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UNIC Retail & Circular Economy Group Meeting

The Retail & Circular Economy Group Meeting took place at Coca-Cola offices in London on the 1 and 2 March 2023 and gathered around 30 operators from across Europe.

It was the first in-person meeting after February 2020, therefore both Coca-Cola and UNIC were happy to welcome back group members. The goal of this two-day event was to bring together a working group to discuss recent and upcoming trends in retail for cinema operators, show best practices related to the circular economy in the cinema industry and shape next steps to create a sustainability roadmap for cinema exhibition in Europe.

Nick Gault, Away from Home Customers Director at Coca-Cola, and Laura Houlgatte, CEO of UNIC, opened the meeting. The event kicked off with a presentation from Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, sharing the results of a survey on consumer spending, showing changing priorities due to a more limited budget of households and the potential impact on customers’ disposable income. Amy Clamp from Beatfreeks introduced common habits and preferences of Gen Zers when choosing their leisure venues, caring especially about authenticity, social consciousness and sustainability. The meeting continued with presentations from Vue and Apollo (Baltics), both presenting their newly launched food & beverage self-service concept, improving the customer journey and cinema experience.

UNIC also contributed to the conversation with a presentation on the legal background in Europe regarding packaging, plastics and circular economy.

The second day of the event was focused mainly on circular economy, with presentations from Coca-Cola on the company’s short and long term plans to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2040 and from the French association La Base on the report “Décarbonisons la culture!”, with a chapter focused on sustainable and energy efficient initiatives taken by film theatres in France. Then, best practices were shared by the UKCA with the Arts Green Book published in 2019, and by Odeon, presenting the group’s net zero strategy, focusing on waste & packaging, energy and community outreach.

The meeting concluded with an open discussion on how to move forward on the discussion on circular economy across the industry, with follow-ups at the Cola-Cola Retail Seminar at CineEurope, retail workshops at the Cinema Days and the next Retail & Circular Economy Meeting in 2024.

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