Discover the Acea Group online 2019 Sustainability Report
Letter to the stakeholders
In this particularly delicate, even dramatic moment for our Country and the whole world, we would like to reach out to all the stakeholders of the Acea Group. Indeed, the health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing and is having social and economic impacts of such a magnitude and scale that it is impossible to underestimate or ignore them. Most of us find ourselves living an entirely new and potentially destabilising experience. Tens of thousands of our fellow citizens are experiencing the pain of the loss of loved ones in tragic circumstances, and many more are facing serious financial difficulties due to the indispensable stoppage imposed on the majority of production industries.
With a sense of duty and spirit of sacrifice, we are all exercising social distancing, and yet we feel united, engaged, empathetic. We admire the incessant commitment of the healthcare workers in the front line. We are with our people who are actively working to maintain the social and productive scenarios.
These circumstances are the starting point for many reflections, even on aspects that are fully pertinent herein, perhaps more so than the simple statement of a comment on the Group’s good sustainability performance in 2019, which also exists and for which we recommend a careful reading of the Report introduced herein. Indeed, it is precisely sustainability that we are currently reflecting on. Sustainability understood as the ability to be present, here and now, as active and responsible as ever, meeting the needs of the community, and at the same time looking further ahead to the needs of a world that will inevitably be different from that of today. Even with regard to network infrastructure, value-added environmental services and utilities that are our core business.
Close to the community. More than usual we feel the absolute importance of the service we offer, bringing water and electricity into people’s homes and putting the maximum effort every day in order to ensure that these primary resources are always available to everyone. This awareness is shared by all our employees, none excluded, who with full responsibility via telework or on-site continue every day to ensure the good quality of services. Moreover, in these peculiar circumstances even a seemingly minor contribution like the projection of the colours of the national flag on government buildings takes over a very strong symbolic value, and we are proudly involved in such initiatives. Or the very broad, spontaneous participation of employees in solidarity initiatives involving healthcare facilities that we proposed to them and that join numerous other initiatives organized by the Company.
We acted with immediacy and care to protect our workers and their families. From the very first alarms, we disseminated the guidance of company physicians, and as soon as schools were ordered to close we transformed teleworking from periodic to continuous, extending it primarily to employees with school-aged children and immediately to all workers who were in a position to handle their jobs remotely, with the necessary exceptions due to operational needs. We have taken out a special insurance policy for everyone, including family members, and we have been able to guarantee everyone’s jobs.
Looking further ahead. The capacity for an integrated, prospective vision that does not stop with short-term or immediate results is one of the keys to corporate sustainability. This is what makes the application of sustainability principles in the industrial management of public services concrete today, so that tomorrow they will be even more efficient. In our opinion, this means being able to think about the future, where the world is going and its vulnerability, what its needs will be and how they will change, what risks we should be able to take and what opportunities we can exploit. In essence, it means thinking about how we can contribute to a development that blends financial growth, environmental protection and social welfare. A development that makes real contributions – within the limits of our skills and possibilities, though pressed to the maximum extent – to healthy growth, which attributes to the company microcosm a proactive and value-generating role shared within the macrocosm that hosts it and of which it is a responsible part.
For an event that involved a high level of participation, held in December 2019 at the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome to celebrate the end of the year with our staff, we wanted to focus in particular on two concepts that we consider to be of fundamental importance: safety at workplace and resilience. This without imagining what was going to happen in the country shortly afterwards. And to date these two concepts have proven to be very important, together with the technological innovation we have focused on in recent years, making it a transversal and evolutionary lever of all organizational and production processes.
At the time we were referring to the resilience of infrastructure, thinking about the ongoing energy transition but also about the implications of climate change, for example in the water sector. Today, however, we appreciate its entire semantic extension, which includes the ability to adapt and to positively reorganize human life, even in the face of traumatic events.
However, these are not the only issues that we are focusing on and that we find relevant to the sustainability of the company and the situation we are experiencing. In 2019 we completely updated our materiality analysis, the process that directly involves stakeholders to help identifying the most important aspects to be considered in the business strategy.
We assessed them carefully before submitting them to the concerned parties concerned, who then helped us to establishing their order of importance. These include sustainable management of the water cycle, sustainable design, construction and management of infrastructure, circular economics, containment of emissions and sustainability throughout the supply chain, corporate welfare, inclusion and development of skills, just to name a few. Just as we considered it essential to more fully integrate each of these aspects into the system of identification, assessment and management of related risks.
This past year we also wanted to align the sustainability and industrial strategies, increasing their challenges and emphasising their full complementarity, with evidence of sustainability aspects inherent in the growth prospects of the business areas and attention to the Development Objectives of Agenda 2030 and the consistency between our values and the principles of the “Global Compact” of the United Nations, which Acea continues to adhere to year after year.
In this dramatic moment that humanity as a whole is going through, we at Acea must and want to have the strength to plan pathways of growth and prospects for sustainable development, thinking big, that is, considering all of humanity and our planet, both being fragile and in need of being preserved. Each of us doing our part with our skills and talents and in our areas of expertise. We are certain that if we work together, if we increase awareness of the common good, we will succeed.
The Chief Executive Officer
Stefano Antonio Donnarumma