Community Engagement

Avolta places a paramount emphasis on supporting local communities in all the 73 countries where it operates, understanding that this commitment extends beyond mere corporate responsibility to become a cornerstone of our business ethos. 

Within the focus area «Engage Local Communities» Avolta has identified a very important area of commitment and action:

  • Supporting Communities Create connections with the communities we serve and contribute to the growth of local economies 

Recognizing that sustainable business practices must be intertwined with community well-being, Avolta actively engages in initiatives that foster economic development, social progress, and environmental stewardship at the local level. By championing social and environmental causes in the regions it operates, Avolta aims to generate a positive impact and a lasting legacy, demonstrating that offering support to local communities is crucial. Avolta sources close to 30 % of its retail products (by COGS) from local suppliers. Our commitment in supporting local communities globally is expressed by a diverse array of projects, each tailored to address specific needs of local communities. The support of charitable institutions and causes, as a way of giving back to society, has been inherent in the growth and evolution of Avolta since its early years. 

In this context, in 2023, a new Avolta Community Engagement Strategy was approved by the Global Executive Committee with the aim of improving further the company’s capability to generate positive impact in a subset of social and environmental themes. The Community Engagement Strategy has identified six priority areas of involvement for Avolta’s own independent initiatives – both, at Global and Regional Level – to which the company will concentrate the efforts:

  • Education for disadvantaged children & adolescents
  • Healthcare support for people with special needs
  • Support & Training for vulnerable groups
  • Fight poverty & food insecurity
  • Clean water & sanitation for communities
  • Ocean plastic cleaning 

Avolta´s help to these causes consists of direct monetary contributions, fundraising campaigns (allowing us to raise additional funds by selling charitable retail and F&B products in our stores and restaurants for the benefit of different NGOs), and in-kind donations to local charities of primary goods, like clothing, meals, and food, which will then be distributed to people in need. 

The Community Engagement Strategy provides also indications and guidelines for the indirect engagements and all those initiatives run in collaboration with concession partners and suppliers at local level. These are activities defined, managed and driven by our concession partners and/or brand partners, and where Avolta contributes to with supporting activities; e.g. airport fund-raising initiatives, where Avolta provides space for the sale of water. 

During 2023, at global, country or location level, Avolta supported over 150 nonprofit organizations and social or humanitarian initiatives, promoting cultural events and causes and actively engaging our staff through volunteer work. In total, Avolta donated over CHF 9 million, of which 18 % through direct donations, 42 % in-kind and 40 % through fundraising. 

In 2023 our corporate community initiatives, both at a company or country level, strongly focused on fighting poverty and food insecurity as well as in providing humanitarian support to populations touched by either natural disasters or socio-political crisis. Avolta took care also of disadvantaged children, young people and their families, contributing to increase their access to education and healtcare systems. In some cases, our team members have been actively engaged, by either participating in the selection of the charity initiatives or through volunteering initiatives.

Stakeholder value allocation 

Avolta contributes to the development of the economies in countries where it operates through the payment of fair and competitive salaries, taxes and the purchase of local products and services. As a way of assessing the economic impact of its business, Avolta annually discloses its stakeholder value allocation, which reflects the direct monetary impact of its operations over its main stakeholders. The stakeholder value calculation is based on Avolta’s CORE EBIT plus personnel expenses. It does not comprise values allocated to business stakeholders, such as suppliers or concession partners. 

The accrued value allocated reached CHF 3,356.3 million in fiscal year 2023. Out of this amount, CHF 2,539.3 million was allocated to our employees in form of remuneration, retirement benefits, social security payments and other personnel expenses. CHF 160.4 million were interest expenses as contributions to our bondholders and lending Donations by type Donations by thematic area Stakeholder Value Allocation 40 % Indirect 18 % Direct 48 % Fight poverty & food  insecurity 76 % Employees 12 % Retained earnings  and local partners 42 % In-kind 28 % Humanitarian support 9 % Education  for disadvantaged children 9 % Health care  support for people  with special needs 3 % Clean water & sanitation 2 % Training for vulnerable groups 1 % Other banks. Income taxes paid to public authorities and communities amounted to CHF 129.2 million in 2023, in the countries where we operate. The dividend payment, which the Board of Directors is proposing to the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders on May 15, 2024, of CHF 0.70 per registered share amounts to a total of CHF 106.8 million, and if approved by the AGM, will be paid to shareholders in May 2024.

Additionally, Avolta contributes every year to a comprehensive number of social initiatives, which are described in the Community Engagement section of the report, with the remaining amounts being carried forward. 

Supporting Communities 

“Create connections with  the communities we serve and  contribute to the growth of  local economies.” 

The initiatives and projects described below represent some of the most prominent projects we support. The progress made and the encouraging results of our ongoing support to these initiatives make us feel very proud and is an incentive to strengthen our ties with them. 

Education for disadvantaged children and adolescents SOS 

SOS Children’s Villages program in Brazil, Mexico and Kenya 

Our global collaboration with SOS Children’s Villages started several years ago in 2009 and continued also in 2023 fostering the long-standing relationship and benefitting nearly 500 infants, young children and teenagers and their families. SOS Children's Villages works towards keeping families together, provide alternative care when needed, supporting young people on their path to independence, and advocating for the rights of children. With the support of Avolta, SOS Children’s Villages improves the lives of at-risk children and families, enabling a future in the communities where SOS Children’s Villages work. During the longstanding collaboration, Avolta has also lent similar support in Morocco and Cambodia.

Captain Dufry – Avolta´s global charity initiative 

Avolta continued extending the reach of its global charity initiative, ”Captain Dufry”. Launched in 2020, Avolta sells Captain Dufry, a soft toy dog wearing a scarf and aviator hat with goggles, across Avolta stores in over 20 countries. Benefits from this initiative are donated to a global charity, which for the 2021 – 2023 period is SOS Children´s Villages. Captain Dufry is available at an accessible price and designed to be an irresistible “feel-good” purchase. This item gives our customers the perfect opportunity to buy a gift that truly makes children feel special – both their loved ones and those in need of support around the world. Beyond the financial objective pursued with Captain Dufry, this initiative also serves to increase awareness amongst Avolta’s customers of SOS Children’s Villages and their activities. To this extent, the availability of Captain Dufry in stores is complemented with in-store communication and signage to build awareness. Avolta reserves high visibility spaces across the stores where Captain Dufry is available, including dedicated sales displays and gondolas. On top of this, our customers are offered additional options to donate by using the Red By Dufry app, hence, increasing the possibilities of helping this charity initiative even more. 

Hudson Round-up program 

Since 2022, Hudson switched its previous donation collection platform to a round-up program at the point-of-sale, which allows travelers to donate the remaining change of their purchases to charities. Hudson used this new platform to support two causes throughout the year: Communities In Schools® (CIS®) and the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). Hudson was proud to continue its longstanding partnership with CIS, in the USA the largest organization dedicated to empowering students in need. Moreover, Hudson expanded its level of support for CIS, with donations benefitting both the CIS National Office and now 28 local CIS affiliates. By further investing in the affiliate network, Hudson deepened its local community involvement, while helping CIS to strengthen its academic impact on even more students and schools. Until 2023, Hudson has now raised USD 5 million for CIS over its partnership of more than a decade. With the support of Hudson, CIS has grown from serving 1.3 million students in 2008 to 1.8 million today. Additionally, 120,000 high school seniors have graduated with Communities In Schools since the partnership started. In the USA, Hudson participated in a 5 km charity run, hosted a coat and shoe drive at its New Jersey corporate office, and helped with a backto-school event, amongst other local initiatives. Moreover, throughout North America, team members participated in “Movember,” a global initiative where individuals grow moustaches and beards to raise awareness and collect donations for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health challenges.

Health care support for people with special needs

Support to Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group 

Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG), a leading children’s cancer charity, and the UK and Ireland’s professional association for those involved in the treatment and care of children with cancer, is the charity supported by our UK colleagues. A nominated charity is chosen every three years based on the votes of our UK employees, and CCLG was the chosen charity partner. 

2023 marked the second year of World Duty Free’s support for CCLG, and it was the year in which World Duty Free reached the £ 80,000 milestone, the £ 90,000 milestone, the £ 100,000 milestone, and then the £ 120,000 milestone! These incredible fundraising targets were achieved because of the various sponsorships and events that World Duty Free staff members committed to, including taking on the fastest zip line in the world, skydiving, completing sponsored walks, holding Cake Bakes, and many other successful initiatives. 

With the funds raised, CCLG were able to fund further important projects and vital research, and to release a variety of new publications, supportive care factsheets and updated information resources. These included: 

  • The newly updated publication "Coping with family life and cancer”, a practical guide for families of a child with cancer, which contains tips and advice to help newly diagnosed families cope better with the impact of cancer on their lives 
  • The new supportive care factsheets, designed to help parents, carers and families understand more about how treatment may affect their child and what they can do to support them 

Thanks to World Duty Free, these publications are given directly to families in hospital, providing expert and reliable information at a time when it’s needed the most. Childhood cancer research continues to be severely underfunded, and current treatments regimes are often reliant on outdated adult-oriented therapies which aren’t always effective for children’s cancer. Together with CCLG, World Duty Free is helping to make sure that children diagnosed with cancer have access to the kinder, more effective treatments and that their families are given reliable, helpful information as soon as their child is diagnosed. 

Support to multiple projects in Greece 

Hellenic Duty Free Shops implemented various community activities throughout the year, and for the first time included employee participation in these initiatives additionally to boost workplace engagement and motivation. This year’s initiatives included the Non Finish Line Charity Run, and the Run For The Cure with donations to Together for Children Institution and Breast Cancer Organizations respectively, as well as Deipno Agapis providing meals to homeless at the center of Athens. Main initiatives further included the support of Make-A-Wish Hellas, an organization granting wishes of children with critical illnesses to transform their lives; Galilee Palliative Care Center, which provides palliative medical and nursing care along with psychological, social and spiritual support to patients and their families, as well as the Skytali Hellenic Heart-Lung Transplant Association. Finally, Hellenic Duty Free Shops successfully supported Avolta’s fundraising initiative for SOS Children's Villages with Captain Dufry and the ONETREEPLANTED Organization. 

Support to communities in Türkiye, Syria, and Morocco 

To support people and communities impacted by the devastating earthquake in Türkiye and Syria the 6th February 2023, and in Morocco the 8th September 2023, Avolta carried out combined initiatives to assist the population living in the affected regions. To provide humaniatarian support to the affected population of Türkiye the company made a significant donation of CHF 500,000 to The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the world's largest humanitarian network. 

Equally in Morocco, Avolta contributed to the provision of humanitarian assistance and reliefs to the population of the Taroudant region and Imlol, two areas severely impacted by the earthquake. Furthermore, Avolta collaborated with the Awsatakh Association of the Douar of Tamaterte, to help the reconstruction and, in particular, to establishing a school transport system for middle school students and renovating classrooms to reopen the primary school before winter.

Support & Training for vulnerable groups 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Helping to build the future of young teenagers 

Since 1995, Avolta has been sponsoring a social promotion program in Rio de Janeiro aimed at improving the skills of young people and, hence, increasing their employability. The 20 participants of the 2023 class benefited from this program, which features free professional education to young people from communities around Galeão Airport, including various classes and education modules covering various topics and skills such as English, technology, retail operations, professional orientation, teamwork, leadership, rules of etiquette, ethics and citizenship. 

The daily classes, which run over a seven month period cover three modules and are attended by 18- to 21-yearold students of different genders, sexual orientation, nationality and ethnicity. They all receive free meals, uniforms, school and educational materials and transportation assistance. Avolta then supports participants in their first steps into professional life. Some join the Avolta team or are employed by other supportive companies, and those who do not immediately find employment are given ongoing support in finding an educational or career path. This program is also an institution amongst Avolta employees and one of the initiatives Avolta Brazil staff feel very proud of. Our staff in Brazil act as mentors to the program’s students and every year more than 60 volunteers from both Avolta and its Brazilian partners get involved. Over the 27 years that this program has run, it has proven to be a great success. Employability rates usually reach high levels and since Avolta started its collaboration, over 770 young people have benefited.

Autogrill Italia and Cometa together to support people in need 

In Italy, since 2020, Autogrill Italia works with Cometa: an association that welcomes hundreds of children, young people, educators, volunteers and professionals to offer personal and professional growth paths to young people living in difficult social conditions. The collaboration with Cometa’s social cooperative Contrada degli Artigiani resulted in various installations made by the members of the social cooperative – with the support of specialized professionals – like the large wooden barrique in the Villoresi Ovest restaurant or the artwork installed at the food court of Linate Airport. The latter, created by young people from the social cooperative under the guidance of master craftspeople, is a wall sculpture made of brass and backlit fragments of glass that represent luminous “gemstones” and recall the gothic spires over Piazza Duomo, symbol of the city of Milan.


In the UK, World Duty Free has supported HOME since 2004. HOME is a Manchester based organisation that aims to improve the lives of young people by running innovative arts projects for a range of beneficiaries across the area. It presents and produces a range of art forms including theatre, film and visual art, alongside a dynamic community engagement programme. Through our engagement with HOME, World Duty Free has helped to develop and launch HOME Young Creatives, an inspiring twelveweek arts course in Wythenshawe that involves over 100 young people aged between 12 and 18, led by experienced and knowledgeable artists. The course has been running for several years now and helps to develop and broaden young people’s skillsets and aspirations, culminating in the creation of their own work.

Fight poverty & food insecurity 

HMSHost Foundation 

Through HMSHost Foundation, the company helps local North American communities by donating money to mission-aligned nonprofit organizations. The Foundation provides food, housing, veterans services and supports the growth and education of the workforce, including young generations, to fight poverty and improve the prosperity of the communities served. 

HMSHost Foundation directs its efforts on the basis of five pillars: 

  • Relieve hunger and promote nutritional wellness through food-related initiatives
  • Combat homelessness through access to safe housing, furnishings, clothing, and stable employment
  • Encourage the next generation through access to education and training
  • Promote financial stability through training and job placement
  • Honor veterans and their families by supporting programs that meet their needs for food, shelter, medical care, and providing job training and placement 

In 2023, HMSHost Foundation donated USD 540,000 to poverty-fighting organizations and raised – in collaboration with Hudson – nearly USD 300,000 to support the Maui Strong Fund of Hawai‘i Community Foundation, which is working tirelessly to provide financial resources for the people and places affected by the devastating Maui wildfires. Funding for the Maui Strong Fund was sourced through contributions from travelers who made purchases at Hudson travel convenience stores nationwide in the USA. Additionally, the HMSHost Foundation, partially supported by patrons donating spare change at quick-service restaurants in Kahului Airport (OGG), and participating in a round-up-for-charity initiative at HMSHost's full-service restaurants across the country, also provided a grant.

Food donations: offering support for local communities while reducing food waste 

Within the F&B sector, Avolta has a series of active partnerships with nonprofit organizations in the different regions where the company operates. Among these, in the USA, Avolta cooperates, since 2011, with Food Donation Connection (FDC) by donating surplus food to people in need through partnerships with local social service agencies. Every donor location is matched with a group of qualified charities that collect the food at scheduled days and times. FDC has worked with our operational teams to make sure the food is safe and healthy and to render the donation process more efficient and secure. Also in Italy, Avolta has been actively supporting nonprofit organizations active in combating food waste. Its most significant partnerships include those with Banco Alimentare and Pane Quotidiano, which receive surplus food and straight donations from Autogrill’s central warehouse. Since 1989, Banco Alimentare has been collecting unspoiled, non-expired food that is no longer sellable and would otherwise be thrown away. Pane Quotidiano, based in Milan, puts human dignity at the center of its activity and has been distributing food to those who need it since 1898. In 2023, around 100,000 product items – approximately 22 tons of food – were donated. Moreover, also in 2023, for every “Menù Pausa Perfetta” sold in our Italian F&B restaurants, Avolta made a donation to Banco Alimentare to support the distribution of food products to local charities. 

Clean water & sanitation for communities 

One Water – selling water bottles to provide sustainable clean water 

Since 2016, World Duty Free has collaborated with The One Foundation as a commercial supporter for the sale of the charity’s bottled water brand “One Water” in all of its UK airport stores. Over the past seven years, World Duty Free has been raising money through the sale of One Water to bring clean water, sanitation and hygiene solutions to some of the world’s poorest communities. Through the sale of One Water across World Duty Free shops an amazing £ 2.5 million in total to date have been raised, changing the lives of over 400,000 people. Together with One Water and The One Foundation, Avolta is helping to strengthen water and sanitation services across Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana and Malawi through the delivery of piped water and sanitation services and by capacity building with local utilities for better service provision. Together, the program is repairing broken water points and providing the tools and community training required to ensure the future sustainability of these pumps. 

Charity Water Project in Zurich and Basel Airports 

Avolta continued the partnership initiated in 2014 with Flughafen Zürich AG, which, under the name of “Charity Water”, raises funds for charitable causes through the sale of bottled water in the airport. For every bottle of mineral water sold at the price of CHF 2.50, which is obtained from the Adello spring in Adelboden, in the Swiss Alps, 50 centimes are donated to a charitable organization. Sozialwerk Pfarrer Sieber (Social Work Priest Sieber) is the 2023 new beneficiary of this project, for which over CHF 400,000 were raised since January 2023. The foundation strives for the greatest possible social reintegration of marginalized people. Where this is not possible due to lack of individual resources on the part of those affected, they should be able to live with the greatest possible autonomy with the support of Sozialwerk Pfarrer Sieber and be embedded in a sustainable network of relationships. 


In 2023, Avolta began its collaboration with Oceana: the largest international advocacy organization focused on ocean conservation. Through this partnership Avolta has raised funds from the sale of the reusable bags made from 100 % recycled plastic bottles. The funds were intended to Oceana's marine habitats campaign for the protection of 30 % of the marine surface, and thus of its endangered species. Besides protecting marine wildlife by reducing the impact of single-use bags, the partnership aims at increasing consumer’s awareness on the importance of simple actions benefiting the environment. The initiative has firstly involved our retail stores in Spain and will be extended in another 21 countries across all the regions where the company operates.

And a long list of other local contributions 

Support for the underprivileged is deeply rooted in our company. In addition to the main initiatives mentioned above there is a long list of causes and projects of all sizes that Avolta subsidiaries and employees support year after year. Amongst others, these include direct donations to the Prime Minister’s National Relief fund (PMNRF) in India to support disaster victims, and the support of our Armenian operation to the social program Children of Armenia Fund (COAF). The main protagonists of many of these actions are our employees, who champion the causes and promote their support through micro-donations, charity runs, bike rides, bake sales and other initiatives to support the many deserving projects. Internally we give voice to these initiatives through our internal communication platforms to recognize the effort, generate awareness and motivate other employees to develop initiatives of their own.


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