The Estée Lauder Companies announces sustainability goals for Travel Retail

As part of The Estée Lauder Companies’ (ELC) commitment to embed citizenship and sustainability within every aspect of its business, the company today announced ambitious sustainability goals specific to ELC’s Travel Retail unit.

Travel Retail, which covers the world of duty free environments including airports, downtown locations, airlines, cruises, and border shops, is one of the company’s highest growth channels and touches 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.”

Sustainability is increasingly top of mind for travelers. According to a recent study by the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) -2020 Sustainability in Travel Retail Study 2020-  more than 70% of participants noted that they would be influenced by sustainability credentials when purchasing an item during their travels.

In line with ELC’s company-wide sustainability goals, Travel Retail identified emissions, waste and energy as key priorities for its business based on industry need and potential impact. Travel Retail’s business air travel and transportation emissions contribute to ELC’s Scope 3 footprint.

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. (Note: This excludes travel by counter beauty advisors.)


  • 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:

  • Deploy sustainability practices across all Travel Retail office locations by the end of fiscal year 2023.

“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.”

By way of example, by eliminating film-wrapping from the packaging of Travel Retail Exclusive Sets, Travel Retail will avoid 54,000 kilograms of plastic waste – the equivalent of eliminating 5.4 million 500mL plastic water bottles, based on FY20 sales volumes.

Since the launch of Travel Retail’s sustainability initiatives, progress has been made in both packaging and store design. In packaging, as of fiscal year 2020, 83% of Travel Retail Exclusive paper cartons are already FSC-certified, reports the company.

In store design, 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 while maintaining brand equity.

“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 Bottrie.