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Our relationship with the Institutions is a fundamental aspect of our business, bearing in mind that we provide essential public services throughout the territory, the majority of which are subject to regulation.
Acea represents one of the territory's strategic infrastructural assets and interacts with the Public Administrations to contribute towards the higher needs of public interest, for example in terms of water, by activating the Emergency Management Plans. Acea’s relationship with the local institutions is therefore fundamental: with this in mind, in 2022 activities continued for the implementation of related infrastructural works, also as part of Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), the collaborations with the police authorities and the interactions with research centres and universities.
Relations and synergies with universities, research entities, representative organisations, professional associations, etc. are maintained assiduously and transparently, in observance of roles and purposes.
In the world of multi-utilitities, we stand out for the human and relation aspect of our services. We organise specific initiatives to involve our staff and encourage them to work to the best of their ability with a view to creating first and foremost a solid company culture.
We involve our people in every aspect of our work and pay close attention to issues concerning health and safety, training, life-work balance, diversity and equal opportunities.
We promote organisational well-being and are committed to encouraging inclusion, fairness and the enhancement of diversity within the firm.
In 2022 the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee was created, the annual Equality & Care Plan was adopted at Group level and our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager was appointed. Acea also obtained gender equality certification (UNI/PdR 125:2022) and, for the second year running, received Top Employers Italy certification. For the third consecutive year, we were assessed as part of the Bloomberg Equality Index (GEI), which measures gender equality across five dimensions, obtaining an overall score of 81.58/100, marking a further improvement. We went ahead with the training on digitalisation and implemented the I-Care Professional - Mirroring programme on the mitigation of work-related stress risk and the second edition of the “Agire sostenibile per fare la differenza (Sustainable Action for Difference)” course, aimed at enhancing the Goup’s sustainability culture.
Smart working, already utilised by the Company as an experimental method prior to the emergency, again in 2022 was the predominant method of working.
We wish to assure our customers regarding the social and environmental sustainability of our supply chain. With this in mind, we talk to our suppliers help them to become increasingly more sustainable.
The main initiatives we have undertaken along the supply chain concern the strengthening of contractual forecasts to protect social and environmental aspects. For example, in our tenders we valorise the companies that can demonstrate their monitoring of sustainability aspects, such as safety training and the use of ecological equipment during operations, and their joint possession of quality, environmental and safety certifications.
In 2021, there were 15,444 safety inspections carried out at worksites, demonstrating Acea’s commitment to pursuing the protection of suppliers’ workers. Moreover, development of the Group Vendor Rating system continued; this system assesses the performance of suppliers based on indicators relating to punctuality, quality and safety via the Ecovadis model, which analyses supplier firms according to 21 ESG criteria.
In 2022 there were 14,724 safety inspections carried out at worksites, demonstrating Acea’s commitment to overseeing aspects concerning the safety of supplier personnel. Moreover, development of the Group Vendor Rating system continued; this system assesses the performance of suppliers based on indicators relating to punctuality, quality and safety. We also extended sphere of application of the Ecovadis model , conceived for the purpose of analysing suppliers based on 21 ESG criteria and assessing their sustainability. Thanks to this tool, in 2022 a total of 339 suppliers were assessed (+129% compared to the 148 considered in 2021).
We operate in businesses closely linked to natural resources, which have significant impacts on the environment. We are constantly committed to sustainable management of our industrial processes from the offtake of resources to their transformation and return to the ecological cycle.
We promote the responsible and efficient use of resources, the protection of springs, the conservation of natural areas where our infrastructures (plants and networks) are located and the mitigation of physical impacts and external effects generated by operational processes on the ecological context. This is why we encourage the companies in our Group to use environmental Management Systems, considered by us to be essential tools for the sustainable administration of our businesses. The Group has embarked on a major plan to increase production from renewable energy sources and has set itself the goal of achieving high efficiency in the internal end uses and process uses of energy and reducing carbon intensity (gCO2/kWh produced).
As a multi-utility company, we ensure citizens receive essential services. Driven by this awareness we are committed to becoming a reliable, top quality partner capable of responding to our customer needs.
In the digital era, technology is influencing and rapidly changing not only the infrastructures, but also the dynamics and contact channels between the company and the customer, whose role is taking on characteristics such as greater participation, awareness and digitalisation. Alongside constant commitment to surveying the satisfaction of customers and residents with regard to the services, we communicate with stakeholders in a state-of-the-art manner, thanks to new technologies and the Group's renewed digital ecosystem, and can monitor in real time our services, their level of efficiency and compliance with territorial requirements. After listening carefully, we decided to support the adoption by our customers and residents of sustainable styles of consumption, for example via campaigns to promote renewable energy sources, the use of electronic bills or awareness campaigns on water saving and protection.
In order to consolidate the good relationships with our customers, we are constantly committed to maintaining the highest level of trust, via dedicated confrontation and reconciliation channels and activities, including those of the ADR Body for out-of-court settlement of disputes, the regularisation of abuse phenomena in the water sector and the prevention of cases of unfair or non-competitive trade practices.
Relationships with the economic and financial world are important for enhancing our strengths and creating opportunities for growth.
We maintain an open dialogue of trust with the financial community, which we meet at numerous roadshows in conjunction with major corporate events in the key European piazzas. Here again we must surely give importance to sustainability aspects, which we know are receiving more and more attention from the financial world: we hold increasingly frequent discussions with ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) analysts to effectively communicate our commitment to creating a shared value with our stakeholders.
In 2022, Acea took part in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), obtaining a B rating, which positions the company in the Management class. The Group’s solicited sustainability rating on the part of Standard Ethics was also confirmed, with a score of EE, improved outlook from “stable” to “positive” and long-term expected rating (EE+). During the year, the Group was also added to two key reference indices for Italian listed companies: MIB ESG, maintained by Euronext, and SE Mid Italian Index, maintained by Standard Ethics. Lastly, Acea is included among the 15 largest EU listed Multi-utilities comprising the SE European Multi-Utilities Index and its performance is evaluated by other major sustainability analysts, such as Sustainalytics, MSCI ESG Rating, Corporate Knights, ISS ESG.
We want to grow alongside the territory generating the best infrastructural conditions in terms of safety and efficiency, which are the foundations for developing the local community and valorising the monumental heritage via the creation of culture.
To be forerunner and create value means making our networks and plants more efficient, safer and technologically advanced, so that the services can be integrated in an increasingly rapid and reliable manner. This is the direction taken, for example, by our projects and investments in innovation as regards the urban network from a smart city perspective, intelligent public lighting and multiservice metering systems. In this way, we endeavour more and more to actively involve the local populations by means of specific projects, such as stakeholder engagement activities. From a safety standpoint, we ensure the smooth running of our services by enhancing the resilience of the system when faced with critical environmental and fraudulent or terrorist events.
At the same time, we are working with the local communities, and with young people in particular, to disseminate principles of environmental education and valorise our monumental heritage, via initiatives conducted in collaboration with the competent authorities.
Again during 2022, Acea took steps to offer its solidarity contribution to the community: in particular, the commitment continued as regards combatting the pandemic via the vaccination HUB which, in addition to performing the service of Covid-19 vaccinations, was used as a reception centre for Ukrainian war refugees. A consideration, for the community and the territory, which was also reflected in projects and initiatives associated with the promotion of health, safety, sport and culture, conceived for all age groups.
When carrying out our work, our guiding principle is to be a sustainable and forward-looking business.
The year 2022 saw the implementation of the Group strategy. With the Business Plan and the Sustainability Plan, both projected over the period 2020-2024, sustainability today represents the core of Acea’s strategic pillars, setting new and challenging goals for the Group and providing for investments totalling 4 billion Euro by 2024. At the same time, the Sustainability Plan is in keeping with growth orientations, the material topics, the goals of the 2030 Agenda pertaining to the businesses managed and the European Green Deal objectives. The synergy and complementarity of the Business Plan and the Sustainability Plan is essential for building a sustainable growth path, while respecting the environment and work conditions, and for the creation of a value shared with the local community.
We are also careful to maintain an efficient internal organisational infrastructure (procedures, rules, organisation) that is suited to the emerging needs. Worthy of note is the full operativity during the year of the Ethics Officer, a collective body whose purpose is to pursue business ethics, and the constantly enhanced management of business risks, including those pertaining to sustainability.
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