Who pays the price for sustainability?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

By Marco Passoni

This Saturday was World Ocean Day, which is a cause very close to my heart. As a sailor, I have spent much of my life on the water and I feel very keenly about the importance of working to protect it for ourselves and future generations.

This is why I am incredibly proud of the independent supporters partnership we at 2.0 & Partners have held for the past year with The Ocean CleanUp, as they carry out large-scale efforts to tackle the plastic plague which blights our oceans, seas and waterways around the world.

20partners Screenshot-2024-06-08-at-09.44.14WEB Who pays the price for sustainability? Journal  Sustainability

It is also why we as a team took matters into our own hands last summer as our army of Plastic Hunters set out on our first ever Beach Clean, seeking to do our bit to protect our oceans.

Sustainability is something which we talk a lot about in travel retail and it the luxury sector, as brands seek to remain in-step with the demands of shoppers around the world who want a more responsible offer from the brands and businesses they patronise.

But who carries the cost for this work? Because being sustainable is not easy, nor is it cheap – and those who seek to take shortcuts pay a high price with public accusations of greenwashing.

Being sustainable is not easy, nor is it cheap – and those who seek to take shortcuts pay a high price with public accusations of greenwashing.

Recent figures from KPMG showed that 34% of shoppers Asia Pacific are unwilling to pay more for sustainable products. On top of that, only 14% are willing to pay 20% or more. Across the world, PwC found that four fifths of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainability, with 9.7% being the generally acceptable increase.

There are doubtless many who will say that if shoppers are not willing to pay more for sustainability then they do not really want it. But the same applies to us. If we simply seek to pass on the cost of delivering a more ecologically-sound service then do we really care? We all certainly claim to, and many of our businesses rely on shoppers seeing us as well-meaning as part of our wider storytelling and brand identity.

If we simply seek to pass on the cost of delivering a more ecologically-sound service then do we really care?

The truth is that, once more, talk is cheap. Prices are rising around the world and shoppers are facing that, if we are not willing to help shoulder the cost of delivering a sustainable service – something which we should all be choosing to do – then we are not as committed as we claim to be.

The bottom line on sustainability is that if you are not willing to both get your hands dirty, and put your bottom line into it, then you are just using a serious issue as a cheap PR win – and all of us should be doing better than that.

Marco Passoni has decades of experience in the travel retail sector. He has spent the majority of his career in senior leader positions throughout the market, including a 12-year tenure as CEO of a leading international Duty Free distribution company and a further 8 years running a retail firm that operated fashion mono-brand stores in several international airports.
Today, as Senior Executive VP and founding partner of 2.0 & Partners, he leads the company’s efforts in developing and innovating services which create new opportunities and partnerships for all members of the travel retail Trinity. A former elite-level sailor, with a World Championship to his name, Marco now spends much of his time airside, experiencing the changing travel retail industry first-hand, to better guide partners and clients on the best way to do business in this vibrant and unique market.