For the final #Call4.0Leaders interview of 2022, Business Review sat down with Camelia Ene, the Country Chairman and CEO of MOL Romania, to talk about the 4 main trends of this year: resiliency and sustainability, the human-machine balance, organizational agility, and Co-opetition, and also about the milestones of the company in 2022.
- What projects have you carried out over the past year to make your company’s operations more sustainable and resilient?
2022 brought a vulnerable international context for the industry, marked by global uncertainty and economic volatility. We have, however, remained focused on meeting the expectations of our clients in all segments – retail, wholesale, cards, LPG, lubricants, petchem. Continuing to be a predictable and reliable fuel supplier has been a top priority for MOL Romania, as well as advancing with our strategic investments, regardless of the challenging social and economic context.
In this respect, we are very proud to have finalized during this year a complex development project, namely the construction of 14 new service stations along the A1 and A2 highways, part of the deal signed with the National Company of Administration of Road Infrastructure (CNAIR) in 2021. It is an accomplishment which further consolidates our commitment to the local market and, reflects MOL’s objectives of diversifying its portfolio for the customers, according to the Group’s updated strategy “Shape Tomorrow 2030+”, as the Consumer Services segment continues its transformation into a consumer goods retailer focused on digitalization, and into an integrated supplier of complex mobility services by 2030.
In what regards the global sustainability context, one of the main challenges most companies face nowadays is related to the environmental impact of their operations and reducing their carbon emissions in the long run.
We are proud of the significant progress made my MOL Group during the past year, as part of its efforts for becoming carbon neutral, as established through the Group’s 2030+ Shape Tomorrow strategy. Some of the achievements made in this respect are the inauguration of the biofuel plant in Komárom in Hungary, allowing the Group to increase its biofuel production volume, introducing a unique technology in Europe that can contribute to greenhouse gas savings by more than 85%. At the same time, MOL committed to build one of Europe’s larger-capacity green hydrogen production facilities at MOL’s Danube Refinery in Hungary, which will have a major contribution in reducing the carbon footprint of our operations and enable us to develop emission-free mobility solutions in the longer term. Furthermore, during the past year MOL has acquired ReMat Zrt, a Hungarian plastic recycling company with an annual processing capacity of 25,000 tons. With this acquisition, the Group will be able to develop tailor-made recycling solutions to fulfill the ever-increasing demand of its customers for circular materials.
At the same time, significant progress was made as well locally during the past year, contributing to achieving the sustainability goals. We made great progress in terms of extending our network of stations and we have equipped all new service stations with charging points for electric vehicles. In addition, we are building „Green Info Corner” areas in all the newly inaugurated service stations, where customers can learn more about energy efficiency and recycling and are encouraged to act more responsibly towards nature. We are also implementing sustainable solutions for waste management. For example, MOL Romania is the first network of local service stations to have initiated a program aiming to collect used cooking oil. In 2021, through our efforts to encourage people to recycle the used oil, we have collected more than 28 tones.
- How can we find the right balance between intelligent machines and human intelligence in the new business reality of accelerated automation and digitalization?
We have key trends and social changes, and accelerating the digital transformation of our company has been one of our priorities for many years now. The social changes from the past two years were a proof that we are heading into the right direction. This year, we have significantly improved the interaction with our customers through technology. Thus, we enhanced our apps and provided our customers with the tools which matched their needs. I refer to MOL myISA app, dedicated to our corporate clients, which supports our wholesale contracted partners to plan and manage their expenses, MOL Plugee app, tailor made for the electric vehicles’ drivers, providing a new type of payment solution which considers the electricity absorption capacity of vehicles, or MOL Go app offering a virtual alternative to the MultiBonus card. These tools reflect our vision of selling miles, instead of liters of fuel. We will continue investing in digitalization as part of our vision standing at the core of our 2030+ Shape Tomorrow strategy: improving our customer’s experience, efficiency for our operations and, to enable the success of these two, keep improving the everyday digital life of our employees.
- Are flatter, more agile structures better equipped to succeed in the new reality than their more traditional and rigid counterparts? How would you describe your organization in this regard?
I think that our company is agile, and our response has proven that we are able to develop solutions very fast, even in a context marked by uncertainty. On top of that, being part of a multicultural group and working in a multicultural environment has multiple benefits over the business. Having a diverse and inclusive workforce is also the key to success for our complex transformational journey defined by the updated 2030+ Shape Tomorrow strategy, and ambitions aligned to the European Green Deal.
Having a diverse team, like ours, is vital to the success of our business development journey, as people are the most important driver of innovation. We are lucky to have four generations working in the company, from Boomers to Gen. Z, which allows us to ensure a knowledge transfer from the seniors to the juniors, but also reverse mentoring practices. Our colleagues recognize these practices as essential to creating engagement and team spirit, as well as instrumental to overcoming the challenges of our digital transformation process.
I’m proud to mention here that this year MOL Romania has signed the Diversity Charter, thus reinforcing the company’s commitment to implement the values and principles of diversity and inclusion, an objective which is reflected in the Group’s long-term strategy, 2030+ Shape Tomorrow. This is a key step in reaffirming our commitment to the local community in terms of sustainable development. We believe that our business goals can only be achieved in an inclusive and diverse work environment, where each colleague is encouraged to develop to their true potential, turning our differences into the greatest assets we can have as a team.
- Is the business world evolving from a competition mindset to a co-opetition one? How integrated is your company in this regard and what can you tell us about the partnerships you carried out with other organizations?
We believe that the best ideas and projects are born when people and businesses are open to collaborate and work together for achieving higher goals. I would name NEXT-E, one of the key projects developed by MOL Group in recent years, a compelling example of corporation and a major infrastructure program co-funded by the European Union. For NEXT-E we joined forces with E.ON, HEP, Petrol, BMW and Nissan into a unique cooperation between electricity, oil & gas sectors and car manufacturers, to create an interoperable and non-discriminatory EV charging network, as a viable alternative to the combustion engine vehicles. The goal was to sustain long distance travel, based 100% on electricity, across all the six participating countries (Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania), with connection to the neighboring territories.
MOL Romania has developed strong business and CSR partnerships during our more than 25 years of presence on the market. We have placed people at the center of our business decisions, focusing on developing products, technologies and services adaptable to their needs. We believe that the purpose of innovation is to add value and improve people’s lives, and we have kept that in mind with every new project we have implemented.
- What important milestones does MOL Romania celebrate at the end of 2022?
This year we celebrate a turning point in our company’s evolution, 20 years since the launch of MOL Romania’s Cards Division, during which time we have developed competitive business solutions for our corporate partners in Romania.
We are very proud of this anniversary and the longevity of this division just goes to show how much our partners appreciate the services with added value we have developed. Specifically designed for local and global business clients on the move, the MOL cards enable our corporate partners who travel locally or internationally to access to a vast range of services available in a network of almost 7,000 service stations, as well as to have a better control over costs, safety, and fuel consumption. The MOL Gold cards can be used to pay for fuel, but they also ensure other benefits such as VAT and Excise Duty tax refund on your purchases, irrespectively if you bought fuel, lubricants, services, or food. Moreover, the MOL Gold cards offer the possibility to pay for road taxes in MOL Group’s local and international service stations, as well as in Western European countries operated by our partner, Eurotoll. The success of this payment tool would not have been possible without co-operating with our partners, a process which offered valuable insights, enabling our team to develop solutions tackling customers’ needs.
At the same time, as previously mentioned, for 2022 we have completed our strategic investments and now 14 new MOL service stations are fully operational on A1 and A2 highways in Romania. I take this moment to congratulate all the teams within MOL Romania involved in the development and implementation of this extremely complex project.