Short for Local Advisory Board, LABs are the tool that Hera provides to the areas in which it operates as structured channels for listening to and discussing with local communities. In 2018, the new HeraLab model was launched in the areas of Ravenna and Ferrara, and defined on the basis of the experience started in 2013. The new model is simpler and focuses more on innovation in the services managed by Hera. Meetings are organised over one year instead of three and more space is given to listening to stakeholders. Made up of 12 local stakeholder representatives, the members of the new LABs appointed by the Hera Board of Directors in November 2017 met 5 times in each single area during 2018.
Considering the 6 LABs (of the previous and new edition) as at 31 December 2018, a total of 98 meetings were organised (equal to over 2,100 hours of listening) and 69 members planned and proposed to Hera 68 new projects, 44 of which have already been developed. Specifically, in 2018, 10 ordinary meetings were held and a visit was made to the waste selection, district heating and waste-to-energy plants in Ferrara.
In 2018, 12 projects were co-designed thanks to the new LABs in Ferrara and Ravenna, which will be developed during the following two years.
The 6 projects in Ravenna:
- Partecipiamo a macchia d’olio (Spreading like an oil spill). The aim of the project is to promote waste oil collection through an awareness-raising campaign that involves all local associations and awards a prize to communities based on the results achieved;
- Piccoli robot nascono! (Small robots are born!) The purpose is to find reusable goods in the reuse area at the Separate Waste Collection Centre of Ravenna Romea Nord, thanks to the participation of the Angelo Pescarini “Arti e Mestieri” School and other non-profit organisations that will supervise their recovery and their use for social purposes;
- Zero plastica in mare (Zero plastic in the sea). The project intends to develop a virtuous circle through cooperation with fishermen’s unions and other stakeholders, in order to promote the collection of plastic from the sea during fishing activities;
- E scartoz. This project belongs to the food waste prevention initiatives and regards the creation of a “green” restaurant network that promotes the practice of using doggy bags for leftovers;
- Consuma bene e raccogli meglio! (Good consumption and better collection!) The aim of the initiative is to integrate separate waste collection with drop-off points at shopping centres for the collection of quality plastic or other waste;
- Dal rubinetto, please! (From the tap, please!) The aim is to promote the consumption of mains water by shopkeepers and public services for their customers, in order to prevent and reduce the environmental impact resulting from bottled water consumption.
The 6 projects in Ferrara:
- Educational campaigns and foreign language communication. The project intends to use different forms of communication that are closer to citizens, especially students and foreigners, regarding the rules that must be observed to properly separate waste and at the same time keep the city clean and protect its integrity. This will all be achieved through simple, clear and multilingual communication actions and by involving local non-profit organisations;
- 10 in condotta (Conduct: top marks). Communication project aimed at effectively explaining the complex nature of the water service also as regards network breakages: from the moment of breakage to when the problem is solved;
- I numeri parlano chiaro (Numbers speak clearly). Develop an information system that uses several tools – such as a flyer attached to the bill – to allow citizens to become aware of how the waste they separate at home is used;
- Compost you! The purpose of the project is to promote home composting among families and self-composting to target users (such as social vegetable gardens). A communication campaign will be launched to enhance biodegradable organic waste and to promote home composting, through which citizens can collect organic waste, especially green waste, and then use the compost they have produced in a circular economy perspective;
- Differenziare: il valore del tuo/nostro impegno (Separating: the value of your/our commitment). The aim of the project is to help citizens become more aware and informed of waste-related issues through the use of indicators inside the Separate Waste Collection Centres and at Hera’s customer branches;
- Sportello in centro (Branch office in the city centre). This initiative regards the opening of a Hera branch office for customers in city centres, which will particularly help elderly people (implemented in February 2019).
As in the first edition, the new edition will also have a Euro 150 “attendance fee” for every member and for every meeting which will be used by the LAB to support local sustainability projects promoted by public and non-profit organisations. In the Ferrara area, LAB participants decided to donate Euro 7,200 to the Agire Sociale Association, while in Ravenna, Euro 3,600 were donated to the Letizia Non-profit Association and Euro 3,600 to the National Autism Parents Association.
The Bologna and Rimini LAB members were appointed in January 2019. Work started in March 2019 with the first meeting on the awareness of Hera and on defining the key local issues that will form the LAB’s work areas.