Acea: the values and the contribution towards sustainability

Activities for the management and provision of essential public services, with evident repercussions on the social and economic context, grant the Acea Group a leading role for the development of the area it operates in. Equal importance should be given to a handling of the production cycles, the plants and the network infrastructures, capable of containing the impacts on the natural environment which hosts the same. In conclusion, the same operational existence of the company, generates opportunities for employment and economic development of side-line activities. Acea is aware of the role played vis-à-vis the various players who interact with it and has adopted business governance aimed at transparency, correctness and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The Group has endowed itself with value codes, policies18and management instruments suitable for effectively



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18 The full texts of the value codes - Acea Group Mission (1998), Environmental Policy (1998), Values Charter (2001), Tender Ethic Code (2003), Group Ethical Code (2004), Quality Policy (introduced in 1999 and, since 2005, regularly updated, in line with the UNI EN ISO 9001:2008 standard certification acknowledged Acea SpA), Protection Policy (2009) and Policy for health and safety in the workplace (2010 edition) - are available of the company intranet and on the website

implementing the responsible governance of the company, along the three lines of economic, social and environmental sustainability, and each year bears witness to this commitment describing it in the sustainability report, in terms of quality and numbers. Following the theoretical and institutional debate underway and sharing the experiences regarding corporate social responsibility are fundamental elements for updating the business culture and guiding the management approaches towards sustainable development. In this context, 2011 saw an intense exchange of views between experts and institutions on certain aspects: the evolution of the CSR concept, the integrated business reporting, the convergence of the international standards in favour of the growth in corporate responsibility and the surpassing of the economic-financial parameters for the assessment of quality and welfare. With reference to the afore-mentioned matters, with regard to 2011 mention should be made of the new communication of the European Commission on corporate social responsibility and the collaboration project between Istat and Cnel for the purpose of defining multi-dimensional statistical indicators for measuring the progress of the Italian society (see the related boxes).

Box – COM(2011) 681 - Renewed EU strategy for the period 2011-14 regarding CSR

As already announced last year, in October 2011, the European Union Commission published the new communication on CSR - COM(2011) 681 - by means of which it updated the contents and references previously expressed on the subject - with the 2001 Green Paper - laying the bases for the related EU strategy for the 2011-2014 period. The Commission highlighted the presence of the aspect of corporate social responsibility in the majority of the EU policy initiatives, as confirmation of the transversal nature of the subject, and its growing and shared importance at international level, as confirmed by the most recent references in the measures of the ONU, which in 2011 disclosed the new Guideline Principles on Companies and Human Rights, and the OECD, which updated the Guidelines for Multinationals. The new definition of CSR as «responsibility of the companies for their impact on society», extends the commitment of the companies to objectives for the creation of value shared between the company and its stakeholders, and for risk management, aimed at identifying, preventing and mitigating the possible adverse effects of corporate conduct on society, widening the sphere of involvement of the companies as far as the supply chain. The Commission once again emphasises the benefits gained from CSR both for the general competitiveness of the entrepreneurial system and the pursuit of sustainable development and the social market economy and presents a plan of action to be implemented by the end of 2014, aimed at furthering the achievement of good practices - for example via the creation of multilateral platforms and a European CSR award - and at increasing market appreciation for CSR - by means of the furthering of policies for sustainable production and consumption and the improved integration of the socio-environmental aspects in public tenders. In conclusion, acknowledging the development of the international principles and stances regarding CSR (ISO 26000, Global Compact, OECD guideline principles) and hoping for convergence and integration in EU policies, the Commission invites leading European companies to contemplate at least one of the afore-mentioned instruments in their approach to CSR by the end of 2014.

Box – The twelve dimensions of fair and sustainable welfare

Over the last few years, the degree of complexity achieved by the company has fuelled the exchange of views on the appropriateness of reviewing the indicators commonly used for measuring growth and progress, so as to adequately seize and interpret the developments of the reality. The debate has focused on gross domestic product (GDP): quantitative measurement of the macro-economic activities, used, for some time, as a reference parameter for the valuation of economic-social growth. Today more than ever, the awareness of having to consider multiple dimensions - not only economic but also environmental, social, relational, statutory - and the misalignment between the performance of the macro-economic variables and the perception that citizens have of welfare, render reflection on the interpretation keys most suitable for comprehending the phenomena underlying the subsequent decision on public policy, inescapable. Accordingly, in Italy during 2001 an agreement between Istat and Cnel was furthered, used to implement a multidimensional approach of “fair and sustainable welfare” (BES) for the company, which supplements the economic activity indicators, typically GDP, with other non-economic indicators. An initial outcome of the collaboration, which placed Italy in the group of countries at the forefront for the commitment with regard to the subject matter, together with France, Germany and the UK, led to the definition of 12 spheres of particular importance for the welfare of citizens. On the basis of these, which will be consolidated or otherwise by means of public consultation extended to experts, civil society and individual citizens, high statistical quality analytical indicators will subsequently be processed, to be used to enhance the gauging and analysis instruments available to future public decision makers so as to pursue collective development polices. The 12 dimensions, or spheres, of wellbeing identified are: environment; health; economic welfare; education and training; work and conciliation of lifestyles; social relationships; safety; subjective welfare; landscape and cultural heritage; research and innovation; quality of services; politics and institutions.