Definition of contents

Sustainability reporting is preceded annually by the analysis and identification of relevant topics for the stakeholders and for the Hera Group.

The process for defining the material topics is based on the analysis of internal and external documents which brings to light the most relevant topics related to the shared value and sustainability, which the reporting must focus on.

The external context pertaining to the three drivers identified for the creation of the shared value was first of all analysed. For each driver, global, European, national and local policies were analysed in-depth to define the priorities for change towards sustainability; this involved 63 policies, including the 2030 UN Agenda, in relation to which the commitments and the most significant quantitative targets for Hera’s activities were considered.

Then the Business Plan was considered, the analysis of the risk, the measures for involving the stakeholders (the work of 2 HeraLABs carried out during the year in the areas of Ferrara and Ravenna), the annual customer satisfaction survey, the biennial internal climate survey, feedbacks from the meetings with the Auditors carried out by the Area Managers), the press review and the presence on social media, together with the main legislative innovations.

HeraLABs have the task of proposing initiatives to involve stakeholders and improve the sustainability of the services offered in the local areas, while verifying their efficacy periodically. In the first meeting of each LAB, the topics of relevance for the local area are identified by using a specific method. In the following meetings, the participants in the LAB propose and discuss initiatives for improving the impacts on those significant aspects identified in the first meeting. The topics that had a high relevance assessment (defined in terms of interest and conflict) by the 2 HeraLABs were:

  • quality and consumption of the mains water;
  • water: savings and reuse;
  • the investments in the water service;
  • the handling of waste serving the circular economy;
  • quantity-based tariff;
  • support of users in need;
  • service quality;
  • diffusion of innovation and digitalisation;
  • value for the local area;
  • spreading renewable energy;
  • sustainability of the coastal area.

Regarding the press review, the presence of information regarding the Hera Group was analysed in the leading local and national newspapers by highlighting the topics that showed greater visibility (whether positive or negative) in more than one area (overall negative visibility index above 1,000 points or positive visibility index above 5,000 points). Regarding the study of blogs and social networks, the posts published on forums, blogs and social networks were analysed, in this case by highlighting visibility (weighted positive or negative visibility index above 10,000 points). The topics identified were:

  • introduction of quantity-based tariff and projects for extension of the separate waste collection service;
  • the Rimini seawater protection plan and water mains maintenance activities;
  • energy requalification of public lighting systems;
  • innovative projects;
  • economic repercussions on the local area;
  • social repercussions of the supplies;
  • environmental impacts of the landfills.

The annual customer satisfaction survey assesses the quality of services offered and customers’ satisfaction with the Group. The survey also highlights the topics that are of particular importance in determining customers’ overall satisfaction. These topics are:

  • the presence and level of branch services;
  • the online services;
  • the safety and the trustworthiness of the gas service.

The biennial employee satisfaction survey also draws attention, at Group level, to matters of major importance in determining employees’ overall satisfaction. The analysis conducted in 2017 highlighted the following important topics:

  • remuneration;
  • internal communication;
  • relations with colleagues;
  • coherence with the values.

The following table summarises the aspects regarded as material by the overall analysis, the reason for their inclusion, the stakeholders on which they have an impact and Hera involvement (direct or indirect).

Material aspects of the Hera Group

Material aspect

Why it is material *

Who it is material for

Scope of the impact

Type of impact

Transition towards a circular economy

The Group manages waste management services and waste selection and recovery plants

Press review

HeraLAB

Risk analysis

Business Plan

CSV Scenario

Legislative innovations

Group companies which manage waste management services and waste treatment plants

Citizens residing in the areas served

Direct

Indirect

Sustainable management of water resources

The Group manages water services

Press review

HeraLAB

Business Plan

CSV Scenario

Group

Direct

Promotion of energy efficiency and spreading renewable energy

The Group manages energy services, owns energy production plants and some Group companies operate in the energy efficiency sector

Press review

HeraLAB

Risk analysis

Business Plan

CSV Scenario

Group

Customers of the energy services

Direct

Indirect

Digitalisation innovation, data analytics, artificial intelligence

The Group, by means of the Innovation Department, develops innovative projects within the digitalisation, data analytics and business intelligence sphere.

Press review

HeraLAB

Business Plan

CSV Scenario

Group

Customers

Industrial partners

 

Direct

Indirect

Safety and continuity of the service provided to customers

This topic was considered relevant by customers, especially as regards safety of the gas service

HeraLAB

Risk analysis

Business Plan

Legislative innovations

Group

Direct

Local development and indirect economic impacts

The activities managed by the Group (water, environmental and energy) generate significant indirect impacts. Furthermore, the Group has a widespread presence throughout the area.

Press review

HeraLAB

Business Plan

Group

Suppliers

Direct

Indirect

Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (climate change)

The topic is transversal to all the businesses managed

Risk analysis

Business Plan

CSV Scenario

Group

Customers, suppliers

Direct

Indirect

Compliance with environmental and social regulations

The Group manages waste management, water and energy services and owns waste disposal plants Furthermore, the Group companies employ thousands of workers and some activities are outsourced

Risk analysis

Legislative innovations

Group

Direct

Quality, costs of waste collection and city integrity service

The Hera Group manages municipal hygiene services

Press review

HeraLAB

Group

Direct

Quality and consumption of the mains water

The Group manages water services and has purification and drinking water plants

HeraLAB

Risk analysis

Legislative innovations

Group

Customers

Direct

Indirect

Air and soil quality

The Group manages plants for the production of energy and waste-to-energy plants and has thousands of vehicles. It also uses the ground for constructing plants and other infrastructures

HeraLAB

CSV Scenario

Group

Local community

Direct

Indirect

Occupational Health and Safety

The topic is transversal to all the businesses managed

HeraLAB

Risk analysis

Group employees

Direct

Economic value for the stakeholders

Economic sustainability is essential for performing present and future activities

HeraLAB

Business Plan

Group

Direct

Training and professional development, remuneration and incentives

The topic is transversal to all the businesses managed

HeraLAB

Business Plan

Group

Direct

Environmental impact of waste treatment plants (NIMBY syndrome)

The Group manages waste treatment plants also close to urban contexts

Press review

Group companies which run waste treatment plants

Direct

Indirect

Diversity

The topic is transversal to all the businesses managed

This topic was considered relevant because Group companies employ over 8,700 workers

Legislative innovations

Group

Direct

Anti-corruption activities

The topic is transversal to all the businesses managed

The presence of calls for tender, contracts and significant supply contracts is associated with anti-corruption issues

Legislation

Group

Direct

Integration of sustainability in the risk analysis

The topic is transversal to all the businesses managed

The Group annually up-dates the ERM which as from this year has been structured also on the basis of risks associated with sustainability

Legislation

Group

Direct

Commercial relations with customers through branches, the call centre and the web

The topic is transversal to all the businesses managed

HeraLAB

Group

Direct

* Main link to the businesses managed to certain specific aspects of said businesses

With respect to the issues in the 2017 sustainability report, there were no significant changes, but some integrations and combinations were made. Specifically, the following issues were added: Digitalisation innovation, data analytics, artificial intelligence; Quality and consumption of the mains water; Air and soil protection; Integration of sustainability in the risk analysis.

It is hereby disclosed that the issue of the respect for human rights is not regarded as material because the Group’s operational offices are located mainly in Italy or in countries in which a significant risk from this point of view has not been noted. This evaluation also takes into account the information reported in the Suppliers chapter where the provenance of foreign supplies is detailed. It should be pointed out that in 2018 four Group companies (Hera SpA, Hera Luce S.r.l., AcegasApsAmga Servizi Energetici S.p.A. and AcegasAspAmga S.p.A.) were SA8000 certified, a voluntary standard that lists the requirements for ethically correct conduct towards workers and that focuses on the respect for human rights, especially the principles of dignified work on the basis of ILO conventions.