Heinemann drives turnover through eco initiatives

By Faye Bartle |

Heinemann sustainabiity

Heinemann rolled out its future-friendly concept to international travellers at Sydney Airport on 22 April 2023, coinciding with Earth Day.

Gebr. Heinemann is on track to achieve a ‘significant’ share of its turnover through sustainable products, and by working with responsible suppliers, by 2030.

“In our view, the notion that businesses cannot be both green and profitable is outdated,” said Saskia Möller, Heinemann’s Director Compliance & Corporate Responsibility.

“The key is to implement well-thought-out and strategic sustainability measures that align with the company’s goals and values.

“Furthermore, it is very important to consider a long-term view: sustainable practices often lead to cost savings in the long run.

“For example, energy-efficient operations, waste reduction and resource optimisation can lower operational cost and enhance overall efficiency, directly impacting the bottom line positively.

“The additional benefit is that this also increases resilience and future-proofs operations. This can be particularly valuable in times of economic uncertainty or during market disruptions.”

As consumer interest in more sustainable options intensifies, it’s important to make greener choices accessible to all.

Heinemann sustainabiity

Saskia Möller, Director Compliance & Corporate Responsibility, Gebr. Heinemann.

“While there is a growing demand for sustainable products, price sensitivity can still play a role in consumer decisions,” said Möller.

“Some consumers may be willing to pay a premium for sustainability, but others might be constrained by their budget.

“Therefore, businesses need to strike a balance between offering sustainable options and ensuring they are accessible and affordable to a broader consumer base.”

Striving to be a role model making a positive impact  

The 2030 goal is an exciting prospect and builds upon a dedication that has strengthened over time. On top of Heinemann’s commitment to the United Nations Global Compact in 2018, and the decision to join the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in May 2023, the family-owned company’s sustainable impact has become an integral part of its value proposition to its customers and stakeholders.

‘“Of course, the development is also market-driven, as customers, applicants and other stakeholders increasingly care about the sustainability agenda of companies,” said Möller. “We strive to be a role model that has a positive impact on the whole sector.”

Heinemann sustainabiity

Whisky brand Nc’nean recently partnered with Gebr. Heinemann to be sold in its stores as part of the future-friendly initiative.

Heinemann champions transparency and reports on its progress each year.

“Firstly, it is a way to hold ourselves accountable for the results of our efforts regarding sustainability as compared to our commitments,” explained Möller. “This may also inspire other companies to act towards sustainability as well. Secondly, transparent reporting fosters trust and confidence among our stakeholders, including customers, employees, and the communities we serve.

“It demonstrates our genuine dedication to sustainability, and stakeholders can make informed decisions based on accurate information. Moreover, it encourages collaboration and knowledge sharing, as others can learn from our experiences and vice versa.”

A future-friendly outlook

Heinemann’s future-friendly concept is attracting a huge amount of buzz within the travel retail industry and the company is steadily building out its range.

“Although we can already show parts of our existing brand portfolio within the future-friendly concept, we are always on the lookout for new brands and suppliers that demonstrate a commitment to eco-friendly practices, transparency, and social responsibility across all categories,” said Britta Hoffmann, Director Purchasing Perfume & Cosmetics.

“Of course, the adherence of our defined attributes is the key factor in selecting these new additions for future-friendly.

“For instance, within the perfume and cosmetics category, we are about to launch the Danish brand Skandinavisk. This brand holds sustainability as its core value and has been certified as a B Corp since 2019. They consider the impact on both people and environment in their product development and business operations.

“The entire product range is vegan and the brand utilises alternative or recycled materials, such as PCR aluminium, for packaging whenever possible.”

Rudolph Care is yet another recent addition to the concept, within the skincare category.

“In spirits, an increasing number of small and emerging suppliers are embracing a holistic approach to sustainability and we are committed to providing them with a platform in our concept,” added Hoffmann.

“Presently, we showcase a whisky by the brand Nc’nean within future-friendly. Being B Corp certified, the supplier uses organic barley, ensures a vegan product and exemplifies their commitment to the environment by using 100% recycled glass bottles.

“Similarly, the tequila brand Mijenta focuses on responsible and fair agricultural practices while using recycled materials for their bottles and cartons as well as labels created locally from agave waste.”

Heinemann sustainabiity

Left: Britta Hoffmann, Director Purchasing Perfume & Cosmetics, Gebr. Heinemann. Right: Heinemann’s future-friendly concept is attracting a huge amount of buzz within the global travel retail industry.

Hoffmann is encouraged by ‘many major industry players’ showcasing a ‘heightened transparency and vocal commitment to sustainable practices’. 

However, she said, the approach towards sustainability is ‘far from uniform’: “Given the broad spectrum that sustainability encompasses, players inevitably chart different courses,” she said. “While some align their efforts with our approach to a ‘future-friendly’ product assortment, others may deviate, focusing to contribute in other areas. 

“Aside from the growing focus on ethically sourced and organic ingredients, often verified through third-party certification, the realm of product packaging represents a focal point of innovation and continuous improvement for global suppliers in the perfume and cosmetics industry. 

“Suppliers such as Rituals, L’Occitane or Clarins are perpetually seeking ways to optimise the sustainable impact of their packaging, for instance, through the integration of recycled materials in an increasing number of products.

“With the mindset that sustainability and innovation go hand-in-hand, Luxottica adopted a ‘research, reduce, reuse, recycle’ approach focusing on circularity. Here, sustainability criteria have been integrated into the development process of both technologies and products. For example, for Burberry, there are already several models made from recycled and/or alternative organic materials.”

Working toward a collective green goal 

‘Ambitious sustainability targets’ are part of the overall strategy for Heinemann’s shops at Copenhagen Airport, where the travel retailer recently extended its concession to 2033.

The focus will be on working together to decrease emissions, enhance waste recycling efforts and closely collaborate on human rights risk management, as well as improving the overall sustainability of products.

Heinemann sustainability

Customers can look forward to discovering a greater variety of sustainable products in Heinemann’s shops, as it continues to rollout and modify its future-friendly product line.

Customers can also look forward to discovering  a greater variety of sustainable products in Heinemann’s shops, as it continues to rollout and modify its future-friendly product line.

“We work closely with many of our suppliers to provide an attractive and spectacular assortment that will excite our customers and additionally raise awareness of sustainability at our points of sale,” said Möller. “As a global retail company, we actively pursue efforts to decarbonise our supply chain, reduce resource consumption, and minimise waste generation. 

Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond environmental concerns; we also prioritise the wellbeing of our employees and customers, striving to make a positive social impact on society. 

Möller concluded: “In our journey to become the most human-centric company in travel retail, we are driven by a holistic approach to sustainability, embracing environmental responsibility and caring deeply about the people we serve and the communities we operate in.”

An extended version of this feature first appeared in the TRBusiness Sustainability Issue 2023. Click here to view the publication.

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