The Czech Republic reacted swiftly to the Russian invasion of Ukraine by taking in half a million refugees. The Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism played a key role in providing humanitarian aid, supporting Ukrainian employees and facilitating training and employment for refugees. It coordinated a refugee aid centre in Prague, supplying basic necessities and contributing to the logistics of aid to Ukraine in collaboration with NGOs. The retail sector was united in its solidarity with Ukraine, demonstrating a strong community response.
Category: Digitalisation - winners
SPAR Austria group
SPAR’s transformation initiative, ‘Fruit and Vegetables 3 Days Fresher’, involved 160 experts in IT, process management, assortment and quality assurance. Powered by AI, the project has revolutionised planning, sourcing and delivery processes. With an impressive 90% accuracy in forecasting sales volumes, SPAR has been able to respond effectively to customer demands while significantly reducing food waste. This success highlights the impactful synergy of technology and strategic optimisation in the retail sector.
REWE’s Pick&Go redefines grocery retailing with seamless, automated checkouts. Customers register, make their purchases and leave the shop, thanks to cutting-edge camera and sensor technology that tracks purchases. The system, based on artificial vision and machine learning, eliminates queues and reading problems. REWE envisages digital twin shops for increased automation, focusing on customer interaction and creating new jobs. Crucially, Pick&Go prioritises data protection, fully complying with GDPR and working closely with the authorities to ensure privacy is respected.
Jerónimo Martins Group
The Portuguese Incluir programme, launched in 2015, promotes the employability of marginalised groups – people with disabilities, social risks, migrants and refugees. With over a decade of impact, it has created more than 1,100 opportunities, with a focus on diversity as a team asset. The programme, a social innovation project, is continually evolving through piloting and scaling, engaging over 100 partnerships in social inclusion. Recognised by the IEFP, its commitment to inclusion is underlined by the Inclusive Employer Brand award, which will be renewed in 2023. The programme is a beacon for promoting a more inclusive labour market.
Lidl Bulgaria’s “You and Lidl” initiative, launched in 2017 with funding of almost EUR 470,000, supports 119 community projects benefiting more than half a million Bulgarians. Tackling regional disparities, it collaborates with NGOs, with a focus on transparency. Evolving into “You and Lidl for Better Tomorrow” in 2023, it focuses on sustainability, active lifestyles, education, diversity and inclusiveness across five thematic categories, contributing to a brighter European future.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all applicants for their outstanding project submissions. While not everyone could claim victory, your innovative contributions showcased the transformative spirit of European commerce. We appreciate your dedication to shaping the future of our industry.
Thank you for your commitment and enthusiasm. Although this edition has concluded, we look forward to seeing you again in the next edition.
What are the Future of European Commerce Awards?
To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we are organising the first-ever Future of European Commerce Awards, identifying Europe’s retail and wholesale innovation in the fields of sustainability, digitalisation, community outreach and skills.
Award winners will showcase cutting edge developments in retail and wholesale that illustrate the sector’s transformation and its engagement with local communities.
The award ceremony is accesible via personal invitation only.
Category: Community engagement
The Community Engagement category acknowledges initiatives fostering community support, education, and diversity & inclusion. Recognised projects include those aiding local business development, supporting consumers during economic challenges, and highlighting the crucial role of retailers and wholesalers in both rural and urban settings. These efforts strengthen communities and promote inclusivity and economic resilience.
Jeronimo Martins Polska
Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism
The Digitalisation category recognises initiatives enhancing digital processes and consumer access to products and information. This includes projects improving omnichannel presence, automation, AI utilisation, and IT modernisation. These efforts create efficiency gains for consumers and organisations alike, optimising processes and maximising accessibility.
SPAR Austria group
The Skills category honors initiatives promoting workforce development, inclusivity, and entrepreneurship. Recognised efforts include upskilling, reskilling, diversity, and inclusion projects, fostering a skilled and equitable workplace.
Finnish Commerce Federation
Jerónimo Martins Group
Leroy Merlin Italia
The Sustainability category honours projects that reduce environmental impact and promote sustainability within their operations and value chain. This includes initiatives aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals, circularity efforts, waste reduction, and empowering customers with sustainable choices like repair services, take-back programs, and eco-design options.
Jerónimo Martins Polska
IKEA Retail Services AB
Juan Manuel Morales
Juan Manuel Morales has been elected president of EuroCommerce in June 2021 for a period of three years. He is managing director of IFA, a leading retail group in Southern Europe, with more than 130,000 employees and 11,000 stores operated by its affiliates across Spain, Portugal, and Italy. Morales’ whole career has been with the consumer goods industry, spanning 30 years within both retail and food and drink manufacturers in Spain, Portugal, Poland and the Baltics: before joining IFA in 2011, he held commercial, general management, and president positions in Grupo Osborne, The Coca-Cola company, and Nielsen.
Juan Manuel is also Vice-President of our member association ASEDAS, member of the executive committee of the Spanish business and employers’ federation CEOE, and board member of AECOC, the Spanish GS1 association.
He has a degree in Economics and Business from the Complutense University of Madrid and an Executive MBA from the IESE Business School. He speaks Spanish, Portuguese, English and Italian. Juan Manuel is married, has two children, and is passionate about football and golf.
European Parliament / Renew
Dita Charanzová is a Vice President of the European Parliament. Elected first in 2014, she is serving her second mandate. Ms Charanzová completed a doctorate degree from the University of Economics, Prague, and graduated from the Diplomatic Academy in Madrid. She is a former diplomat, whose postings included the Czech Permanent Representation to the EU during the Czech Presidency. She has also worked at the Council of Europe.
In the European Parliament Ms Charanzová is the Renew Europe rapporteur for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and a member in the International Trade Committee.
André Sobczak works to empower cities in EU decision making through Eurocities. He spent 20 years as a manager and impact-oriented academic, as well as serving two terms as Vice-President of the Nantes Metropolitan Area for European Affairs, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Employment. His positions in Audencia Business School have included Positive Impact Chair and Chief Executive for Corporate Social Responsibility, experience which he is harnessing to strengthen training activities and create strong ties with academia through a new Eurocities Academy. In local politics, he worked to coordinate the metropolitan area’s 24 mayors, as well as representing Nantes in Eurocities’ Executive Committee and as Chair of the network’s Economic Development Forum.
He has worked tirelessly to reinforce and communicate a virtuous circle between economic development and social and environmental goals. On the one hand, he has coached companies to improve their business plans and management to this end; On the other, he has spearheaded initiatives like #NegoTrainig, which gives women free training in wage negotiation, and ‘Fairwork,’ a monitor for working conditions in the platform economy. He leads with an approach of multi-level cooperation between the public sector, businesses and civil society for tangible positive impact.
As Director General of BEUC, Monique represents 45 national consumer associations in 31 European countries, acting as a strong consumer voice in Brussels, ensuring that consumer interests are given weight in the development of policies.
Monique is a member of the Euro Retail Payments Board, as well as of the European Commission’s Consumer Policy Advisory Group,
Monique is Co-Chair of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) a network of EU and US consumer organisations.
European Commission / DG Grow
Kristin Schreiber leads the Directorate Ecosystems I: Chemicals, Food, Retail, Health in DG GROW, the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission.
After obtaining the Diplôme de l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (with a special focus on International Relations, Economics and European Law), a Master’s degree from the University of Kent at Canterbury and the Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies of the College of Europe in Bruges, she worked as a Graduate Lecturer at the University of Kent in Canterbury and a researcher on the Single Market in Bonn. Kristin Schreiber joined the European Commission in 1990 and was appointed to her current position in March 2021 after serving as Director for Governance of the Single Market and International Affairs in DG Internal Market (until 2015) and Director for SME policy in DG GROW (until March 2021).
Previously in the European Commission, Kristin Schreiber was Head of Cabinet of Employment Commissioner Vladimir Špidla, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier and member of the Cabinets of Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen and Competition Commissioner Karel Van Miert. She also served as Head of Unit for International Affairs in the DG for Employment and Social Affairs and was a member of the Merger Task Force of DG Competition.
Kristin speaks German, French, English and Spanish, some Italian and has notions of Czech and Slovak.
Ester Asin Martinez
WWF’s European Policy Office
Ester Asin Martinez took the position of Director for WWF’s European Policy Office on 1 October 2018. A lawyer and political scientist by education, Ester has been working for civil society organisations leading their engagement with the EU for more than 20 years. Prior to joining WWF, Ester worked with a number of global and regional NGOs – Save the Children, CARE International, and the European Confederation of Development NGOs CONCORD- in leadership, senior advocacy and resources mobilisation roles. As part of her work on development, humanitarian aid and human rights, Ester set up and developed the “Aid Watch “initiative in CONCORD. She successfully lobbied to increase EU humanitarian funding for education in emergencies. She led the coalition of organisations who advocated for better protection of migrant children, which resulted in a dedicated Commission’s initiative on Children in Migration in 2017.
She has worked for the European Commission in West Africa, and started her career in Brussels with the European Consumers Organisation (BEUC).
Ester is an elected member of the Board of the Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe. She’s currently the rotating chair of the Green 10, the informal network of environment NGOs. She is a member of the Strategic Advisory Council of the French think tank IDDRI.
Ester is a Spanish national. She holds degrees in Spanish Law, a DEA (Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies) in EU Law, and an M.A. in European Political and Administrative Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges.
Christophe Leclercq is the founder of EURACTIV Media Network & Chairman of Europe’s MediaLab, plus adviser & commentator. He has recently sold his majority stake to MediaHuis, which now owns 100% of EURACTIV. He was on the EU’s High-Level Expert Group on disinformation in 2018 (leading to co-regulation of GAFAs in Europe), and now is on the Advisory Board of EDMO (European Digital Media Observatory). Mr Leclercq initiated Stars4Media, an innovation programme helping newsroom and business transformation, as well as Stars4Media-FACTCHECKING, research project on fact-checking sustainability in the East.
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