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Travel retail must address climate change or ‘appear arrogant’

The global travel retail channel must start to act on climate change or risk “appearing arrogant”, the TFWA president has warned.

TFWA president Alain Maingreaud speaking during the 2019 opening conference in Cannes

Speaking at the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes, France, last week, Alain Maingreaud, president of the TFWA, stressed the importance of creating a sustainable industry across the travel retail and duty free channels.

Maingreaud noted how recent protests by climate activists have given the issues surrounding sustainability greater prominence and stressed the travel retail channel “cannot ignore” the impact aviation has on the environment.

“Our industry can only be sustainable if it is sustainable for everyone,” Mainngreaud said. “Aviation still accounts for roughly 2% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions and new studies suggest overall climate impact of flying could be closer to 5% of all warming caused by the elements.

“Someone flying from London to New York and back generates the same emissions as the average EU citizen heating their home for a year. Recent protests by climate activists have given this issue greater prominence.

“Growing numbers of consumers are questioning the climate credentials of the companies they’re buying from. Unless we in duty free and travel retail start to act on climate change, and are seen to be doing so by consumers, investors and governments, we risk appearing arrogant and out of touch with today’s travelling consumers.

“Some major players in our industry are already active in this area. But even small steps matter, helping create a sustainable mind-set. Small actions taken by many can quickly become significant.

“That means listening carefully to our members, as well as the exhibitors and visitors who attend our events and responding to their needs.”

Earlier this year, The Spirits Business explored how climate change was affecting Cognac producers and the measures brands are taking to safeguard the category.

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