Discover the Acea Group online 2019 Sustainability Report
The Management Systems integrated and certified according to the UNI EN ISO standards are implemented, or in the process of implementation in the majority by the company (see the chapter Corporate governance and management systems in Corporate Identity).
The parent company itself has an Integrated Management System with Quality, Environment, Safety and Energy components that facilitates environmental compliance, and a Sustainability Policy and QASE System that guides the Group’s approach to respecting and protecting the environment, also in line with the principles set out in the Code of Ethics.
The commitment of the operating companies to keep management of environmental issues efficient is very high. Nonetheless, situations can occur – usually provoked by contingent circumstances – that generate non-conformities that may be questioned by the competent control bodies.
During the year the main operating companies of the group received about 60 environmental fines, with the consequent payment of about € 64,500. An additional 144 environmental disputes are currently being settled.
The Aprilia plant, seized in 2017 by the Latina Public Prosecutor’s Office for aspects related to odorous emissions, in 2019 operated close to full capacity, although all activities were subject to daily control by a judicial custodian99.
The majority of the water Companies of the Group – such as Acea Ato 2, Acea Ato 5, Gesesa – and the Companies of the Environment Segment) receive environmental reports principally from the Control Bodies or other Relevant Bodies, called upon by individual citizens. The Bodies, therefore, act autonomously with checks on site and, at times, they initiate proceedings and impose penalties, as mentioned above. Complaints/reports submitted by the Bodies on environmental issues of a certain importance are forwarded to the responsible office, which asks those involved to provide information on the problem that is the subject of the complaint in order to ascertain what has been reported and request the necessary action, as well as provide feedback to the Bodies concerned. Exceptionally, it may happen that the Company receives significant reports from individual persons; in this case they will be checked and, where needed, it will intervene to resolve them.
With respect to electricity distribution, Areti can receive observations regarding alleged environmental damage in the case of buildings housing electrical plants. However, this concerns installations indispensable for the correct exercise of the electricity distribution network, created by Areti following authorisations granted by Bodies which are custodians of the land and therefore fully compliant with the legislation of reference, including both town planning and environmental legislation100. The Assets and Special Projects Unit, which protects the company’s assets, receives the notes of dispute from the owners of the immoveable properties that host transformer substations or are adjacent to power lines, and subsequently the Occupational Safety Unit carries out the instrumental checks in response to the disputes. During 2019 6 environmental checks were processed and closed with a positive outcome concerning electromagnetic fields and transformer substations.
THE MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL OF ACTIVITY WITH ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
The Group monitors the processes which have the potential capacity to generate environmental impacts and in particular the activities which necessitate the use, or envisage the presence in installations, of materials which are intrinsically dangerous, such as for example sulphur hexafluoride, radon and dielectric oil.
With regard to the latter, in particular, in 2019 Areti continued its experimentation with vegetable oil, launched some years ago. Indeed, dielectric oil is a substance used as an insulating and cooling fluid in power transformers, which has advantageous technological characteristics and also some environmental issues related to its chemical nature as a derivative of petroleum. The experiment is based on the use of an insulating liquid of vegetable origin (natural esters), which has electrical and physical characteristics similar to oil of a mineral origin, but the significant advantages of a higher temperature of flammability and a total biodegradability and reusability at the end of its life. The ongoing experiments, having the precautionary aim of maximising confidence with this new product by minimising any risks and/or defects connected with its use, concerns three MV/LV transformers designed and built for this purpose (two with 400 kVA power and the third with 630 kVA power put into operation in 2015).
99 The Aprilia plant was placed under seizure in 2017, for aspects related to odorous emissions. On 14 April 2018 the Public Prosecutor authorized the resumption of operations by removing the seals from the Aprilia plant, without prejudice to the seizure. In 2019 the plant operated close to full capacity, although all activities were subject to daily control by a judicial custodian.
100 In this case, the environmental regulatory reference is D.P.C.M. of 8 July 2003.