EuroCommerce, the body that represents retailers and wholesalers in Europe, organised the first edition of the Future of European Commerce awards in Brussels, Belgium.
Entries for the awards were evaluated by an independent jury of seven, made up of representatives from NGOs, the media, the European Commission, and the European Parliament.
It comprised of Dita Charanzová, Vice-President of the European Parliament; Christophe Leclercq, Founder of EurActiv; Juan Manuel Morales, President EuroCommerce; André Sobczak, Secretary General, Eurocities; Ester Asin Martinez, Director, WWF European Policy Office; Kristin Schreiber, Director, DG Grow, European Commission and Monique Goyens, Director General, BEUC.
SPAR Austria was selected for its transformation initiative, ‘Fruit and Vegetables 3 Days Fresher’, which has revolutionised planning, sourcing and delivery processes.
Powered by AI, the project involves 160 experts in IT, process management, assortment and quality assurance.
Elsewhere, REWE’s Pick&Go was recognised for redefining grocery retailing with automated checkouts that allow customers to register, make their purchases and leave the shop without scanning their products.
In the skills category, Jerónimo Martins walked away with the honour for its Portuguese Incluir programme, which promotes the employability of marginalised groups – including people with disabilities, those at social risk, migrants and refugees.
It seeks to tackle regional disparities, encourages collaboration with NGOs, and focuses on transparency by supporting 119 community projects that benefit more than half a million Bulgarians.
The Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism was recognised for community engagement as it played a key role in providing humanitarian aid to more than 50,000 refugees in the country in the first month after Russia invaded Ukraine. It supported Ukrainian employees and facilitated training and access to employment for refugees.
'Turning Challenges Into Opportunities'
"The award winners are a source of inspiration to us all and great examples for successfully turning challenges into opportunities," said Juan Manuel Morales, the president of EuroCommerce.
"Against the backdrop of the climate and energy crisis, war on Europe’s borders, and inflation, the 50 projects put forward for the awards demonstrate our sector’s commitment towards positive change," Morales added.