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Sustainability, a Hera conference in Bologna to rethink development

The part, never more than now, is for the whole. That is not the definition of a rhetorical figure, but the meaning that public and private stakeholders must give to their work, to write it on the future of our Planet, whose balance depends on the action of all of us. The circular economy itself is no longer conceivable purely in terms of waste management but rather must embrace an integrated complex of issues, which includes ecological product design, preservation of the resources in use and the regeneration of natural capital. These are some of the main topics that arose at the conference called "The ecosystem and its unity: a challenge for a sustainable future", held today at the Hera Group's Bologna headquarters. The event was organised for the European Week for Sustainable Development, and attended by the President of the Emilia-Romagna Regional Administration Stefano Bonaccini, who brought the testimony of a region that has extensive sustainability-related experience. Many other leading international representatives from institutions, business and universities also contributed their experience. An important event, in short, during which the multi-utility also presented the key aspects of its completely renewed sustainability report, whose economic, social and environmental indicators are once again constantly improving and allow us to approach the future with confidence.


Among the conference guests there was Prof Jeffrey Sachs, of Columbia University, who played an important role in drawing up the Sustainable Developments Goals identified by the UN Agenda for 2030, which the Hera Group has chosen as a guideline for its commitment to sustainability. In its sustainability report, in fact, the multi-utility reports the shared value, i.e. the portion of EBITDA that comes from activities that generate operating margins for the company and also meet 10 of the 17 sustainability objectives set out in the Global Agenda. This share, up 10% compared to 2016, amounted to 329 million euro in 2017 (1/3 of total EBITDA) and the objective is to increase it to 40% of the EBITDA by 2021, thus contributing more and more to the needs of the area it serves and to the challenges for change. The investments already made were quite significant, and in 2017 alone contributed to generating the shared value of 200 million euro, i.e. 41% of the total. Among the main measures, there was the construction in Sant'Agata Bolognese of an important plant to produce biomethane from organic waste. In addition, the development of waste recycling through the Aliplast and Waste Recycling companies is also essential in order to fully implement the circular economy. The upgrade of the wastewater treatment service, the digitalisation of services from a Utility 4.0 perspective and, lastly, investments in innovation to make networks increasingly smart, complete the picture.

Moreover, in the new edition of the Sustainability Report, which from this year also offers useful food for thought on the national and international scenario, shared value has become the true hub around which Hera has organised the document's entire content, so as to highlight the contribution that the various activities make to its generation. The information contained in the report is divided into three main areas: smart use of energy, efficient use of resources, innovation and contribution to local development.


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