Pivotal aims occupy brands & retailers to 2025

By Luke Barras-hill |

An influential panel of retailers and brands have outlined important milestones in their respective environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies in the coming five years against the backdrop of long-term sustainability missions.

Attendees to Travel Retail Sustainability Week (19-23 April), the DF&TR industry’s first virtual event dedicated solely to sustainability, heard from Nestlé International Travel Retail (NITR), L’Occitane en Provence, Aer Rianta International (ARI), Dufry and the Lego Group during the ‘Lead by example: Sustainable investments from industry leaders’ session on Tuesday 20 April (09:00 UK BST).

The session was kindly sponsored by ARI, Brown-Forman, Coty, Dufry, KrisShop, Lego Group and Mondelez International.

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

Dufry’s Global Head of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs Renzo Radice described how the travel retail giant’s affiliation to the United Nations Global Compact principles and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has led to the creation of a dedicated interdisciplinary committee led by CEO Julián Díaz, alongside C-level representatives from different functions.

ARI GETS TOUGH ON SINGLE-USE PLASTIC 

The ESG strategy, supervised by the Board of Directors, centres around four areas: customer focus, employee wellbeing and advancement, protecting the environment and being a trusted partner, with regular reports published to demonstrate the travel retailer’s commitment.

“We have our supplier code of conduct shared with all our suppliers two years ago,” said Radice. “We are just preparing the certification of the acknowledgment of the supplier code of conduct which we will share with all our suppliers.

“In our last annual report we also disclosed for the first time an overview of our greenhouse gas emissions and the CO2 footprint. Currently we cover 64% of our sales with this scope and in 2021 we will further extend the reach of the data to be able to get a good base of our impact and going forward to define respective goals.”

Aer Rianta International Chief Operations & Business Development Officer Nuno Amaral discussed the recently updated ESG strategy. Click to enlarge.

Nuno Amaral, Chief Operations & Business Development Officer, ARI outlined in detail the multi-location travel retailer’s recently updated ESG strategy.

Like Dufry, ARI’s strategy revolves around the UN SDGs and sets out what ARI wants to achieve in the coming years, shaped by reporting and governance mechanisms. It hinges on three core areas: Planet, Product and People.

Planet, in particular, focuses on reducing carbon footprints, including the goal of reaching zero waste to landfill in countries with the appropriate infrastructure by the end of 2022 and eliminating single-use plastic from office and retail operations by the end of 2023.

GREATER EXPOSURE FOR SUSTAINABLE BRANDS?

Questioned whether ARI would entertain more listings for sustainably minded companies, Amaral responded that one of ARI’s aims is to increase the volume of sustainability-led products by 300% by the end of 2025.

“We are putting this together as a framework to guide our operations in the right direction,” he said. “We have a relatively devolved model and now our individual operations will come up with initiatives to meet the goals we’ve set out in the next five years.

“We thought it would be a good time to relaunch our strategy so when passengers bounce back and traffic resumes, we are rightly positioned to drive the agenda forward. We believe this is relevant for the consumer and airports. We also need to stay relevant for the airports when we bid.”

Renzo Radice, Global Head of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, Dufry: “In our last annual report we disclosed for the first time an overview of our greenhouse gas emissions and the CO2 footprint. Currently, we cover 64% of our sales with this scope and in 2021 we will further extend the reach of the data to be able to get a good base of our impact going forward to define respective goals.”

Dufry’s Radice said a dedicated team assesses products to identify opportunities and possibilities to increase their exposure or display in store.

However, he pointed out there is a challenge around defining sustainability, be it by product packaging, sourcing, ingredients etc.

He added: “There is a wide range and scope to be covered. We are working on that but it is too early to give a concrete example.”

L’Occitane en Provence Group Sustainability Director Raphaelle Archambeaud-Sicot described the company’s three sustainability priorities: Biodiversity, Climate and Communities.

The natural skincare, beauty and organic cosmetics company has four cosmetic brands in travel retail, including its eponymous brand and Elemis.

“Our main ambition and priority is to maximise the positive impact on the environment and society,” said Archambeaud-Sicot. “Business has a whole role to play to accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable and fair world.”

Lead by example: Sustainable investments from industry leaders took place at 09:00am (UK BST) on Tuesday 20 April. A replay of the session can also be viewed in the video on demand (VOD) area of the Travel Retail Sustainability Week event platform. See footer for further information.

Archambeaud said L’Occitane is keen to work with all partners – customers, suppliers and even other companies – to prioritise sustainable transformation.

Aside a range of diversity and inclusion initiatives, the company is aiming to be carbon net zero by 2030 and aims to reach certified B-Corp status by 2022-2023.

TOWARDS A MORE CIRCULAR FUTURE

For Denmark’s iconic toy manufacturer Lego Group, sustainability pervades its functions with a circularity team specifically assembled to look towards the future.

An energetic webinar featured strong audience participation, with stakeholders keen to ascertain whether travel retailers such as ARI and Dufry where willing to relook at their standard commercial terms to encourage the mainstream retailing of certified B-Corp brands.

Raphaelle Archambeaud-Sicot, Group Sustainability Director, L’Occitane en Provence offered an illuminating perspective on the beauty company’s sustainability priorities, including the group aim to be recognised as a certified B Corp by 2022-2023. Click to enlarge.

Tamara Spada, Marketing Manager, Nestlé International Travel Retail reminded viewers about the group’s three focal areas of sustainability, such as the Nestlé Cocoa Plan. Viewers heard that 100% of the range in travel retail is sourced from sustainable cocoa.

On packaging, Nestlé’s commitment is ensuring 100% of its packaging is either reusable or recyclable by 2025 and the Vevey-headquartered company has established an entire institute for packaging science to help deliver that commitment.

By 2050, the group is aiming for net zero emissions with a series of milestones in view such as a 20% reduction by 2025. This carries across the agricultural supply chain, operations and product portfolio.

“We’ve embedded sustainability into everything we do,” said Spada, who touched on Nestlé’s announcement in 2019 that it would be removing all single-use plastics from its Smarties range – something it achieved in 2020.

This year, the entire range will move to 100% recyclable paper packaging. For the rest of the NITR range, sharing bags and snacking packs have moved to recyclable plastic packaging.

Tamara Spada, Marketing Manager, Nestlé International Travel Retail (NITR) spoke about the Smarties range moving to recyclable paper packaging this year and updated on packaging for the rest of the NITR lines.

Lego’s Senior Manager Environmental Supply Chain Louise Smith revealed that children’s desire for the removal of single-use inserts in Lego Group’s product packaging sped up the decision to do so.

The company’s R&D team works closely with focus groups to determine the product journey, with children and adults both instrumental in guiding how the company approaches sustainable products.

“We are moving over to recycled paper bags,” commented Smith. “We very specifically also test that with children. We come up with multiple solutions and test the playability of those solutions. A big challenge for us is making sure that any changes we make, the product is still fun to play with and keeps its uniqueness. Children are very interested in making sure they can use the bags to play with and recycle.

“Circularity is massive for Lego. It is a generational product and for the most part people don’t throw it away. We have an entire circularity team looking into how we can make Lego circular and what possibilities there will be for new business models in the future. It is early stages, but there is huge potential.”

COMMUNICATION: WORK TO DO

In the US and Canada, Lego’s Replay scheme allows users to send their Lego back to a central location where retired Lego employees clean the lego, repackage it and send it out to charities.

“At the moment it is not a profit-making circular model, but it’s a model where it supports our huge community homes as we have massive aims to support children around the world to learn through play,” said Smith. “We’re using this as a testbed to make things more circular in the future.”

Among a number of discussions during the session, attention was placed on the effectiveness of communication to consumers.

Louise Smith, Senior Manager Environmental Supply Chain, The Lego Group highlighted the innovative Lego Replay scheme in the US and Canada. This permits users to send their Lego back to a central location where the items are cleaned, repackaged and sent out to charities.

NITR’s Spada believes that while a massive amount is done, it is not enough and the industry doesn’t speak about it.

L’Occitane’s Archambeaud-Sicot agreed that the advent of QR codes for greater visibility of consumer information [an issue being spearheaded by the European Travel Retail Confederation] has some specific uses, for instance around product sourcing and recycling.

She said QR codes offer an opportunity to communicate what lies behind the product, for instance how companies are performing in environmental and governance areas.

Spada responded by suggesting that QR codes remain one area and should be considered in the context of communication during the wider customer journey so purchase decisions assume a higher purpose, whether it’s across airports, airlines and other channels.

Viewers also heard, encouragingly despite the pandemic, that there remains an appetite among retailers to consider listing sustainable products.

Stay close to TRBusiness for more coverage from Travel Retail Sustainability Week. 

To view Monday’s keynote session: New Horizons with Plastic Bank Founder & CEO David Katz, click here.

For more information and to get involved with Travel Retail Sustainability Week, including the pioneering Sustainability Pitch programme, click here.

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