Gunnar Heinemann: “Too many misuse the ocean as a big garbage pile, with terrible consequences for fish and other animals in the sea. They die miserably.”

GERMANY. A pay-for plastic bags environmental initiative from Gebr Heinemann – launched in 2017 – has been so successful that the company expects to be able to donate €1 million annually to marine conservation efforts in the future.

At Heinemann’s annual results conference on Tuesday (16 April) in its home town of Hamburg, Co-owner and Advisory Board Member Gunnar Heinemann was clear about the global travel retailer’s commitment to its CSR (corporate social responsibility) strategy.

“In the future, we want to take an even closer look at the economic, social, and ecological impact of our business since a company like ours – which has a presence in many destinations around the globe – needs to be mindful of its actions and their consequences,” he said.

Heinemann is actively involved in a number of projects one of which is the work of marine protection organisation OceanCare. The Switzerland-based group currently receives between €130,000 and €150,000 from Heinemann’s pay-for bags.

Heinemann currently charges €0.30 for all single-use plastic, paper and zip bags at 14 travel retail locations, aimed at reducing single-use containers and encouraging consumers to rethink their actions. As an alternative to plastic, customers can purchase multi-use bags made from 50% recycled materials, or an exclusive Heinemann-design reusable LOQI bag.

Gunnar Heinemann said: “We have done this in Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia, and we will add Copenhagen and Budapest – with more locations to come. We suspect that the day is near when we can get something like €1 million annually to support this group. Too many misuse the ocean as a big garbage pile, with terrible consequences for fish and other animals in the sea. They die miserably.”

Note: Look out for our full report, digitally and in print, on the Heinemann media conference, coming soon.

Shopping with a cause: Heinemann’s selection of reusable LOQI bags.