Studenac market organized a cleanup day that removed 40 cubic meters of waste from the sea floor on the country's Adriatic coast, part of a sustainability program at Croatia’s largest retail chain by number of stores.
Fifty Studenac employees joined members of the Mihurić Diving Center in Crikvenica for the fourth time to remove plastic, metal, rubber, glass and other types of waste from Slana Bay. The series of events, part of the company's One Step Closer to Nature environmental protection initiative, has engaged a total of almost 120 employees and more than 150 divers, cleaning up more than 140 cubic meters of waste. That’s enough to fill an apartment of more than 55 square meters from floor to ceiling.
“Today's event gathered a record number of employees, which shows how our environmental commitments aren't just words – they're actions that our entire team is committed to,” said Studenac Marketing Director Nina Mimica. “We’re supporting the communities that are home to our stores by restoring the sea to its natural state, and we hope to send a message that inspires others to care for nature in their local surroundings.”
Photo - Studenac
In addition to its harmful effect on marine life, plastic waste in the Adriatic Sea is a threat to the tourism-based economies of the cities and towns on its shores.
"The problem of submarine and coastal pollution is a growing problem for our community,” said Marijana Biondić, director of the Tourist Board of the City of Crikvenica. “The clean and blue Adriatic is equally important to the local population and to the tourists for whom a clean sea is often one of the most important items when choosing a summer destination.”
In addition to the cleanup campaign, the retail chain is working to shrink the environmental footprint from its own operations. Studenac, owned since 2018 by private-equity fund Enterprise Investors, is implementing a series of environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives as it expands nationwide from its base in the coastal region of Dalmatia. The company uses 100% renewable energy to power its network of 750 stores, and is also striving to reduce the amount of energy it uses.
Photo - Studenac
One Step Closer to Nature seeks to pursue the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which include conserving and sustainably using marine resources, in part by reducing pollution – especially from land-based activities. Studenac also uses the Goals in designing its other ESG initiatives, including a financial literacy program for children.
“As a coastal community, we witness the consequences of maritime pollution every single day,” said Crikvenica Mayor Damir Rukavina. “The city of Crikvenica is extremely grateful that Studenac, as part of its social responsibility project, has recognized our underwater world as an area worth cleaning up.”