February 2 2024  |  Industry News

Sustainability initiatives drive discussion for Women in Travel Retail+ panel in partnership with Diageo

By Alison Farrington in London, UK

Education, empowerment and advocacy were the watch words for the Women in Travel Retail+ Sustainability panel discussion last night (1 February), hosted by Diageo at its London HQ.

Guest speakers, Smruti Sriram of Bags of Ethics, Sally Alington of Ethos Farm and Clemmie Raynsford of Diageo were joined by moderator Angela Farrugia of Brand X Society at the event, to talk about the driving forces for setting a sustainability agenda in travel retail.

From left: Smruti Sriram CEO of Bags of Ethics, Clemmie Raynsford, Corporate Relations for Diageo, Sally Alington, Founder of Ethos Farm and moderator Angela Farrugia of Brand X Society

Bags of Ethics founder, Sriram said consumers are all decision makers for the future of sustainability and retail brands should think about three options for how to approach the subject with customers: penalize them; nudge or provide signals; empower and celebrate actions towards change. "I'm a big believer in empowerment," she said.

Education via brand ambassadors who play a vital role in brand storytelling was the key point from Alington of Ethos Farm. She said making younger consumers such as Gen Z and Gen Alpha 'catalysts for change' through education about sustainability best practice from brands, will be an important staffing tool in the future.

"Motivating the consumer through brand partnerships" was Raynsford's tip for how to educate around the nuanced messaging of sustainability. She said the power of the brand is there to bring multiple facets of a product's journey to life - from technology to packaging.

“Working with distilleries and producers to make the process ‘green to glass’ is the hardest part, we need committed partners to ensure they play their role along the way,” she added.

She said Diageo’s approach is to test and learn; for example innovating around removing the cardboard packaging for some of its Johnnie Walker boxes in travel retail. “We wanted to stop wasting all this premium packaging, but it needed to be explained properly, which is why it’s important to partner with airports and retail partners to show adverts to explain it properly in the right locations,” she said.

Diageo’s Spirit of Progress is a company-wide initiative that Raynsford highlighted as being rooted in sustainability, with parallels that can be drawn for its positive drinking messaging. “It’s all about education for responsible consumption of alcohol. For example, how do you make consumers inspired to drink moderately? Actually, it’s about empowering them to make that change and invest in something different that’s creating change,” she said.

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