January 26 2021  |  Industry News

Estée Lauder commits to sustainability across company for TR

By Hibah Noor

Estée Lauder’s travel retail-specific sustainability includes focus on emissions, packaging, merchandising and operations

Sustainability has become increasingly important to consumers around the globe, and never has this been more the case than since the pandemic began. According to a recent study by the Tax Free World Association (TFWA), over 70% of participants noted that they would be influenced by sustainability credentials when purchasing an item during their travels.

The Estée Lauder Companies’ (ELC) has committed to “embed citizenship and sustainability within every aspect of its business.” As part of that strategy, the company has announced sustainability goals specific to ELC’s Travel Retail unit, which is one of the company’s highest growth channels, reaching over 1 billion consumers a year.

“The Estée Lauder Companies and its brands have made great strides to ensure we continue to be a company rooted in values and it is important that we do our part in Travel Retail to uphold this vision. By implementing sustainability goals for Travel Retail, we are furthering the company’s commitment to the environment and demonstrating to travelers how we are making a positive impact in this space,” said Olivier Bottrie, Global President, Travel Retail and Retail Development, The Estée Lauder Companies. “We look forward to continuing the necessary work to lead in this space and sharing our progress with our employees and consumers.”

The Travel Retail unit of ELC has identified emissions, waste and energy as key priorities in this comprehensive mandate. The goals announced are:


  • Achieve Net Zero carbon emissions for transportation to Travel Retail customers by the end of fiscal year 2023
  • Achieve Net Zerocarbon emissions for all Corporate Travel Retail Worldwide Business Air Travel by the end of fiscal year 2023


  • Transition all Travel Retail Exclusive (TREX) paper cartons to responsibly sourced FSC-certified board by 2025.
  • Reduce plastic usage by removing plastic film-wrap from Travel Retail Exclusive outside cartons by 2023.

Store Design and Visual Merchandising:

  • Incorporate sustainability practices in Travel Retail new store design and visual merchandising across all brands, including with respect to materials starting in fiscal year 2021.

Sustainable Building Operations:

“The Estée Lauder Companies’ commitment to citizenship and sustainability reflects our belief that our long-term business success depends on our ability to make conscious decisions to embed sustainable practices across our entire value chain,” said Nancy Mahon, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability, The Estée Lauder Companies. “We feel confident that the ambitious steps our Travel Retail team is taking will not only accelerate progress towards our company’s sustainability goals, but will also make a tangible impact on the Travel Retail industry, enabling consumers to make more environmental choices.”

The company offers the example that eliminating film-wrapping from the packaging of its Travel Retail Exclusive Sets will prevent 54,000 kilograms of plastic waste.

Since the launch of these initiatives, the company has made substantial progress, including 83 percent of Travel Retail Exclusive paper cartons being FSC-certified in fiscal year 2020. The newly opened Estée Lauder, La Mer and MAC counters at Hyundai COEX in Seoul, Korea were built with, on average, 80% reused display fixtures, reducing waste and environmental impact.

“We recognize that this is the first step for Travel Retail in what will be an ongoing journey, but we look forward to being a part of the solution and feel that by taking these critical steps, The Estée Lauder Companies and Travel Retail is recommitting to its values to bring the best to everyone we touch,” added Mr. Bottrie.

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