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The Hera Group's operational principles include innovation and continuous improvement, and it has set itself the target of introducing, at various company levels, all aspects of "useful and possible" innovation: technological, organisational, managerial and process related. With this in mind, and to promote growth and training opportunities for the young at the same time, Hera has developed projects and partnerships with universities and research institutions.

  • During 2014, Nomisma carried out research in order to investigate how Hera has influenced the development of its suppliers in the period 2011-2013. The survey, carried out on a sample of 593 companies, of which 354 Hera suppliers aimed to assess in a comparative manner the main dynamics of the two segments and therefore investigate the role of Hera.
    Nomisma was able to verify that:
    - Hera has had a stabilising role in the activities of its suppliers, in particular for 65% of the small-to-medium sized suppliers;
    - 1 supplier company out of three declared that thanks to the supply relationship with Hera, it has gained new market areas;
    - 1 supplier company out of 4 declared that it had introduced process/product innovations or certifications as a consequence of the supply relationship with Hera;
    - 22% of the companies increased their workforce thanks to the supply relationship with Hera;
    - the conditions for accessing credit remained stable for 3 out of 4 companies.

    page updated on 21/07/2015

  • In 2014, Nomisma carried out a survey aimed at verifying to what extent the growth of local communities and the business fabric are influenced by the utilities that provide energy, waste management and telecommunication services. 104 companies were surveyed; 50 of these were Hera Group customers in the Modena, Bologna and Forlì-Cesena areas.
    The results clearly show that the services provided by utilities contribute to the companies' competitiveness, especially energy services. Regarding the latter, Hera Comm customers:
    - show that all 4 factors contribute more significantly to competitiveness compared to the sample and to Emilia Romagna companies that are not Hera customers: guaranteeing supply, reduction of energy costs, transfer of know-how and partnership;
    - recognise that the energy supplier provides a much higher level of support compared to the average for all roles indicated: search for new purchasing methods, promotion of partnerships in the development of plants, supply of know-how and the promotion of partnerships for other energy efficiency initiatives.
    Regarding waste management services, the results show that companies are aware that having a sole operator for all waste management services is a strategic and competitive priority. 60% of companies believe that is it also a strategic priority for the operator to be located in the area of reference. Furthermore:
    - 3 out of 4 companies believe that industrial waste management has contributed to improving the company's competitiveness in terms of service reliability and for more than half of the companies in terms of ensuring certification for intended use;
    - Among Herambiente's client companies, 1 out of 3 declares that the waste management services supplier contributed to developing new opportunities related to the disposal and recovery of materials (1 out of 5 - total sample).
    Regarding telecommunication services, the results showed that:
    - 66.7% of Emilia Romagna companies, which are Acantho customers, consider their area to be more competitive in terms of telematic infrastructures than non-client companies;
    - The services that had the greater impact on the company's competitiveness are data transmission among several offices (81%), the Internet (76%) and datacentre services (75%). According to Acantho client companies, this contribution is even more evident with particular reference to the datacentre service (100%) and data transmission among several offices (100%).


    page updated on 21/07/2015

  • At the end of 2010, the Economic Sciences Department at the Bologna University awarded a research fellowship, financed by Hera, as part of the “Corporate social responsibility and market competition” project. The project’s goal is to apply analytic economic tools to the study of companies that adopt social responsibility policies. The first part of the research focused on the development of theoretical economic models for analysis purposes, with the publication of two articles in scientific reviews. The research continued in 2013 with an empirical analysis of the relationship between competitiveness and social responsibility. The study analysed the economic performance of 122 Italian companies and 808 European companies for a period of 8 years. The results showed a significantly positive relationship between the commitment to corporate social responsibility issues (measured by the propensity of companies towards sustainability reporting) and the companies’ economic performance.

  • Hera collaborated with the "Magna Graecia" University  of Catanzaro in a research project on the role of new technologies in the communication of corporate social responsibility.

    By examining three case studies (Hera, Telecom Italia and Eni) that successfully adopted communication campaigns related to CSR, the research analyses how companies use interactive technologies, website and traditional channels of communication in an integrated manner stressing how the contribution of web and social media make CSR issues more pervasive, appealing and interactive.

    The results of the research were presented at the Annual Conference "International Scientific Events - Economy & Business," held in Bulgaria from 1 to5 September 2014 and published in the "Journal of International Scientific”.

  • The Corporate Social Responsibility Department provides continuous support for the study and investigation of issues relating to corporate social responsibility by contributing to degree theses.  As part of the specific agreements with the universities involved, students are able to benefit from the materials and experience of the Group:  internal experts participate in the process, usually taking on the role of co-examiner Recent theses include:

    • University Carlo Cattaneo LIUC - Master Degree in Law - 2017/2018 - Supervisor: Prof. Luca Arnaboldi - The role of Corporate Social Responsibility in M&A transactions (candidate Gabriela Vokrri)
    • University of Napoli - Master Degree in Economics - 2016/2017 - Supervisor: Prof. Mauro Sciarelli - The Social Reporting: Social Report and the case of the Hera Group (candidate Marco Meglio)
    • Politecnico di Milano - School of Industrial and Information Engineering - Master of Science in Management Engineering - A.A. 2016/2017 - Supervisor: Marika Arena - CSR and ERM cross-functional integration: mechanisms, drivers and benefits (candidates: Francesca Segnana, Lorenzo Striato)
    • University of Bologna - Management Engineering - 2015/2016 - Supervisor: Prof. Alessandro Grandi - Strategic planning and control with Balanced Scorecard: Hera Group case (candidate Sofia Zirpoli)
    • University of Pavia - Economy and Enterprise Legislation - 2014/2015 - Supervisor: Prof. Michela Magliacani - SBSC managerial incentive: the case of the Hera Group (candidate Giulia Rapelli)
    • University of Bologna - School of Economics, Management and Statistics - 2014/2015 - Supervisor: Rebecca Levy Orelli - Reporting system for integrated reporting: the case of Hera (candidate Francesca Olivieri)
    • London School of Economics - Environmental Policy and Regulations - 2014 - Demystify the use of sustainability reports: a case study of the sustainability of Italian utilities (candidate Marina Pardini)
    • University of Bologna - Industrial Economics and Financial Institutions - 2012/2013 - Supervisor: Prof. Luca Lambertini - Classical and renewable energy sources: global macroeconomic perspectives (candidate Alberto Gallon)
    • University of Bologna - Political Science - 2011/2012 - Enhancement of the disabled in the company: from integration into employment: the case of the Hera Group (candidate Cristina Mirti)
    • University of Pavia - 2010/2011 - Supervisor: Prof. Andrea Fumagalli - Human Resource Management for more competitive businesses (candidate Laura Zanotta)
    • University of Bologna - Faculty of Engineering - 2009/2010 - Supervisor: Prof. Alessandra Bonoli - Mobility policies within the Hera Group (candidate Enrico Doria)
    • University of Modena and Reggio Emilia – Faculty of Letters and Philosophy - 2007/08 – Supervisor Prof Marina Vignola – The social report as a tool for communicating corporate social responsibility:   the example of Hera (candidate Elena Brunelli)
    • University of Bologna – Faculty of Engineering - 2007/08 – Supervisor Prof. Alessandra Bonoli – Energy saving: from mobility management actions to Energy Efficiency Credits. the example of Hera (candidate Elodia Mozzoni)
    • University of Bologna – Faculty of Engineering - 2007/08 – Supervisor Prof. Alessandra Bonoli - LCA of water for domestic use to identify energy savings: the Hera s.p.a Hera2O project (candidate Alessandro Nogarino)
    • University of Bologna – Faculty of Engineering - 2006/08 – Supervisor Prof. Alessandra Bonoli – Environmental sustainability. The example of Hera Bologna for the application of best practices in the management of the home-work movements of employees and an estimate of the reduction of the main pollutants since 2003.  (candidate Francesco Jaffei)
    • Università LUISS – Faculty of Economics – Supervisor Prof. Giovanni Liberatore – The Balanced Scorecard as a strategic management system. The Hera Group case. (candidate Domenico Palestini)
    • University of Bologna – Faculty of Economics and Commerce - 2005/06 – Comparison of the sustainability reports of various multiutilities (candidate Alessia Pescari)
    • University of Bologna – Faculty of Engineering – 2005/2006 - Supervisor Prof. Andrea Zanoni  – The Balanced Scorecard as a strategic management system for a socially responsible business. the Hera S.p.A case (candidate Italo Di Giuseppe)
    • Milan Polytechnic – Faculty of Engineering – Supervisor Prof. Paolo Maccarrone  – Models for the management of corporate social responsibility: Empirical analysis of the solutions adopted by major not-for-profit companies (candidates Matteo Pistoletti and Giorgio Tosi)
    • University of Bologna – Faculty of Engineering - 2004/05 – Supervisor Prof. Alessandra Bonoli - Analysis of Corporate Social Responsibility and social responsibility management systems with mapping of stakeholders. Sustainability Report study and development of community overview at Hera Bologna S.r.l. (candidate Barbara D'Addezio)

Page updated 31 July 2020

Sustainability and Shared value
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