Employee wellbeing, environment and innovation key in SPAR Italy partner’s 2020 sustainability report

September 13, 2021 IN THE CATEGORY: Climate, Environment, People, Responsible retailing

Maiora, SPAR Italy partner for Central and Southern Italy, continues to make strides in employee training and wellbeing, environment and innovation, according to its 2020 Sustainability Report. The report shows how the SPAR operator’s strategy and initiatives closely reflect the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Safety and solidarity – key values during the COVID-19 pandemic

Health and safety was a major concern for shoppers and retailers alike in 2020. During this year, Maiora achieved the new ISO 45001 standard for workplace health and safety.

All Maiora employees are covered by special insurance for COVID-19 related risks. In recognition of their commitment during the first months of 2020, all team members were awarded a special bonus.

Maiora actively supported its local communities in 2020. As many sectors were hit by the pandemic, the SPAR operator donated €50,000 in shopping vouchers to local governments for people in need.

The SPAR operator also joined the Spesa SOSpesa (SOS Shopping) initiative, facilitating food donations for customers at its local stores. Together with all other SPAR Italy partners, Maiora also contributed towards a €500,000 donation to the Spallanzani Institute in Rome, Italy’s national centre for health care and research into infectious diseases.

Investing in people and training

Maiora continues to invest in people, creating 390 new jobs in 2020. Its total workforce has reached 2,400 people, of whom 47% are women, highlighting its commitment to supporting women’s career development.

Despite the pandemic, training continues to be a priority, with almost 11,000 training hours facilitated in 2020. About half of these hours took place online thanks to a new training platform, DESPAR Learning Academy.

Active engagement for the environment and local communities

Maiora has implemented the ISO 14001:2015 standard for environmental management. Among other 2020 responsible retailing initiatives, the company participated in an environmental cleanup ‘Cleaning the world’ on beaches and other areas in 12 municipalities.

The SPAR operator donated festive food bags containing SPAR-branded products to local Caritas centres ahead of Christmas. In addition, it continued supporting ‘Fairies’ Children’, a charity that provides sports and cooking activities for neurodiverse children.

Maiora’s President and CEO, Pippo Cannillo, underlined the importance of being firmly rooted in local communities: “Our company contributes towards environmental and social goals that are important for our local communities. Our Sustainability Report is a tool that allows us to highlight this contribution.”

“We believe it is important to share these activities with our communities, and to have a dialogue with other stakeholders, so we can establish together new goals and continuously improve in a way that is relevant for our local communities. By sharing our goals, we can achieve even more”, he added.

Boosting store sustainability

After a strong 2020, Maiora’s current investment plan includes a focus on making its store network more environmentally friendly. Since May 2021, the SPAR operator has re-opened several stores across different formats, such as DESPAR and INTERSPAR. In total, 18 SPAR stores in this region will be renovated throughout 2021.

Beyond offering a heightened shopping experience, the stores are equipped with the latest generation CO2 cooling systems. These provide reliable, safe and energy-efficient chilling capabilities. New air conditioning and LED lighting systems also help stores slash their energy usage. The implementation of electronic shelf labels allows for immediate savings of large quantities of printed paper.

Source: DESPAR Centre-South

Read about the national results for 2020 issued by SPAR Italy.

About SPAR Italy

SPAR Italy, known locally as DESPAR Italia, was first granted the SPAR Brand’s licence in 1959. The first store opened in 1960. With it, SPAR became the first partnership of retailers and wholesalers to operate in the country. In addition, SPAR Italy licenses regional partners, all of whom work together to grow the brand across the country.

The DESPAR Partners operate stores under three formats: DESPAR Neighbourhood Supermarkets, EUROSPAR Supermarkets, and INTERSPAR Hypermarkets. Many of the larger format stores are company-owned, reflecting the scale of investment required. While the company achieves most of its turnover through these larger format stores, the independently owned neighbourhood supermarkets remain vital.

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