Acea: Values and Contribution to Sustainability

Both the Group's business (i.e., providing services of general interest) and the extent of the operating timeline have caused Acea to become more aware of the social role it plays. Hence, sustainability and corporate social responsibility are typically embedded in Acea's identity, with the Group being committed to reflecting them in its core values and consistent behavioural guidelines, in the provision of management and engagement systems for the stakeholders and in the close monitoring of performance, all with a view to accountability.

TABLE 9 - ACEA TOOLS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

ACEA TOOLS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Acea pays attention to the initiatives and signals coming from the institutional, national and international context in respect of sustainability and corporate social responsibility matters, as they provide a baseline and guiding lines for such issues. In 2014, special emphasis was placed on the completion of the regulatory process, which culminated with the approval by the European Union Council, of Directive on disclosure of social and environmental information and on diversity empowerment in the composition of administration and control bodies /2014/95/EC). This new regulation, which governs and enhances non-financial corporate disclosure, places Europe at the most advanced levels in light of the importance ascribed to ESG (Environmental Social Governance) issues for the purposes of reaching a sustainable growth.

Bearing out the increasing significance that corporate social responsibility is gaining, other initiatives have surfaced underscoring the cross-cutting nature of the issue and its significance in the European context: consultation on CSR strategy, implemented by the EU, and future commitments; Tender and Licence Directives (see relevant boxes).

PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THE RESULTS AND FUTURE ROLE OF CSR WITHIN THE EUROPEAN UNION

From April to August 2014, the European Commission held public consultations to hear the opinions of the parties concerned about the outcome of the 2011-2014 CSR Strategy and the role such Strategy should play in the future. In view of the CSR contribution to the competitiveness of the Community entrepreneurial system and to the creation of shared value, the enquiry prompted by the Commission meant to explore three significant areas in particular: the role of the  Commission and the identification of the most significant entities with whom to interact to develop the topic; the effectiveness of the European initiatives and actions aimed at promoting and developing CSR; future challenges for a European policy on CSR, including the role of the Commission and the degree of importance of the topic for the future of the EU economy.
Based on the outcome of the consultations, the Commission will define preparatory work for the plenary session of the Multistakeholder Forum on CSR in order to outline the future Community policy on the subject.

NEW TENDER AND CONCESSION DIRECTIVES

Public contracts generate about 18% of the European GDP. In March 2014, the EU issued new directives on Public Tenders and Concessions, taking on an economic as well as social perspective.
Indeed, the text of the reform governing public contract awards underscores the role they play in the pursuit of Community policies pertaining to sustainable development, environmental protection, social cohesion and promotion of the economy to the benefit of the broadest base of market operators, ensuring compliance with the highest standards of workers' protection.
Express reference is made to the strategic role of tenders to (i) stimulate innovation and efficiency in the allocation of public financial resources and (ii) pick up the main social challenges, thereby promoting a sustainable economic growth.
In the light of the above, the regulatory framework contemplates social and environmental aspects in the qualification, assessment and award stages of tenders, as well as during the actual execution phase.
As expected, by 2016 the single Member States will be required to reflect supranational regulations in their domestic legislations, translating the aforesaid novelties in line with the European principles, thereby contributing to the spreading of ESG criteria and social responsibility principles across the domains of civil organisation.