Reaching our Single-Use Plastic Free target
Monday 27 February 2023
As part of our environmental commitments under UniCredit Unlocked, we set ourselves the ambitious target of becoming a plastic-free bank. Today, thanks to the efforts of all employees across the Group, we are proud to say we achieved our goal ahead of schedule. Read our Q&A with Salvatore Greco, Head of Group Real Estate, to find out more.
So, Salvatore, UniCredit is now a single-use plastic-free bank – tell us a little about this initiative!
"It gives me great pleasure to announce that UniCredit has hit its zero plastic targets across each of our locations. The ambition to become a single-use plastic-free bank is something we committed to under UniCredit Unlocked.
We have eliminated single-use plastic from products offered in more than 300 drink vending machines, 1,100 coffee machines and over 60 canteens and cafeterias – with all bottles, crockery, cups and spoons replaced with re-usable or disposable alternatives. The result is a more sustainable workplace, a positive environmental impact and increased awareness around what is a critical topic, which also feeds into our journey towards a circular economy."
How did you set about reaching this target? What does it mean in practice?
"It was of course a challenging journey, monitored at central level but implemented thanks to the strong efforts of all our local colleagues and providers. Every country worked hard towards a plastic-free future, but naturally approached the project in different ways. We met our targets ahead of schedule, before our self-imposed deadline."
All countries found the best solutions fitting their market availability, providers’ agreements, and local nuances – all reaching the 100% single-use plastic-free target by 1 January 2023, as announced during UniCredit Unlocked presentation."
Congratulations, so what’s next, what are the next ‘sustainable’ challenges in this area?
"We must keep up momentum, making sure our plastic-free commitments stay in the spotlight – even for those products where it has been a little trickier so far.
At the same time, we continue to progressively reduce the ecological footprint of our activities, especially in sectors that have a considerable impact on the environment and biodiversity.
For example, we are optimizing our processes around waste management – creating designated areas across our premises as done in Italy and Serbia or fostering awareness around correct waste disposal as in Austria, Croatia and Slovenia, or limiting waste by introducing the deposit return system as done in Germany."
And at a broader level, what does ESG mean to UniCredit Group Real Estate?
"ESG is not simply an abstract concept for us: we embed it in all our activities, from space and energy efficiency measures to green mobility and agile ways of working, from well-being and accessible workplace to sustainable energy procurement. And what’s more, our GHG emissions are decreasing in line with net zero targets.
Perhaps it’s worth touching on two of last year’s strategic initiatives.
We are the first bank in Europe to obtain Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) scoring on its corporate real estate portfolio. Moreover, we were among the first movers in European financial services and the first bank in Italy to sign a corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) to supply the energy demand of our core data centres in Italy from three new solar plants that guarantee full additionality to the national electricity grid in Italy."
Discover more about our ESG & Sustainability commitments here