Discover the Acea Group online 2019 Sustainability Report

Sustainability in the selection and assessment of suppliers: from qualification to ongoing contracts

Various systems for qualifying suppliers of works, goods and services are active in Acea in observance of principles of competition and equal treatment.
The Supplier Qualification Unit:
  • coordinates working groups to identify the qualification requirements;
  • draws up the Qualification Regulations;
  • establishes Qualification systems of European significance86 and Supplier Lists for so-called “below threshold” or private contracts.
During the year, the product tree shared among the Group Companies included 498 product groups and as at 31 December 2019 the responsible Unit had managed 133 qualification Lists/Systems.
Acea provides interested companies with a qualification portal, integrated with the supplier database, accessible from the institutional website (, Suppliers section). Companies directly submit online qualification applications related to the groups of goods of interest, and the designated unit examines them, verifying that they meet the requirements and managing communications with the supplier. In 2019 a total of 700 applications for registration in the qualification lists/systems were processed (+8% compared to 646 applications in 2018), amounting to 564 successful applications.
  • 311 qualification applications processed for “works” Qualification systems”;
  • 389 qualification applications processed for Qualification Systems/Suppliers’ Lists for “goods and services”.
The qualification requirements are “standard” – these include requirements of a moral nature envisaged by the laws in force in the sector – and “specific”, i.e. they are designed with regard to the product group or groups included in each Supplier List.
Among the specific requirements, in some cases Acea requires its potential suppliers to have certain Authorisations and/or certifications:
  • UNI EN ISO 9001 certification (binding requirement for all the “works” product groups and for almost all the “goods and services” qualification systems”);
  • UNI EN ISO 14001 certification (for inclusion in Qualification Systems for special non-hazardous waste, cleaning services, armed surveillance service and concierge/reception);
  • Registration with the National Environmental Operators’ Register or authorisation to manage a plant for the recovery/disposal of waste (for inclusion in Waste Management Systems);
  • OHSAS 18001/UNI ISO 45001 certification (for inclusion in the Qualification System for the electro-mechanical maintenance of industrial plants and cleaning services);
  • UNI EN 15838:2010 certification (for inclusion in the “Call Centre and Back Office” Qualification System);
  • SA8000 certification (for inclusion in the “Cleaning services” Qualification System);
  • UNI 10891 certification (for inclusion in the “Armed surveillance service and concierge/reception” Qualification System).
For admission to the qualification systems of Community-wide significance, lastly, companies wishing to qualify must declare their availability to undergo an audit at the administrative head office, aimed at assessing the truthfulness and adequacy of the documentation provided, and at the operating plants or product warehouses, in order to assess the implementation and application of the active management systems.
The assessment of suppliers involves different types of controls that are implemented depending on the List and the different statuses that the supplier acquires with respect to Acea:
during the qualification phase,
qualified with contract in progress.
During the qualification phase, i.e. in order to be able to register for the qualification systems relating to the Single Regulations for Goods and Services and Works – which for 2019 were 100 out of 133 total registers/qualification systems – on the Vendor Management platform suppliers must complete a self-assessment questionnaire differentiated for goods, services or works on the Quality, Environment, Safety, Energy and Social Responsibility management systems that are considered important for sustainability.
In 2019:
345 suppliers completed the self-assessment questionnaire (197 for goods and services and 148 for works): 32% more than the 261 in 2018;
• they represent over 87% of the total number of qualified suppliers in the year (equal to 396).
Acea was able to process the self-assessment questionnaire data submitted online from May 2019 (228 questionnaires) for goods, services and works, obtaining an average supplier score87 (scale 0-100) for each area evaluated (see chart no. 33).




Beyond the self-assessment questionnaires completed by suppliers during registration for the Qualification Systems, in 2019 Purchasing and Logistics, in synergy with the Sustainability Unit, sent a panel of 117 Group suppliers (114 in 2018) a questionnaire to assess their commitment to environmental and social issues, which was completed by 40 companies for environmental aspects and 32 companies for social aspects: 21 for goods and services and 11 for works.
With regard to social issues, an analysis of the data shows the following: 72% of the companies that completed the questionnaire adopt tools to promote ethical conduct and integrity, including a Code of Ethics and the Organization, Management and Control Model pursuant to Legislative Decree no. 231/2001. With regard to job security, 91% of the personnel of supplier companies are employed with permanent contracts and 53% of companies have trade union representatives. With regard to health and safety at work, 75% of respondent suppliers have adopted dedicated management systems, 78% have provided safety training to more than 50% of staff and 81% have not recorded any accidents.
The results of the findings on environmental data, such as consistency of energy consumption, are described in the section Relations with the environment to which reference is made.
Once qualified, the supplier’s headquarters can be subjected to a second-party Audit on Quality Management Systems, Environment, Safety, Energy and Social Responsibility (QASER) to verify the actual application of active certified Management Systems and the management methods of other areas relevant to sustainability.
The audits were carried out by qualified internal auditors of Acea SpA belonging to the Integrated Certification Systems Unit. The 40 audits carried out in 2019, based on compliance checklists relating to requirements assessed and the brackets defined (Excellent – Very Good – Good – Fair – Sufficient – Poor – Critical – Inadequate), produced the following assessments: 2 Excellent, 9 Good, 5 Fair, 11 Sufficient; 9 Poor; 4 Critical. Each supplier was sent feedback indicating the bracket achieved and a summary report on strengths and areas for improvement. Where necessary, a report of the most significant findings was sent, with a request to indicate the causes of non-compliance and proposals for appropriate corrective actions.
The results of the audits show an overall rating above sufficient.
The areas with the highest level of compliance were:
Safety and Quality, for which approximately 70% of the audited suppliers received an assessment equal to or greater than “good”;
• The environment, with more than 50% of audited suppliers rated between good and excellent, although in this area there is room for improvement on “waste management”;
Social responsibility, with over 20% of suppliers rated “good” or better (10% in 2018).
Collaboration also continued with the TenP working group as part of the Global Compact Network Italy to raise the awareness of the supply chain, including through desktop audits and supplier training on sustainability issues.
In Areti, the evaluation of suppliers is carried out using the vendor rating model for works in the energy area. The framework, which focuses on 142 quality, safety and environmental parameters, envisages worksite inspections, the preparation of merit rankings based on the reputation of the contractors and the possibility of applying fines and suspending their activities. During the year, 27 worksites were suspended due to safety “non-conformities”, against a total of 1,981 inspections. The average reputational index found in 2019, equal to 98,74, is constantly increasing (it was 98.29 in 2018), and it confirms the good level of reliability of the operators.

86 Pursuant to art. 134 of Legislative Decree no. 50/2016 as amended.
87 The average score for each area is derived from the average of the three scores related to the analysis of the questionnaires for goods, services and works.