The pledge comes as part of the company’s move towards the creation of a circular economy and efforts to minimise its footprint on the environment
UAE’s leading retail developer, Majid Al Futtaim, announced yesterday its group-wide commitment to phase-out single-use plastics across its operations by 2025. The commitment includes the removal of freely distributed plastic grocery bags at Carrefour stores, as well as single-use plastic items such as straws, cutlery, containers, and trays.
Additionally, as part of the new pledge, Carrefour stores will take 500 million plastic grocery bags out of circulation each year, while the company will focus on promoting reusable, sustainable alternatives. The pledge comes as part of Majid Al Futtaim’s move towards the creation of a circular economy and efforts to minimise its footprint on the environment, in line with its sustainability strategy ‘Dare Today, Change Tomorrow’, it stated.
Speaking at the launch of the pledge, Hani Weiss, CEO at Majid Al Futtaim – Retail, said: “At Majid Al Futtaim, we are committed to playing our part in positively impacting the environment, while trying to influence others to make similar commitments.”
“By making hard choices and leading by example, we will start to see progress. Reducing our dependence on single-use plastic is only the start; we hope to create a movement amongst the partners, suppliers and customers we engage with every day to ensure collective action.”
In an exclusive interview with MECN, he added: “Today, we are existing in 15 markets and serve 750,000 customers daily, so for us the main challenge will be customer awareness. But, I truly believe that by working together with the community and our customers, and through the awareness programmes we are going to implement in all our markets, there will be an improvement in the situation.”
Moreover, he said that Carrefour stores will have loyalty programmes and incentives aimed at customers opting for reusable bags as well as dedicated cash counters called ‘green counters’ that can be used by customers who have invested or are using reusable bags.
“This is a journey, it’s not a one-time approach and the phase-out process will also see the company roll out physical and digital campaigns to build awareness. Though the target is for five years, in the first two years we will drastically reduce plastic usage on our cash-counters, which will give us a great opportunity to work with our customers to encourage them to use reusable bags.”
He further added that certain countries have already banned single-use plastics at their cash-counters and certain countries charge for plastic bags. “Hence, because of these regulations, we hope that our customers will turn to reusable bags instead of single-use plastics. So, there are concrete steps we are going to undertake, especially in the coming two years,” Weiss stated.
In 2017, the company started promoting reusable grocery bags across its markets, with this year’s sales of the eco-friendly bags increasing by 70%, it stated.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Al Zu’bi, chief sustainability officer at Majid Al Futtaim – Holding, said: “For business to be sustainable, it must be in harmony with the planet. I believe we need to continue to push the sustainability agenda at a faster pace, and our customers are very much a part of that.”
“We listen to them, and we want to make it easy for them to make smart choices to live a sustainable life – and hopefully to support brands that are making a real difference in the war on plastic,” he concluded.