SPAR Italy’s regional partner Ergon in Sicily has plans in place to increase its renewable energy production, reduce its energy usage and foster a green mindset company-wide. Responsible retailing involves contributing in practical ways to the local communities we serve. Besides rolling out sustainable solutions, Ergon is investing in people and fostering positive change in its local communities.
Solar energy bonds
Based in Sicily, SPAR Italy’s regional organisation Ergon is stepping up its solar energy production to 30 – 40% of its total energy needs, or about 10 megawatts. Ergon’s parent company Syneos issued its first corporate bonds for a total of €2.5 million to support the investment. The bond income will be solely used to finance the photovoltaic plants. The new solar panels on the roofs of eight larger stores will add to the ones in place at 14 company-owned stores.
Besides investing in renewable energy production, the SPAR regional organisation is also reducing energy usage. This is being done by replacing existing instore technologies with more energy-efficient systems. Examples include implementing LED lighting and CO2 chilling cabinets with energy-saving doors.
Ergon is also investing in a green corporate mindset: “An additional pillar of our programme involves 8,000 hours of training for 300 colleagues, including managers, engineers, DC and retail team members. Focused on sustainability, it will develop transversal skills, so we can consistently affect our business processes”, explained Ergon’s President and Head of training, Paolo Canzonieri.
The SPAR Italy regional organisation is contributing in practical and diverse ways to its local communities. Another way Ergon acts as a responsible retailer is by rewarding good school and study performances among the children of its team members. In 2020, this support amounted to 50,000 euros in scholarships. At the peak of the pandemic in 2020-2021, the SPAR retailer donated 200 laptops to support remote learning for the most vulnerable in the community. An online library entirely funded by Ergon in 2021 allows users to access a virtual newsstand of magazines and newspapers worldwide, e-books, audiobooks, and many other digital tools.
Source: Ergon DESPAR operator in Sicily
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SPAR Italy, known locally as DESPAR Italia, was first granted the SPAR Brand’s licence in 1959. The first store opened in 1960, making SPAR 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 consortium operates 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. The independently owned neighbourhood supermarkets are a vital part of the organisation’s strategy to bring a high-quality, tailored grocery offering to communities.