Energy saving and waste control

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Autogrill pursues innovation through special projects designed to guarantee responsible use of energy sources, leading to reduced consumption.

Energy is a fundamental issue in the way we live today; it is a precious asset that Autogrill Group intends to use responsibly. If, on one hand, business requirements and commercial structures open to the public imply a considerable consumption of energy to feed illumination and all the necessary technological devices, on the other, Autogrill ensures that this considerable energy expenditure never translates into waste.

Autogrill Italia has implemented several initiatives with the objective of reducing energy consumption, so much so that in 2010 it registered a 2.8% energy saving against 2009 in its in Italian stores. This result was made possible thanks to the multiple energy saving measures adopted, such as the replacement of bulbs with energy efficient LEDs, the use of photocells to regulate the switching on and off of lights when necessary in the toilets and the scrapping of the old refrigerators in favor of more energy efficient models. In addition, Autogrill uses high efficiency heat pumps to heat water and solar plants, reducing energy waste during heating.

In the past few years, Autogrill Group has ramped up its commitment to the development of commercial structures equipped with top notch tools to monitor and manage  waste. In many European countries (Austria, Belgium,Italy, France and Spain), Autogrill has implemented next generation plants, which not only permit the monitoring of energy performance but also enable corrective actions that generate additional savings. Another solution adopted to reduce energy consumption is the result of a  partnership between Autogrill and Electrolux, which led to the implementation of new hot plates in 120 stores in Italy. The new devices produced a certified 30% energy saving.

In the last two years the Italian Network registered a growth in the use of energy from renewable sources. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the Mensa di Ravenna stores, certified with Energy Class A and equipped with a geothermal energy system, and the stores of Viverone Nord and Viverone Sud (on the A5 highway, connecting Ivrea to Santhià), which also use a geothermal system. The growing use of next generation technology has led to having over 200 stores equipped with a centralized energy telemanagement system (connected to equipment and plants), which also permits the additional improvement and regulation of consumption through corrective actions. These locations will be joined by those currently on the drawing board or newly opened. In this regard, the Brembo store (Milan–Bergamo A4 highway) features an air ventilation system that achieves high levels of energy efficiency. Lastly, the majority of the stores in Italy currently utilize methane-fired equipment. approximately 110 stores located on the highways, where the connection to methane pipelines is not possible, are currently turning to LPG (instead of diesel oil) in order to reduce their carbon footprint.


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Automatic detection sensors, technologically advanced mixers and experimental mechanical systems are just a few of the solutions adopted by Autogrill to protect a precious asset like water.

Autogrill’s water requirements are met by the municipal waterworks. Water is used for the operation of toilets, kitchen activities and the firefighting system. Locations far from the municipal waterworks network are supplied with water drawn from wells and/or surface water, while water drainage is compliant with the applicable Italian national and local regulations.

In the countries in which Autogrill operates, a trend is increasingly emerging in relation to the use of equipment that automatically regulates the flow of water from the toilets and kitchen, so as to ensure the least amount of water going to waste. In recent years, automatic detection sensors, two-way water taps and water-free WCs have been installed to optimize water consumption. In addition, in all locations the steady flow of water from the urinals and the toilets was eliminated and air/water mixer valves have been installed.

Today, some Group stores use rainwater for the toilets, where the largest quantity of water is normally used, while a self-cleaning system has been installed in the WCs, which replaced the traditional water-based one. The test made for the implementation of special specific experimental systems for the urinals to limit the consumption of water proved successful in Italy and Spain, and in 2011 these will also be implemented in other stores currently being renovated.


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Important signals are coming from waste differentiation: lower energy consumption, lower material waste, less atmospheric and environmental pollution.

Eco-friendly engagement is also reflected in the management of waste, maybe one of the toughest issues to manage within the concept of ecosustainability. In all the stores and business sectors, Autogrill Group has introduced waste differentiation according to the criteria envisaged by the local and Italian national regulations in force, or as specified by the concession holders. For instance, with reference to the stores in Italy, where the municipal companies do not provide pick-up, Autogrill relies on private contractors to collect and manage the different types of waste.

34.3% waste differentiation in the first semester of 2010

48.5% waste differentiation in the second semester of 2010, including the new stores involved after the launch of the “Destination Environment” project

The production of waste in the Autogrill stores involves both the phase of product preparation and the phase regarding service delivery. In the Food & Beverage sector, food supplies produce waste and packaging that must be disposed of. When services are delivered, food waste is produced and possibly waste from single-use dishwashers.
In the Retail sector, waste is mainly derived from product packaging, so much so that Autogrill opened a round table with its commercial partners with the aim of reducing packaging, optimizing the consumption of cardboard and the volume of packaging during transportation and in the warehouse.

The Group promoted multiple initiatives on the Sales Network, involving both concession holders (highway companies, airport companies, etc.) and other commercial partners. These initiatives are aimed at promoting the development of waste differentiation programs and optimizing the use of materials in the operating activities performed by store personnel. Whenever possible, compacters are installed to reduce the dimensions of waste paper and paperboard, which are then picked up by the public service companies or consortia locally entrusted with material pick-up

At the European level (France, Belgium, Austria and Italy) an increasing number of locations differentiate waste like oils, plastic and paper and, where possible, also recycle plastic, glass and used batteries from consumers. In France, PET is differentiated and in the “Carrousel du Louvre” store, thanks to the partnership with Coca–Cola Company, machinery has been implemented to separate and collect PET bottles and cans. In Austria, some stores bring waste to the waste-toenergy plant, a plant that burns waste to generate energy for households and public transport in the main cities. In the Group’s central offices, in Milan (ATG Italia), Bethesda (HMSHost) and London (WDF), waste collection is differentiated. According to the agreement established with the companies specialized in local waste collection and disposal, the following materials are separated from the undifferentiated portion: paper, plastics, glass, cans and printer toners. Since July 2010, the Milan headquarters enhanced waste differentiation through more effective employee involvement. Waste types, disposed of through the municipal service, are collected from the offices and the staff canteen. Everybody’s commitment resulted in the attainment of remarkable results: a 39% drop in undifferentiated waste and a 14% growth in the volume of recycling materials.

Autogrill Italia collaborates with the main specialized waste management operators for the management of the service that collects waste from the stores located on the highways, which are not always covered by the municipal services.
The agreement includes the collection of waste in a deferred way, meaning that waste is first collected from the store undifferentiated, except for paper and paperboard, and then brought to a selection–treatment plant, where it is separated. Compostable material is collected separately from other waste in only approximately twenty stores located on the highways.

The areas equipped with top notch technology Autogrill has equipped some stores in Italy (including, among others, Mensa di Ravenna, certified as Energy Class A; Viverone Est and Viverone Ovest) with geothermal plants, a solution that cuts energy consumption by 30%. In the Dorno, Brembo and Brianza Sud stores, methane-fired trigeneration plants have been installed for the cogeneration of thermal and refrigeration energy. In the store of Dorno a meter has also been installed to monitor CO2 emissions and measure the performance of the cogeneration plant.

In Italy, along with the initiatives of past years aimed at optimizing packaging – like the initiative for the different Spizzico packaging, a new initiative was launched in 2010 in relation to the sugar packets distributed in the stores. This initiative permitted a reduction in the size of the bags and, consequently, the quantity of raw materials needed to manufacture the bags, with a 8.5% reduction in the amount of paper used, which, given the current consumption data (over 161 million sugar packets, including refined sugar and cane sugar), corresponds to approximately 4 tons/year of paper saved.

In the Travel Retail sector, waste is mainly generated by product packaging. The Group companies operating in the Retail sector launched a round table discussion with their commercial partners with the purpose of reducing packaging in order to optimize the use of paper/ paperboard and the volume of the packaged products during transportation and in the warehouse. In the UK, there is a great emphasis on reducing waste from recycling, by specifically focusing on recycling itself. World Duty Free is committed to favoring a reduction in the use of packaging in its stores and concurrently raising supplier awareness to produce packaging with less volume. Waste produced by World Duty Free in 2010 amounted to 1,092 tons, 1,060 tons of which (97%) were recycled, with the remaining 32 tons (3%) brought to landfills. 2010 data also confirmed the Company’s engagement in reducing the impact of its activities on the environment. A major step forward, considering that in 2005, when the project was started, data indicated that 85% of waste produced was recycled and 15% was brought to landfills.

Figures show that we are on the right track. On the basis of the data supplied by a US company, leader in the sector of data and information management and protection, HMSHost estimated savings resulting from the differentiation of paper used in the main offices of Bethesda equals approximately 10 tons. Employees’ engagement saved the equivalent of 166 trees; 39,989 kWh of electricity, 16,985 liters of crude oil and less impact on the air as well as less waste dumped in landfills.


In the offices of Autogrill Milanofiori, several refrigeration plants have been installed, which use gases that are potentially hazardous for the ozone layer and global warming. In collaboration with specialized engineers and in full compliance with the currently applicable regulations, ongoing actions of plant maintenance/monitoring are being carried out. Gas recovery from the plants is performed in accordance with international standards and under safe conditions for human health and the environment. In all the stores located in Italy, all plants containing potentially toxic gases for the ozone layer or that may increase the greenhouse effect are registered and managed according to specific maintenance standards by Global Service, a company specialized in plant maintenance. Any maintenance activity is registered in specific logbooks, with an indication of the plant specifications and activities performed. Based on the results of the relevant feasibility studies, the replacement of the gases hazardous for the ozone layer and contained in the refrigerating plants (refrigerators and air ventilation) is periodically assessed in correspondence with store restyling.


Autogrill Group defined its own Car Policy with the objective of maintaining a car park managed according to sustainable principles and, as a result, reducing atmospheric emissions, yet with the same car comfort, safety and performance levels.
A first step in this virtuous process was the setting of a cap for CO2 emissions at 160 g/km per car (257 g/mile). Moreover, in order to ensure high safety standards, all vehicles must be equipped with the main safety tools: electronic stability control (ESC), fog lamps, driver, passenger and side airbags and speakerphone kit.
For this purpose Autogrill Italia established a collaboration with the monthly magazine Quattro Ruote to support the “10x10” campaign. Italy’s largest companies combined together to fight against CO2 in order to reduce CO2 emissions generated by corporate car parks.
Autogrill also decided to include four hybrid cars in its car park, which employees operating from the Milan offices use for business purposes. HMSHost also has a hybrid car at the Oakland airport.
Autogrill Group has implemented a series of initiatives in the field of transport logistics with the same objective of reducing its carbon footprint. These initiatives include optimizing the number of weekly deliveries of supplies to the stores and the routes driven to deliver the goods, by privileging delivery to locations not too far from one another. At the European level, logistics delivery and distribution services to the stores are mainly accomplished through road transport. These services are outsourced to specialized companies whose number varies according to production peaks. The same companies are responsible for the maintenance of the car park.
Some Group companies – like Autogrill Italia and World Duty Free – accompany these initiatives with a gradual replacement of the old vehicles with new models that generate lower emissions. Also noteworthy is the special attention paid by the carrier used by Autogrill Italia, which, in addition to periodically renewing its car park pursuant to the euro 5 regulation, in order to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, has also set up a distribution station for a special urea-based additive that further reduces polluting emissions at its warehouse in Pieve Emanuele (Milan).

Car park characteristics broken down by business sectors

Total no. of cars
No. cars
(>160 g/km)
No. cars
(<160 g/km)
% car
(>160 g/km)
% car
(<160 g/km)
Food & Beverage Sector (Belgium,France, Italy, Holland, Spain, Switzerland) 385 67 318 17% 83%
Travel Retail & Duty–Free (Aldeasa and World Duty Free)
60 26 34 43% 57%
Food & Beverage Sector (Belgium, France, Italy, Holland, Spain, Switzerland) 380 121 259 32% 68%
Travel Retail & Duty–Free (Aldeasa and World Duty Free)Duty Free) 74 33 41 45% 55%