TR Sustainability Forum publishes its Manifesto

By Michael Barrett |

Plastic-Pledge-and-Travel-Retail-Sustainability-Forum-leadConsumers are becoming more discerning with their purchases and seeking to engage in more responsible consumption; businesses are increasingly striving to adopt more environmentally friendly practices in response to these consumer trends and the global environmental concerns, such as climate change, plastic pollution, the depletion of resources and threat to wildlife.


To address these concerns and provide a voice and a platform for expression for the industry, TRBusiness has joined forces with sustainable business solution provider Duty Free Innovation to create a movement, which is intended to help address these global environmental challenges, with a particular focus on the pollution problem caused by single-use plastics.


Travel Retail Sustainability Forum (TRSF) will be exhibiting at the TFWA Innovation Lab (A 10) during the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes (30 September-4 October). To make an appointment, please contact Simon Best at DFI ([email protected]) or Michael Barrett at TRBusiness ([email protected]).


The objectives of the Travel Retail Plastic Pledge and Travel Retail Sustainability Forum initiatives are to create a momentum and coordinate an industry-wide drive among all stakeholders to start implementing greener and more sustainable business policies and become more proactive in reducing plastic pollution and offsetting their plastic and carbon footprint.


While TRBusiness and DFI are the founding partners of the Travel Retail Sustainability Forum, all interested stakeholders – trade associations, companies and individuals – are welcome to become involved.




  • > On average, between 260 and 300 million tons of plastic are produced globally each year. Of this, 50% is for disposable applications such as packaging.


  • 10% of the plastic produced worldwide each year ends up in the ocean—70% of which sinks to the ocean floor where it will never biodegrade.


  • Every square mile of the ocean has approximately 46,000 pieces of floating plastic which is mistaken for food by some marine mammals. Other wildlife will unfortunately get tangled up in the loose plastic and drown.


  • Plastic bags buried in landfills can take up to 1,000 years to decompose and during this time, they undergo photo-degradation, a process by which an item (in this case, plastic) is chemically broken down through the absorption of sunlight, therefore contaminating soil and water.


  • An estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.


  • We estimate that Travel Retail contributes significantly to global plastic pollution given the consumption of plastic bags and sale of plastic bottles at travel retail locations globally. We estimate around 10 billion plastic bags are used and 3 billion plastic bottles are sold by duty free and travel retail outlets every year.



As a global industry and community, we believe the travel retail industry should be at the forefront, leading the way in championing the cause for sustainability in retail worldwide.


We aim to help the airport, airline, cruise, ferry and border store retail environments become global exemplars that others can aspire to. They are unique and controlled environments that are perfect vehicles to implement initiatives and ideas that will drive the sustainability agenda.


We believe that airports, as international travel hubs, can become eco-showcases representing a vision of how sustainability can work for business and consumers.


We believe we should and can create and overtly demonstrate single-use plastic free environments.


We wish to see a coordinated approach to promote and facilitate re-usable consumables, that are energy efficient and which source power from renewable energy. We want to help develop and support a business community that minimises waste and deals with its waste effectively.


We can inspire other retail channels to follow our example and learn from our successes.



Given the significant carbon footprint generated not only by global travellers, but also the many companies involved in the global travel retail sector, our strategic priorities with the TRSF are to:

  • > Help the industry understand the challenges and extent of environmental challenges, with a particular focus on the problem of plastic pollution;


  • Consolidate and coordinate the sharing of information to explain the measures that can be taken to reduce, even eliminate, plastic usage and pollution and adopt more sustainable business practices with regards to the environment;


  • Promote initiatives undertaken by industry stakeholders to reduce the amount of plastic pollution generated through their operations as well as other sustainable business strategies and initiatives;


  • Coordinate industry-wide action to support major NGO-led initiatives aiming specifically to reduce plastic pollution, provide alternatives to single-use plastics and undertake major environmental cleaning missions on land and sea;


  • Demonstrate to global travelling consumers the need for responsible consumption when travelling;


  • Educate the travelling consumer that the global travel retail industry is acting responsibly by taking concrete actions to adopt more environmentally friendly business practices and in particular to help combat the global plastic pollution crisis.


  • Create an industry standard ‘stamp’ in partnership with the industry associations, which businesses can apply to products that comply with the TRSF ethos and standards. The stamp will demonstrate to consumers that the products have been responsibly sourced, with respect for the environment.




In order to carry out this mission and achieve these goals, the TRSF will implement various initiatives and invites all industry stakeholders willing to be part of the movement to provide input and share their own thoughts on what else can and should be done.


Some of the initiatives and services TRSF will provide include:

  • 1.  A Travel Retail Sustainability Toolkit to be developed in the near future. This will be an online resource consolidating information about:

*         Alternatives to plastics for industry stakeholders (bags, bottles, packaging, utensils…);

*        Resources on other sustainable actions to reduce a company’s carbon and plastic footprint, on water management, waste management, energy management and general sustainable management solutions;

*         Consumer insights and trends on responsible consumption practices and shopper behaviour with regards to environmental concerns.


  • 2.  The ‘TRSF Champions League’: regular communications through TRSF website, social media groups, as well as in the TRBusiness Magazine and on, about commitments to the Travel Retail Plastic Pledge and examples of all concrete sustainable initiatives within the global travel retail industry, both to celebrate the efforts being undertaken and entice others to follow suit.


  • 3.  Regular sessions through webinars, industry seminars, workshops and conferences or internal company presentations on sustainability challenges and solutions.


  • 4.  Support for industry trade associations via representations and documentation to demonstrate to consumers, governments and other institutions, the tangible steps undertaken by the global travel retail industry to be a more responsible retailing channel.



Together, TRBusiness and DFI are encouraging all stakeholders to align with this mission to reduce, to re-use and to recycle plastic from the supply chain.


Through the TRBusiness magazine and website, the TRSF website and social media platforms and through external media relations, we have a platform for expression to share among the industry and beyond, what can be done and what achievements are already in place.


You can help by:

  • Sharing your company goals and plans for a more sustainable approach to business;


  • > Providing input on parameters for a sustainable standard for products within your category or business practices as a retailer;


  • > Signing the Travel Retail Plastic Pledge and sharing initiatives on measures taken to eliminate single-use plastics from your business;


  • Sharing economic indicators which demonstrate the impact (costs and/or benefits) on any sustainable measures introduced.



The TRSF is a collaborative partnership with open ears and a keen interest in learning what else the industry needs from the Forum to achieve its objectives and facilitate the ‘greenification’ of the global travel retail industry.


The Travel Retail Sustainability Forum

September 2019

TRBusiness, Duty Free Innovation (founding members)


DFI and TRBusiness executives will be on the stand (A 10) at the TFWA Innovation Lab in Cannes to meet with all stakeholders to share more detailed insights and plans for the Travel Retail Sustainability Forum. To make an appointment, please contact Simon Best at DFI ([email protected]) or Michael Barrett at TRBusiness ([email protected]).

Middle East

MEADFA Conference 2024 ‘heading to Abu Dhabi on 17-19 November’

This year’s Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA) Conference will take...


DFWC Q1 2024 KPI Monitor indicates rise in duty free impulse purchases

Impulse purchasing within global duty free is on the rise, according to the latest Duty Free...

Asia & Pacific

Avolta details “bold and ambitious” goals to grow its APAC business

With a number of key developments coming to fruition, including its operations at Wuhan Tianhe...

image description

In the Magazine

TRBusiness Magazine is free to access. Read the latest issue now.

E-mail this link to a friend