The Sustainability Report, now in its 17th edition, seeks to give stakeholders a vision of the Company that combines economic and governance aspects with social and environmental concerns, in keeping with a focus on corporate sustainability that we want to strengthen and keep ever present in managing the Company. The business area in which the Group operates, providing services of general economic interest, and the long-term nature of its operations have helped to raise awareness within Acea of the social role it plays. Corporate social sustainability and responsibility are thus inherent in the Group’s identity, indeed they form part of its core values and code of conduct, its management methods and ways of engaging with stakeholders, as well as its monitoring of performance.
With regard to values, both the Code of Ethics, adopted in 2004 and updated in 2012, and commitment to the Global Compact, signed in 2007, bear witness to the constant efforts made over the years by Acea. This year we have attempted to strike the right balance between the principles set forth in the “Global compact” and actions undertaken, taken as elements belonging to the “advanced” level of the Communication on Progress disclosure, as per the Global Compact.
With regard to actions undertaken to meet the requests from and win the engagement of our stakeholders, in January 2015 our headquarters played host to a multistakeholder focus group, with the aim of raising, discussing and reviewing topics of mutual interest and information-related expectations in relation to socio-environmental reporting. It is our belief that such actions will result in a wealth of information and relations that will help drive our Group’s growth.
In this way, we want to make sure that the Company’s growth, achieved by pursuing business goals, is sustainable, and combines economic development with attention to socio-environmental aspects. The 2014-2018 Business Plan reflected the following guiding lines: to have the Group play a major role in the industrial waste treatment arena, to raise the degree of customer satisfaction regarding services provided and relations with the Company, to consolidate the Group's franchise in the national water sector, seeking constant operational innovation, to develop the concept of becoming a smart utility for the management of electricity grids. In keeping with these strategies, the 2014-2018 Sustainability Plan was updated, with specific objectives to improve the quality of services provided, applying new technologies in production processes and intervention management, raising the efficiency of contacts with customers, partly through a social orientation of technological applications, being active in the territories where the Group operates, supporting community initiatives, limiting environmental impact, undertaking major energy-saving initiatives, enhancing human resources, with a staff management system focusing on merit and skills, remaining ever alert to safety in the workplace, with a growing focus on quality and safety in the supply chain.
Among the main initiatives undertaken during the year, emphasis is placed on the ACEA2PUNTOZERO scheme, which was launched as a result of internal strategic insights. The scheme is a challenge, in terms of technological and organisational innovation, and is designed to have a radical impact on the competitiveness of the Company. It centres on the modernisation and harmonisation of information systems in support of the Group’s key operations and on the enhancement and involvement of staff, in order to make big strides forward in terms of operating processes and the quality of customer services.
In the area of governance, following the election of the Company’s governing bodies our Board of Directors currently exceeds law requirements in terms of female representation. The Diversity management charter was approved, and the Diversity Committee was created.
In the area of industrial processes, activities were planned and rolled out to curb environmental impacts and reduce CO2 emissions, network losses and energy and water consumption. Work continued on raising energy efficiency, such as installing LED lighting in the waste-to-energy plants of San Vittore del Lazio and Terni. Together with the Municipality of Rome, a plan was drawn up, to be rolled out over the next two years, for the switching all public lighting in Rome to LED technology. This will bring about estimated power savings in excess of 50%. In the area of smart grids, Acea continued to build on the ground-breaking work already completed. As regards smart city initiatives, Acea became lead company in the project RoMA - Resilience Enhancement of Metropolitan Area – working alongside institutional and industrial partners.
Personnel, the Group’s most important assets for its growth and creation of value, continued to be placed under a management system centring on the assessment and enhancement of individual merit. This system will be extended to all staff members. Intense training activities were carried out to raise skills and heighten the sense of belonging to the Group. There was again a marked drop in the number of accidents, largely as a result of the continued efforts made to promote a corporate-wide culture to ensure health and safety in the workplace, with the extension of certified management systems playing a role to this end.
During the year, Acea developed and expanded the application of a vendor rating system to its suppliers, monitoring and enhancing quality and safety aspects in the supply chain. It extended the green procurement system, and helped with the development of the network of related economic activities, farming out work to around 1,800 firms in Italy, and disbursing in excess of 530 million euros for the procurement of works, goods and services.
Finally, Acea sought to highlight its engagement in and commitment to the communities in which it operates, contributing to the wellbeing of the citizens. By way of example, Acea supported and sponsored major cultural and sporting events, paying special attention to the suburban areas of the city. One of these initiatives was the project called Luce. Diversità è energia (Light. Diversity means energy), which included events in the city centre and on the outskirts of Rome with the involvement of some schools: a way to learn the values of open dialogue, integration and acceptance of diversity. Acea also took a stance on social issues, staging the Mai più (Never again) event at the Macro museum in the Testaccio district of Rome on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, underlining its commitment to combating all forms of discrimination, inequality and abuse. It also participated in the twelfth International Day of zero tolerance to female genital mutilation promoted by the Equal Opportunities Department of the Prime Minister’s Office, and was a technical sponsor for the pink lighting of the Building of Lazio Regional Authorities and the Coliseum, symbols of the initiative Pink October, to encourage woman to join breast cancer prevention programmes, and in Romadiceno initiatives, together with Roma Capitale, staged on the occasion of the UN’s International Day to stop violence against women, when Piazza del Popolo was turned red for the day.