Amelia Beattie, chief executive of Liberty Two Degrees which owns Liberty Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg, plans to remove plastic shopping bags from all its malls countrywide. 
DURBAN - Liberty Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg is set to be among the first shopping centres in the country to stop supplying plastic shopping bags.

Liberty Two Degrees (L2D), a South African Retail Estate Investment Trust, last week announced its commitment to create a sustainable environment by implementing a “no plastic shopping bags” policy across its malls by January 1, 2020.

L2D believes that the future of retail is defined by a continued adaption of standards that meet national and global sustainability goals. The company aims to achieve its vision of a net zero sustainability target by 2030, which sees the reduction of use of energy and water as well as an efficient waste management system.

Amelia Beattie, chief executive of L2D, said: “Natural capital is a critical part of the day-to-day function of all business. There should therefore be the same kind of urgency in transforming policies that govern natural capital as there are for other forms of capital. Plastic pollution is already a crisis and we need to avoid the chain reaction of unravelling ecosystems,” she said.

“The only choice we have is to create transformational targets and actions. We have therefore undertaken this bold step to implement a no plastic shopping bags policy across our malls to ensure change starts with us.”

As part of its commitment, L2D has partnered with an Alexandra community based organisation called Bana Bags to introduce plastic-free bags into its centres to educate and encourage sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of doing business.

“With rising levels of plastic pollution in our country and oceans, it is no longer a case of best practice to eradicate the use of plastic shopping bags, but rather a commitment of paramount importance and necessity,” Beattie said.