We expect to develop guidelines to facilitate the involvement of citizens in actions aimed at supermarkets in the city, increasing sensibility on environmental, economic, and social sustainability issues. – Interview with the Municipality of Padova
Giovanni Vicentini, technical officer from the Municipality of Padova’s Environment and Territory Department, is responsible for the design and implementation of the SUPER-HEERO pilot case study in Padova and for the definition of a strategy for supermarket customer awareness-raising in energy, environmental and social topics. He speaks on this interview about their main role in the SUPER-HEERO project, their expectations and the work they will carry out on the engagement of Italian supermarkets as pilot sites.
Q. What are your expectations from the SUPER-HEERO project?
A. The issue of the energy refurbishment of commercial buildings and of supermarkets has always remained a residual aspect compared to other types of buildings. The activity of the Municipality has always focused on residential and public buildings. Through this project, the Municipality wants to identify and experiment with new solutions to promote energy efficiency actions and the production of energy from renewable sources in the Large-scale Distribution sector. Considering the total amount of CO2 emissions, tertiary buildings represent almost one fifth. It is crucial to involve the stakeholders to help them in defining a clear path towards sustainability.
Q. What is the main role of the Municipality of Padova in SUPER-HEERO?
A. The Municipality of Padova has a long-standing and strong experience in participatory processes, which has been conducting for over twenty years as part of the Local Agenda21 process. Within the SUPER-HEERO project, we expect to develop guidelines to facilitate the involvement of citizens in actions aimed at supermarkets in the city, increasing sensibility on environmental, economic, and social sustainability issues. New communication and information tools will be developed to connect supermarkets and their customers, with the aim of creating local communities that promote locally virtuous actions.
Q. Can you talk a bit about the work you are planning to do on the engagement of Italian supermarkets as pilot sites?
A. The Municipality started a recruitment campaign in the summer of 2020, involving all supermarkets with at least 1 store in the City. In September 2020, supermarkets that expressed an interest in the project and its purposes (five supermarkets representing over 40 stores in Padova and many others at regional level) were invited to a workshop and had the opportunity to present their experience on the issue of energy refurbishment. Many of them appointed an energy manager who follows environmental issues. In these cases, the interaction is very facilitated. The Municipality presented the project and the services that can be offered, highlighting the technical and dissemination advantages that participation in the project could have guaranteed. In autumn 2020, a questionnaire was prepared to understand more precisely on which aspects to focus the collaboration. A memorandum of understanding is being signed; the protocol aims to define the commitments and the objectives of cooperation. In 2021, the practical part of the project will come to life, with the direct involvement of supermarkets, the analysis of data and the launch of pilot actions.
Q. What do you think will be the main outcomes of the SUPER-HEERO project?
A. The Municipality of Padova would like to create a replicable scheme and model to implement it in other supermarkets and other commercial activities in the area. The project is one of the main tools included in the SECAP (Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan) to reduce the energy consumption of the sector. The activation of collaboration paths between supermarkets and citizens can also result in a new model of local development based on neighborhood services, from the establishment of new energy communities to the provision of tools to encourage virtuous behaviors (charging points for electric cars, eco-compactors, distributors of tap water, etc.). Finally, the main ambition of the Municipality is to continue the awareness campaign, broadening the perspective to “green” purchases and the life cycle of products.