ESG wave continues as fashion and duty free buy in

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ESG wave continues as fashion and duty free buy in

Lotte Duty Free CEO Lee Kap speaks at a ceremony marking the establishment of the company’s ESG committee in central Seoul on Wednesday. [LOTTE DUTY FREE]

Lotte Duty Free CEO Lee Kap speaks at a ceremony marking the establishment of the company’s ESG committee in central Seoul on Wednesday. [LOTTE DUTY FREE]

 
The latest fad in fashion and retail is environmental, social and governance (ESG) — at least in terms of the ‘E’ and 'S' in ESG.
 
As part of their efforts to meet ESG guidelines, industry players are eliminating plastic bags while actively promoting eco-friendly brands.
 
ESG is a key initiative for companies, as investors are increasingly using non-financial measures to gauge performance.
 
Lotte Duty Free on Thursday announced the establishment of a committee dedicated to adopting ESG. Company CEO Lee Kap is the chairperson of the committee.  
 
“Under the management vision [to become] the most trusted travel partner, [Lotte Duty Free] will generate ESG value across all businesses,” said Lee in a statement.  
 
The company plans to only use eco-friendly and biodegradable bags for shopping by 2022, and encourage the use of  paper bags at duty-free stores. Plastic bags are a major problem for duty-free operators at airports.  
 
It further plans to discover eco-friendly brands and encourage them to operate at their duty-free malls. Jointly developing up-cycled products is one possible project the company is considering.  
 
Lotte Duty Free also plans to spend 500 million won ($450,000) to support startups that are based in Busan and Jeju over the next two years, and educate them on management know-how in fields like marketing.  
 
Fashion company LF is adopting an eco-friendly packaging system called Carton Wrap starting in July.  
 
The Carton Wrap packaging machinery program automatically detects the size of the product purchased and constructs a box that’s the right size.  
 
The system “dramatically reduces the amount of tape and boxes used for packaging,” according to LF.  
 
The company said it expects to cut the use of packaging by 410 tons, or 25 percent, and plastic tape by 200 kilograms, or 90 percent, annually.  
 
The company “expects to dramatically reduce the creation of waste through the adoption of the verified eco-friendly packaging system that is being actively adopted by global retailers,” a spokesperson for LF said, vowing to further pursue eco-friendly values based on a logistics revolution.
 
Retailers pursuing ESG initiatives include GS Retail. The company recently partnered with Korea Meteorological Institute to provide weather information to its stores, like convenience store franchise GS25, to minimize spoilage.  
 
CU convenience stores plan to hire new employees from universities in rural areas in the first half of the year to contribute to solving the problem of concentration of jobs in metropolitan areas.  
 
BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
 
 
 
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