Biodiversity Pills, says Federica Tommasi: ABB’s Corporate Communication Specialist

The ABB Group, a global technology leader in the fields of energy and industry, during the first half of 2022 participated in AWorld, a UN-sponsored app that aims to raise awareness of sustainability issues. Within the app, a community aimed at the company’s employees called ‘ABB people’ was introduced, involving more than 380 employees in the challenge to save 100 tonnes of CO2 in four months. Thanks to the commitment and proactivity of all participants, the team not only achieved but far exceeded the target, saving more than 167 tonnes of CO2, which is the equivalent of the CO2 consumed by a petrol car for 650,000 km, the equivalent of 16 times the circumference of the earth.

I: What are the corporate and sustainable values on which ABB is founded and what are examples of everyday actions that can be taken in a company like ABB in order to achieve your goals?

F: Sustainability is strongly integrated in everything we do at ABB and above all envisaging a more sustainable society is a goal we have set ourselves for almost 30 years. Currently there are 3 pillars we are focusing on: reducing CO2 emissions, preserving resources and promoting social progress. At ABB Italy, we work every day to pursue these goals, not only through our technologies that help both us and our customers to be more energy efficient and reduce emissions, but also through internal and external policies aimed at supporting the communities in which we operate and raising awareness on this now essential issue.

I: How did the idea of giving the adoption of 125 beehives as a company prize come about?

F: The idea came from the desire to support the communities in which we operate with valuable projects that have a positive impact on the surrounding environment. The 125 beehives we have adopted are in fact spread throughout the areas where we have our offices or production facilities, from here in the Milan area to Lucca, Vicenza, Frosinone, Turin, Genoa and many others.

I: How did you get to know the Beeing company and their adoption programme?

F: The partnership with Beeing is the conclusion of an internal ABB activity aimed at raising awareness of sustainability issues. We have in fact created an ABB People team, within the AWorld app, sponsored by the United Nations, which, through the adoption of virtuous behaviour by users, aims to raise awareness and promote a more sustainable lifestyle. A path of play and education that, through a total of 66,719 actions carried out and adopted, led to the achievement of 165,000 kg of CO2 saved, and the creation of an ABB apiary. We did a research about bee association projects with companies and we liked your proposals very much in line with our values and also with the locations where we are in Italy, so here we are!

I: Has the initiative of a points challenge to reach these goals stimulated employees to take action to protect the environment?

F: Surely if we have saved so much CO2 in these months, the equivalent of 16 times the circumference of the earth with a petrol car, it is thanks to all the colleagues who took action to reach the goal and thus start our collaboration with you, to further protect the environment in which we live.

I: The community idea is a very nice idea, both from the point of view of environmental challenge and from a professional point of view, has this project involved ABB employees actively from the outset? Or did you encounter any stumbling blocks?

F: Thank you! I would say yes! We initially set the target, and thus the partnership with you, at 50,000 kg of CO2. In just one month, thanks to the actions and habits of our colleagues, we exceeded it by far, so we wanted to raise the bar. It was great to see how colleagues were engaged and interested in this project and how this challenge turned into a way to train and incentivise people to be more sustainable in their daily sphere.

I: On the basis of which criteria were the 5 pathways for environmental protection chosen?

F: Based on our Sustainability Strategy 2030, we have activated 5 routes related to sustainable mobility, circular economy, waste, energy efficiency and kindness & gratitude. Over 1598 episodes have been completed and this makes us realise how much people have grasped the spirit not only of challenge but also of education inherent in the project.

I: What aspect of bee life do you think could be an example for a company?

F: Surely the idea that without bees we would not have the biodiversity we have now and that over 70 per cent of plant species would not exist, leads us to see them as something to be protected every day. The similarity I see is in the industriousness. Just as bees work hard every day to guarantee us the ecosystem we have now, we work hard every day to try not to alter it and to improve a situation that is now very critical.

I: What are your future goals?

Our goals are very ambitious! We are working to have a safer, smarter and more sustainable world by 2030. Among the goals: to achieve carbon neutrality in all our activities globally, to make 80% of our products and solutions have a circular approach throughout their life cycle and to reach 25% of women in management positions.

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