ROME – Protection of resources, sustainable development, promotion of employment opportunities and the continuous improvement of flexibility, security and quality of work standards are the objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding signed on the 28th of January by the Sanpellegrino Group, a leader in the mineral water sector, with the trade unions. The aim is to orient the development of the mineral water sector toward economic, social and environmental sustainability, areas in which the company is a sector pioneer, having already reduced total volumes of water used in the production processes by 24.5%, electricity consumption by 24.3%, the use of PET by 10.16% and taken 15,475 lorries off the road by choosing to switch to rail transportation.
The Memorandum of Understanding
The agreement signed today in Rome by Stefano Agostini, President and CEO of the Sanpellegrino Group, Giorgio Galbusera, National Coordinator FAI CISL (Italian Confederation of Trade Unions), Mauro Macchiesi, National Secretary FLAI CGIL (Italian General Confederation of Labour) and Pietro Pellegrini, National Secretary UILA UIL (Italian Labour Union), in the presence of Giuliano Poletti, Minister of Labour and Social Policies, aims to promote the protection of sources and increase employment opportunities and the development of the mineral water sector, an important industry for the country's economy and Italian exports worldwide. The Memorandum of Understanding ratifies the commitment assumed by the Sanpellegrino Group and the union representatives with the supplementary agreement signed on the 8th of May 2015, establishing ten objectives to be pursued jointly to sustain and enhance the mineral water sector.
The document underlines, above all, the will to safeguard the sources and the surrounding territories to which the safety and essence of the mineral water are tied. It is a product with properties that derive from the place where the water forms and flows that is, and must always be, pure at source.
There is, in addition, a commitment to promote consumer awareness of the value of mineral water, with its organoleptic and hygiene properties that contribute to people’s health and well-being.
The importance of the mineral water sector
The increasing of employment opportunities and development of an important and virtuoso sector of the country's economy and of Italian exports worldwide is the focus of the agreement, which encourages the adoption of the highest standards of safety and quality of work and the dissemination of best practices geared to employment opportunities and the economic and social development of the territories where the sources are located.
The great care taken by the company regarding the continuous improvement of the health and safety of the workers, together with the fruitful collaboration with the trade unions, has led over the years to a reduction in accidents, as is confirmed by the INAIL (National Institute for Insurance against Labour Accidents) data which show a frequency of accidents in the mineral water sector 3 or 4 times lower than that recorded by the food industry with a further reduction of 25% in the three-year period 2011-2014. The ability to create synergies and encourage constructive dialogue between the group and trade union representatives has led to the adoption of flexible contracts for seasonal workers with consequent stability of wages and social security contributions, and at the same time allowing modifications to the hours worked over the course of the year in order to meet the needs of the company's production cycle.
Focus on sustainable development
The Memorandum of Understanding also supports the implementation of policies for sustainable development aimed at promoting a reduction in the environmental impact of the activities of the entire supply chain. Sanpellegrino has already managed to achieve important results with extensive research activities and a big push toward innovation, which will be further consolidated with the good practices promoted by the agreement, guiding the development of the sector. In fact, between 2008 and 2014, the Group reduced total volumes of water used in productive processes by 24.5%, decreased consumption of electric power by 24.3% which is now derived entirely from renewable sources and lowered the use of PET by 10.16%, equivalent to 5,853 tonnes. The commitment of Sanpellegrino to protecting the environment is also expressed through their choice to transport products by rail, moving about 402 thousand tonnes of goods by train in 2013 alone, avoiding the emission of over 18,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and taking 15,475 lorries off the road.
The agreement with the trade unions
The agreement with the trade unions foresees the highest levels of sharing of Sanpellegrino investment policies, in order to reconcile the needs of environmental sustainability and economic development, as evidenced by the Castrocielo plant’s industrial project, which will become the prototype for future factories and a model for the entire sector, especially in terms of energy savings, exclusive use of green power and completely recyclable packaging.
“This agreement,” underlined Giuliano Poletti, Minister of Labour and Social Policies, “represents another aspect of industrial relations inspired by collaboration on aspects essential to development of the company's activities. In particular, the specific commitment to share the investment policies within the context of increasing employment opportunities, of focusing on safety and the quality of work and support of sustainable development policies, make this agreement a positive example of sharing the more advanced models of relationships in terms of participation and innovation with companies and employees.”
“The Memorandum of Understanding signed today with the trade unions,” stated Stefano Agostini, President and CEO of the Sanpellegrino Group, “represents a point of reference for the entire mineral water sector and constitutes a concrete example of how creating synergies is the key to constructing a winning model, capable of supporting the growth of the country and of Italian exports worldwide. The ten objectives of this agreement are the tangible result of creating shared value, reconciling business and society and enhancing the bond between the economic system and the communities in which the company operates.”
“We are pleased to have achieved this result together with Sanpellegrino, a company with correct working conditions for employees from a regulatory, contractual and health and safety point of view, both in terms of the materials used for bottling, which are sustainable and 100% recyclable, and in the attention given to the environmental impact of transportation. Giorgio Galbusera, National Coordinator FAI CISL, Mauro Macchiesi, National Secretary FLAI CGIL and Pietro Pellegrini, National Secretary UILA UIL stated that, “The aspect of this Memorandum that we would like to highlight is the promotion of labour, an element of great importance for the industry considering the delicacy of industrial bottling activities, requiring the development of professional skills and the local spin-off industries that support the company.”
by Prisca Peroni