21 June 2021

No single-use plastic bags at Lotus’s Malaysia starting July

Source: New Straits Times

THERE will no longer be single-use plastic bags available at all Lotus's Stores (M) Sdn Bhd (Lotus's Malaysia) checkout counters beginning July 1.

Lotus's Malaysia, formerly known as Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd pledged its support to the government's Roadmap to Zero Single-Use Plastics 2018-2030 initiative at the launch of its second and third flagship stores, Lotus's Penang E-Gate (Penang) and Lotus's Desa Tebrau (Johor).

Lotus's Malaysia president Kenneth Chuah said the move is in line with the government's initiative which envisions a cleaner and environmentally sustainable Malaysia by 2030.

He said this initiative had already started at Lotus's Penang E-Gate on June 15, followed by Lotus's Desa Tebrau two days later and will be practiced at the remaining 60 Lotus's stores nationwide by July 1.

"We have chosen the phrase 'Bring Home Change' as our tagline for this campaign to show that a simple act of reusing one's bag can reflect greatly on the environment," he said in a post-launch press conference held virtually via Zoom.

Chuah said they chose to start the campaign at Lotus's Penang E-Gate due to the Penang government's progressive initiative to phase out single-use plastic which started way back since 2009, accelerating the green effort in the country.

He said this pioneer initiative is aligned with Lotus's Malaysia's parent company, Charoen Pokphand Group's (CP Group) business principles.

"At CP Group, we recognise the importance of solving the plastic waste problem, which is also part of the sustainable business principles we practice in our daily operation.

"Together, we are committed to promoting and conserving the quality of the environment, educating and fostering engagement in consumer behavioural change for sustainable development," he said.

This initiative by Lotus's Malaysia also received the thumbs up from Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

In a statement, Chow said that he believes this initiative will be a game-changer on how the retail industry, as a whole, manages the sustainability of plastic use in the supply chain.

"While plastic is convenient and relatively cheap to be used, we have become over-reliant on single-use or disposable plastic with severe environmental consequences. These unsustainable patterns generate a vast amount of waste, much of it eventually becoming marine litter, which has choked our oceans and waterways.

"This is also why the Penang state government had made it compulsory for households to segregate waste at source before disposing of them and banning the use of plastic straws while encouraging paper ones," said Chow.

"In our ongoing efforts to achieve a sustainable future for all, we need leaders in the retail industry to lead the way. Lotus's is the largest retailer in the country to embark on this initiative and we hope that other retailers, big or small, will take notice and make a change just like Lotus's," he continued.

Lotus's Malaysia, through its 62 stores nationwide, is the largest retailer in the country to embark on this initiative.

Customers who use their own reusable bags while shopping at any of the 62 stores will earn eight Clubcard points for each bag they bring.

"The accumulated points can later be converted into cash vouchers and used at these stores," said Chuah, adding that customers can also purchase Lotus's reusable bags which come in four variants at an affordable price.

Touching on the two flagship store launches on Thursday, Chuah added that following the successful launch of Lotus's Kepong in March, Lotus's Penang E-Gate will now take the lead in bringing forward the Lotus's brand within the Northern region while Lotus's Desa Tebrau would take on the same role within the Southern region.

"The flagship stores serve as the first touchstone to the Lotus's brand experience for customers; whereby each store has been refitted completely with the vibrant colours of Lotus's green and yellow signifying the dynamic direction that Lotus's Malaysia intends to go on, repackaged Lotus's Own Brand products, as well as expanded the variety of the sister company's offering, CP Food's ready-to-eat meals," he added.

After assuming Tesco's operations that include 8,600 employees across one head office, two distribution centres, and 62 stores, the company has intensified its rebranding efforts on some of its products.

The rebranding initiative of converting the Tesco brand to the new corporate brand Lotus's is expected to be fully completed by the end of this year.

"For the time being customers might still see the refitted Lotus's brand products alongside the old Tesco brand, as we are in the midst of rebranding these products," he added.

Chuah said Lotus's has a total of 2,688 Own Brand products of which 90 per cent are manufactured locally, by local suppliers.

Chuah added that the company is also looking at recyclability for the packaging of its own brand products.

"As of May 2021, 217 Own Brand Products have been repackaged to Lotus's and are now available in our stores. This includes 125 grocery products, 89 fresh products and three general merchandise items."

Lotus's, Chuah said, is also expanding the capacity of online stores on various platforms.

"We are aware that there's a growing demand for online services and at present, we are working on improving the website and our online platforms to give our customers a smoother experience in the future," he said, adding that there are strong online expansion plans.

At present, Lotus's has one of the most extensive online grocery shopping networks across platforms such as Lazada, Shopee, HappyFresh and Foodpanda with over 5,000 products in Peninsular Malaysia.

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