renewable energy produced
equivalent to the consumption
of 182 thousand families
carbon footprint
for energy production compared
to 2015, aiming at -23% by 2022
tons of greenhouse gas avoided

The commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions

Since fossil fuels contribute to climate change, reducing their use is essential to limit the increase of the main and most common greenhouse gas: carbon dioxide.

The Group’s commitment originates in the transparency and accountability of its actions and its commitment to fight climate change and continues throughout the many projects it has initiated to promote energy production from renewable sources, to reduce energy consumption and to provide its customers with opportunities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 2006, in fact, the Hera Group has been a member of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an independent not-for-profit organization that offers businesses and countries a way to measure, track, manage and share information about climate change and on the sustainable use of water resources, on a global scale. Compliance with the CDP requires measuring and reporting all of an organisation’s performance and the initiatives it takes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2018, Hera achieved level B on an A-D scale, above the average (level C) for the oil and gas sector.

The Group’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are mainly due to its plants (waste-to-energy and district heating plants), and to leaks from the gas network and from landfills.

Total greenhouse gas emissions
  2016 2017 2018
Direct emissions (GHG scope 1) (t of CO2) 1.396,716 1.426,401 1,355,024
Indirect emissions from consumption of electricity (GHG scope 2 market based) (t CO2) 295,393 193,746 148,433
Total of scopes 1 and 2 (t of CO2) 1,692,110 1,620,147 1,503,457
EBITDA (Euro mln) 917 985 1,031
Carbon intensity index (t of CO2 emitted scope 1 and 2/EBITDA Euro mln) 1,845 1,645 1,458
Indirect emissions from consumption of electricity (scope 2 market based) (t CO2) 210,855 245,542  

The following coefficients were used to estimate Scope 1 emissions: the DEFRA 2017 coefficients (expressed in CO2-eq) for motor vehicle fuels (diesel, petrol, natural gas, LPG) and for emissions associated with diesel and LPG for other uses; the coefficient of the Ministry of the Environment (expressed in CO2) for methane. It should be noted that the emissions associated with diesel and LPG for other uses and methane gas for uses other than district heating and waste-to-energy plants were considered starting from 2017. Greenhouse gas emissions from landfills were estimated considering the methane contained in the biogas given off by the landfill matter, plus carbon dioxide from the combustion of tapped biogas, from which the portion of biodegradable substances was removed; for waste-to-energy plants, the estimate was carried out by considering the carbon dioxide during combustion of the non-biodegradable portion of waste and of the other fuels used in the plant; the gas network losses were estimated and considered completely dispersed in the atmosphere – the GWP considered is 25 for methane and 298 for N2O, (4th Assessment Report IPCC). On the other hand, the NIR 2017 coefficients of ISPRA for the location-based method and the 2016 AIB European Residual Mix for the market-based method (expressed in CO2) were used to estimate electricity consumption emissions (Scope 2). The indicator does not include the Ravenna waste disposal plant for special waste and the Trieste trigeneration plant, the emissions of which can be estimated at 3.5% of the total.

In 2018, the Hera Group released 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (-7.2% compared to 2017). Direct emissions (scope 1) amounted to 1.3 million tonnes, down 5.0% compared to 2017 mainly due to (i) a reduction in gas network losses (-22.3%); (ii) a reduction in emissions from landfills (-12.0%), which was affected by lower landfill use for the disposal of municipal waste and; (iii) a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from district heating (-4.0%) due to lower energy production, particularly electricity, from cogeneration plants (as indicated in the relevant paragraph).

Emissions indirectly caused by electricity consumption (scope 2) amounted to 148 thousand tonnes, down compared to 2017 (-23.4%), as a result of the extension of Hera Spa’s choice – made in 2017 to purchase electricity from renewable sources – to AcegasApsAmga and Marche Multiservizi (57% of the total electricity consumption of the entire Group). This has allowed the Group to save about 200 thousand tonnes of CO2, 13% of the Group’s total. The value of the scope 2 emissions indicated above is calculated taking into account the company’s energy purchase choices (“market based” method), i.e. the share of renewable energy purchased with Guarantee of Origin (GO) certificates and the share of electricity purchased without certificates. For this second component, the emission factor relative to the national residual mix was used. The scope 2 emissions calculated with the location based method are equal to 234,638 tonnes. This value is based on the company’s location and therefore uses the average emission factor of the national fuel mix, without taking into account the company’s purchase choices.

As part of the ISO 50001 management system, 303 energy consumption reduction measures have been defined by Hera Spa, InRete, AcegasApsAmga and Marche Multiservizi, some of which have been implemented and some of which will be implemented by 2020, and which achieve an overall savings of over 12,315 toe/year (over the 2020 target of reducing consumption by 5% compared to 2013) and over 21 thousand tonnes of CO2 per year. In addition, 69 other energy efficiency improvement measures have been implemented, are in progress or are planned by Herambiente, Hera Servizi Energia and Hera Luce, for a total of 12,095 toe/year of overall savings, reaching approximately 21 thousand tonnes of CO2 per year.

The ratio between carbon dioxide emissions and the Group’s gross operating margin shows for 2018 a decrease compared to 2017 (-11%) mainly due to the reasons described above as well as the trend in EBITDA (+12% in the three-year period considered). The ratio versus revenues has also significantly decreased in 2017-2018 (-15%), from 288 to 245 t of CO2 per million Euro.

The Carbon Footprint of Energy Production
  2015 2016 2017 2018
Waste-to-energy plants (t) 487,162 462,258 421,236 412,162
District heating (t) 216,699 204,025 206,552 190,181
Anaerobic digesters (t) 13,489 21,625 18,565 20,725
Purification plant biogas (t) 4,156 3,853 4,877 5,243
Landfills (t) 361,807 269,965 252,429 222,342
Total (t) 1,083,313 961,726 903,660 850,652
Electricity and thermal energy produced by plants (MWh) 1,884,392 1,812,811 1,815,543 1,764,084
Carbon footprint of energy production (kg/MWh) 575 531 498 482


Considering the emissions produced by the electricity and heat plants shown in the table, the carbon footprint of energy production in 2018 was 482 kg/MWh, down 16% compared to the 2015 baseline and down compared to 2017 (-3.1%) due to lower emissions: (i) from landfills, which were affected by a decrease in use for disposal of municipal waste; (ii) from waste-to-energy plants, as a result of lower energy production; (iii) from plants serving district heating, due to lower electricity production of the cogeneration plants, in particular that of Imola Casalegno (compared both to 2017 and to the forecasts for 2018).

The carbon footprint values for energy production were recalculated in 2018 to include: (i) emissions from the F3 industrial waste-to-energy plant in Ravenna, (ii) emissions from the combustion of biogas in biodigesters and purification plants for the production of electricity, and (iii) the energy produced by district heating power plants. The values for 2015-2017 shown in the table are therefore pro-forma. The carbon footprint for energy production calculated for the year 2018 on a like-for-like basis published in the previous Report was 527 t/kWh, stable compared to 2017.

The measures already in place and those planned by the Hera Group will enable us to further reduce the carbon footprint of our energy production in the years to come. By 2022, we expect to decrease the carbon footprint of our energy production by 23% (442 kg of CO2/MWh) compared to 2015, mainly by producing biomethane from organic waste and as a result of further decreasing the use of landfills to treat municipal waste.

The EU-ETS (European Union Emission Trading System) sets a cap on the total level of emissions allowed to all participants in the scheme, but it also allows them to trade emission quotas on the market according to their needs. The Hera Group has 9 plants that are authorized to emit greenhouse gases on the basis of Emissions Trading regulations, for a total installed furnace power of 520 MW. Carbon dioxide emissions recorded in 2018, equal to 158,737 tonnes, are lower than those of 2017 (178,161 tonnes), mainly due to a milder climate, noting that all the plants feed district heating networks whose energy demand depends on seasonal weather. For all the plants concerned, the maximum emissions limit set for 2018 is 34,487 tonnes, in down as planned compared to the previous year as envisaged by the regulatory system. The free quota allocation in 2018 amounted to 18,546 tonnes.

Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions (thousands of tonnes)
  2017 2018
Sales of natural gas 5,433 5,469
Sales of electricity 4,989 4,381
Emissions from industrial cogeneration contracts (not included in Scope 2) 49 49
Emissions from services provided 806 777
Emissions related to energy consumed (not included in Scope 2) 69 66
Total 11,346 10,471

The sale of natural gas item includes the production of the gas sold (upstream) and its use by customers. The sales of electricity item include the generation of the not renewable electricity sold. Emissions from industrial cogeneration contracts include the production of gas consumed (upstream) in industrial cogeneration plants operated as a service by HSE and the gas consumption of plants operated as a service by HSE. Le emissions of services operated as a service include: (i) the extraction and transport of fuels used in the Group’s vehicles; (ii) the use of vehicles by suppliers for waste collection; (iii) the use of glass, plastic and recovered paper; (iv) the printing of bills. Emissions relating to energy consumed include electricity grid losses and the extraction and transport of fuels used to generate electricity.

As in 2017, we once again calculated our scope 3 emissions, i.e. indirect greenhouse gas emissions that occur as a result of the company’s activities, but from sources that are not owned or directly controlled by the organization. This category may include activities both upstream and downstream of the business perimeter, such as the extraction and production of purchased raw materials or emissions occurring in the use-phase of the products sold. The total emissions of the categories considered in the calculation amounted to around 11 million tonnes, a value about ten times higher than that of the Group’s total direct and indirect emissions (scopes 1 and 2). The highest values are related to the sale of electricity and gas (9.8 million tonnes) to customers. The share of emissions related to non renewable electricity sold to customers decrease compared to 2017 as a result of the increase of the purchase of renewable energy, as indicated in the next paragraph.

Greenhouse gas emissions avoided (thousands of tonnes)




Energy production from renewable sources



White certificates



Internal energy efficiency measures



District heating



Separate waste collection



Electricity from renewable sources sold



of which electricity from renewable sources sold to customers with “Pacchetto Natura” and purchased for Hera Spa, Marche Multiservizi and AcegasApsAmga



of which electricity from renewable sources sold under contracts without the “Pacchetto Natura” option (purchased with Guarantee of Origin Certificates)


of which electricity from renewable sources sold under contracts without the “Pacchetto Natura” option (national fuel mix)



Sale of recycled plastic by Aliplast






Considering the emissions avoided by producing energy from renewable sources, energy saving initiatives, district heating, separate waste collection and sales to customers of electricity produced from renewable sources, total greenhouse gas emissions avoided in 2018 amounted to 2.3 million tonnes. Comparing this value to the number of inhabitants served by the Group, 528 kg of greenhouse gases per person were avoided by Hera’s activities.

The greenhouse gas emissions avoided through the sale of renewable electricity can be broken in three components:

  • electricity from renewable sources sold for customers with “Nature Package” and purchased for Group companies consumptions, doubled from the previous year thanks to: (i) the purchase of renewable energy for all the operating activities of Marche Multiservizi and AcegasApsAmga, which are added to Hera Spa, which already used renewable energy from 2017; (ii) the increase in customers with “Nature Package”;
  • the electricity from renewable sources that the Group has chosen to purchase also for 2018 consumption of all free market household customers without “Nature Package”. The choice was made in March 2019, taking into account the availability of renewable electricity and the prices recorded on the market;
  • the electricity purchased on the market, which includes a component from renewable sources, assessed on the basis of the composition of the complementary national energy mix, which decreases from 17% to 2.7% in 2017, as better detailed in the paragraph following. To calculate this quota, the last available data are used, which refers to the year preceding the one to which the sustainability report refers.

The purchases of renewable energy are guaranteed by the Certificates of Guarantee of Origin (GO), which attest precisely their origin from renewable sources. For each MWh of renewable electricity fed into the grid by qualified plants, the GSE (national electric grid manager) issues a GO certificate, in accordance with Directive 2009/28/EC. With effect from 1 January 2013, sales companies are obliged to purchase a quantity of GO securities equal to the renewable electricity sold, by 31 March of the year following that in which renewable electricity was supplied to customers finals.

The commitment to reduce our customers’ carbon footprint

We implemented many activities to help our customers reduce their emissions by using better tools to control their consumption or by implementing energy saving measures.

In 2018, the offer of energy-saving solutions to Hera Comm customers continued, such as the Consumption Analysis Report, Hera LED, Hera Thermo and Hera ContaWatt, described in the chapter dedicated to energy efficiency.

The Hera Group also, via its subsidiaries Hera Servizi Energia and AcegasApsAmga Servizi Energetici works actively in energy efficiency improvement services, mainly addressing condominiums (who are offered a range of energy efficiency improvement solutions among which a system that provides individual metering of the heat and energy service), to large industrial customers (for which it operates as an ESCO) and the public administration (heat management with renovation of thermal plants and buildings).

In particular, in the industrial cogeneration sector, Hera offers multi-year energy supply contracts through the development and management of electricity and thermal energy production plants dedicated to meeting all the energy needs of top customers (15 plants operated, of which 3 are trigeneration plants, and over 14,227 tonnes of CO2 avoided in 2018).

In collaboration with external partners, the Hera team provides its own know-how to support energy audits and implementation of measures. As reported in the third edition of our “Value to energy” report on energy efficiency, Hera has supported the creation of 507 projects (from 2007 to 2019) of which 133 at companies in its service area, that saved 753 thousand toe, equal to the annual electricity consumption of about 529 thousand households and 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 avoided.

The electricity Hera Comm sells is partly generated from renewable sources. In 2017, the renewable share was 9% (was 19% in the previous year). Customers can check the share of renewables in the table published in their bill. The energy mix shown in the bills is calculated by the Energy Services Manager (GSE) by means of a complex procedure defined by the Ministry of Economic Development (as per Ministerial Decree of 31 July 2009). In detail, the electricity from renewable sources sold by Hera Comm is made up of two parts:

  • the renewable electricity that the Hera Group offers customers who choose this type of energy with the aforementioned “Pacchetto Natura”. Thanks to Hera Group’s initiatives, the quantity of renewable electricity sold through specific offers from 2016 to 2018 has tripled (12% in 2018);
  • the renewable part of the electricity that the Group purchases on the wholesale market, for customers who decide to not use renewable energy. In fact, part of the electricity bought on the wholesale market is from renewable sources, but at the time of purchase there is no distinction by source. This is only reported in the year following the year of sale. From 2015 to 2017 the share of electricity from renewable sources in the wholesale market has dropped from 27% to 3%.

The combination of these two factors (the growth in direct demand for electricity from renewable sources on the one hand and the vertical drop in the share of renewable sources in the wholesale market on the other) means that the percentage of energy from renewable sources purchased by the Group has decreased overall.