often asked by category buyers to suppliers is ‘what is your sustainability story?’

With that in mind, The Sustainability Pitch will give all stakeholders the opportunity to tell their stories.

Companies from all sectors of the travel retail industry, as well as companies partnering with industry stakeholders to provide sustainable services and solutions, will be able to take part in the first-of-its-kind sustainability recognition programme.

The high-powered line up of more than 20 leading executives from across the industry will judge each ‘Sustainability Pitch’ based on pre-defined criteria. The panel of judges is nearly complete, but two or three more names are still to be confirmed.

The current list includes the following judges:

Alex Anson, Chief Operating Officer, 3Sixty Duty Free

Richard Gray, CEO,  Aer Rianta International Middle East

Nikolett Huszák, Senior Retail Marketing Manager and Patrick Bohl, Head of Retail and Property Management, Budapest Airport

Rajiv Madan, Chief Financial Officer, Delhi Duty Free

Eugene Barry, Executive Vice President – Commercial, Dubai Airports

Nestlé has an ambition to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.

Sharon Beecham, Vice President – Purchasing, Dubai Duty Free

Julie Lassaigne, Secretary General, ETRC

Patricia Wang, Vice President – Merchandise Department, Ever Rich

Kelly O’Reilly, Global Account Director and Åsa Råd Vaher, Retail Digital & Marketing Director, Gate Retail

Rachel Thompson, Head of Sustainability, Gatwick Airport

Monica Kominami, Head of Design Innovation and Sustainability for South East Asia, Lagardère Travel Retail

Caitlin Allen, Beauty Buyer, Harding

Julie Donnelly, Head of Category and Sustainability, London Heathrow Airport

Peter Mohn CEO & Owner and Clara Susset, Travel Retail Research Director, m1nd-set

Linden Coppell, Director of Sustainability, MSC Cruises

Lisa Bauer, President and CEO, Starboard Cruise Services

Ian Foster, Chief Commercial Officer, Unifree Duty Free

Shaye Folk-Blagbrough, Senior Environmental Specialist and Wendy Avis, Environment Manager, Vancouver Airport.


The judges will be asked to evaluate the overall impact of each sustainability initiative on the environment.

Attention will be placed on the following areas: The impact of the initiative on reducing plastic or the carbon footprint; the importance of the initiative within the organisation’s total production or operations; how the initiative fits in with the company’s sustainability goals; and associated consumer feedback.

The judges will also consider any other impacts through partnerships with environmental organisations.

Participating companies are requested to submit a short video pitch of up to five minutes to present their initiative, along with any supporting documentation.

The pitches will be allocated to one of seven categories: Airport, Airline, Cruise/Ferry, Retailer, Supplier, Packaging, and Sustainable Services with three to four judges allocated to each category.

The judges will review the pitches and put their questions to the entrants in a recorded Q&A session with the participants in each respective category.

Both the pitches and the Q&A sessions will be broadcast live in individual category Sustainability Pitch sessions during the Travel Retail Sustainability Week.

At the end of each session, following interactive discussion with the audience, the judges will announce their ‘Sustainability Hero’ for each respective category.

Interested companies can register their interest here to receive more information on the programme.

Hardy and Hook quote UN Secretary-General Guterres: “Humanity is waging war on nature”

Nigel Hardy and Janice Hook, Owners and Managing Directors of TRBusiness, welcomed the judges to The Sustainability Pitch.

“The interest and enthusiasm of this distinguished panel of judges, along with the very encouraging and supportive comments we have received about The Sustainability Pitch programme and Travel Retail Sustainability Week overall, has been overwhelming,” said both.

“This is testament to the utmost importance and value that companies across the industry are placing on sustainability and protecting the planet. We are grateful to all those who have committed to this initiative and welcome them all.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Source: UN.

“It was earlier this month that UN Secretary-General António Guterres declared ‘Humanity is waging war on nature’ in a landmark speech on the state of the planet in New York.

“Guterres insisted that ‘the global community must take a collective step towards a safer, more sustainable and equitable path…’.

“We intend to do as much as we can at TRBusiness to facilitate this process within the global travel and travel retail community, by celebrating the amazing work already being undertaken and introducing new companies and ideas to the mix.”

For more information on Travel Retail Sustainability Week, please contact [email protected]; for information on The Sustainability Pitch and sponsorship opportunities, please contact [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected].


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