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The future of airport retail in a carbon constrained world: Setting the agenda for research

Heyes, Graeme (2014) The future of airport retail in a carbon constrained world: Setting the agenda for research. Social Business, 4 (1). pp. 45-62. ISSN 2044-4087


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This paper examines the pressure on airport retail in a carbon-constrained world, and puts forward a research agenda for transformative business models in this new environment. Government responses to the climate threat and the consequences of climate change itself will have implications for every sector of the economy. These challenges will give rise to new infrastructure, technologies, operational practices and business models, causing sectors or individual organisations that are unable to adapt to decline or disappear. Aviation is particularly exposed (politically and commercially) because of its reliance upon carbon fuels, the limited potential for technological change and the fact that aircraft emissions will rise at a time when Governments seek huge reductions in CO2 emissions across the economy. The environmental impact associated with airport retail is unknown, however as pressure grows on aviation to reduce its emissions, such business are likely to come under scrutiny. This is important due to the significant revenue created from airport concessions for airport operators. These growing environmental constraints may force retailers to consider new ways of doing business that will enable them to remain profitable in a carbon constrained world.

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