Operating under concession agreements in complex and differentiated situations like the travel channel means first and foremost knowing how to adjust the procedures developed for environmental protection to the requirements of the different types of landlords. It also means identifying common points of integration around shared principles like, for instance, the responsible use of water and energy, reducing polluting emissions, using ecosustainable packaging and applying appropriate waste disposal procedures. The most important factor is engagement, getting both collaborators and consumers to pull in the same direction.
Protecting natural resources means using less energy. Every effort made by Autogrill starts from this simple yet fundamental principle. Consuming less energy is a key objective in the battle for environmental sustainability, along with scientific innovation, technological research and people’s engagement and commitment.
Only a cultural transformation can lead people to reduce their energy and water consumption. This requires changing ingrained habits and a reorientation of collaborators who use the equipment on a daily basis, suppliers who produce it and consumers who come to Autogrill stores and make use of the services.
In order to disseminate a pro-environment culture, Autogrill designs ongoing projects targeting all Group employees to heighten their awareness and engagement in environmental protection and waste reduction. The message conveyed to collaborators focuses on the proper use of kitchen equipment (hot plates, ovens, deep-fryers, dishwashers, etc.), which in low traffic time slots can be switched off, generating significant savings. Other initiatives are targeted to consumers, like the sale of compostable shoppers or jute bags, theme-focused communication campaigns focusing on sustainability issues and the proposal of waste differentiation. By modifying their everyday behavior, customers can contribute to the Group’s pro-environment effort.
The Group's Aconnect portal includes the “Afuture” section.
This is another way to keep attention focused on sustainability, a virtual location containing all the information of the Roadmap, from its history to the news and events from the world dedicated to the dissemination of the principles of sustainability. Last but not least, the monthly column “Go Green” was developed to disseminate best practices for the responsible use of paper, water and power. Simple concrete actions that every collaborator can put into practice every day, an additional effort to further disseminate the Group Afuture Roadmap.
In the last 5 years HMSHost has implemented a program called “startsomewhere”, which groups all the initiatives revolving around eco-sustainability and, above all, delivers effective communication to employees about the importance of their contribution, in addition to engaging with the authorities granting the concessions through participation in initiatives organized, for example, by airports.
HMSHost organizes periodic online workshops for store personnel to share best practices about sustainability.
In 2013 the survey on environmental issues was continued, involving all the stores in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia. The questionnaire covered various topics. The first part was dedicated to the management of the main environmental aspects of store operation: power, water and differentiated waste – cooking oil, coffee grounds, milk packs, glass and plastic bottles, cans, wooden pallets, etc.. The second part maps other initiatives, such as the use of LED lamps, the installation of individual presence detectors for switching on lights, training courses teaching the staff how to save water and the use of recycled paper in the offices, up to the environmental certification obtained. The results showed particular attention to recycling cooking oil, cardboard and ink cartridges, as well as the use of energy-efficient bulbs. In order to reduce water consumption, presence detection systems were installed on the water basins in the toilets. This annual survey proved to be an important tool to involve and increase collaborators’ engagement in adopting sustainable behaviors, also because it includes a section in which the stores can enter suggestions, request information and even make requests regarding the sustainability program adopted by the Group. In the United States, HMSHost implemented a series of workshops to share environmental best practices among store managers and disseminate knowledge about initiatives undertaken to promote sustainability, how they were carried out, what results they had generated and who applied them.
Autogrill Spain continued the “Edison Project”, whose objective is to reduce energy consumption efficiently in the stores. An important characteristic of this project is operator awareness, considered the key to a successful energy efficiency policy. The project envisages training courses for store managers, a practical manual for the correct use of equipment and information about energy consumption. In addition, a calendar was developed for each store to efficiently manage air conditioning and heating.
Also at the main headquarters of the Group - Milan, Marseille and Bethesda - differentiated waste collection is pursued according to different criteria and following the differentiation methods defined by the companies responsible for local waste collection and disposal (paper, plastics, glass, aluminum and ink cartridges).
The elimination of paper glasses for beverages from almost all the recreational rooms in the US headquarters encouraged employees to bring their own mug from home. At the Milan headquarters the rec rooms and the company canteen were equipped with free water coolers. The water in the dispenser is microfiltered and periodically checked.
This initiative contributed to a considerable reduction in the use of plastic.
Also in relation to its suppliers, the Group pays a great deal of attention to ethical and environmental aspects in the supplier selection process. This means adding an additional layer of assessment in addition to material quality and process reliability.
Selecting the right suppliers with whom to support the Group’s commitment towards eco-sustainability means facilitating dialogue with category associations and organizations operating in different fields, who can become important mediators and also facilitate the process of technological and cultural innovation that the sustainability challenge requires.
Two winning categories were recognized:
- the greenest team: the one with the lowest number of printouts per capita per week in the four months;
- the most improved team: the one which proved most successful in percentage reduction of the overall number of printouts per capita per week in the four months.
The prize for the best teams was a "green" meal for the entire group and the possibility of participating in the preparation in collaboration with professional cooks. Concurrently with this project, a communication campaign was launched in the printing areas and on Aconnect.
Thanks to everybody's engagement, the challenge resulted in an overall reduction by over 23% of the weekly number of printouts in the period.