In order to ensure that social responsibility and sustainability are an integral part of corporate planning and management, in May 2005, the Board of Directors of Hera Spa set up a Corporate Social Responsibility organisation unit, reporting to the Managing Director, which has been a Department since 2010. Hera has thus been one of the first companies in Italy to endow itself with a unit dedicated to corporate social responsibility. As from 1 March 2019, on a consistent basis with the development process undertaken in the last few years, the CSR Department was renamed the Shared Value and Sustainability Department. Management is responsible for proposing and defining the company guidelines on corporate social responsibility and on the creation of shared value as well as the policies concerning reporting and accountability of the shared value and on sustainability; it oversees the balanced scorecard system, drafts the reporting on sustainability and proposes initiatives within the CSR/CSV sphere; it works together on the stakeholder engagement initiatives and is responsible for the periodic up-date of the Group’s Code of Ethics. The SVS director is a member of the Group’s Ethics and Sustainability Committee.
The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) function is present in AcegasApsAmga; it reports to the Executive Director and ties in with the General Manager, and is responsible for co-ordinating, supplementing and applying – in the geographic and corporate context managed – the company guidelines relating to corporate social responsibility, as well as the policies regarding reporting and accountability on sustainability and ensuring the drafting of specific reports and KPIs regarding sustainability and CSR, ensuring information for top management on the trend of the pertinent aspects.
The Code of Ethics
The Code of Ethics is the document that contains the commitments and ethical responsibilities to be implemented by the managers, the workforce and collaborators of the Group for the achievement of corporate objectives. The Code of Ethics guides the business management and the individual conduct towards the observance of the ethics values and the principles of the functioning of Hera which represent, together with the mission, the basis of the principles contained in the articles which make up the Code. Supplier qualification is subject to acceptance of the Code and the supply contracts drawn up by the Group include termination clauses linked to the failure by suppliers to comply with the principles of the Code of Ethics.
The Code of Ethics was approved by the Board of Directors in 2007 and is subject to checking and up-dating on a three-yearly basis by means of a participative process which see all the workers and the trade unions involved. The current version of the Code of Ethics (the fourth) was approved by the Board of Directors in February 2017; during 2019, the fourth participated process for the checking and possible up-dating of the same will be carried out.
All the new recruits and the new employees entering the Group further to corporate acquisitions are involved in a half-day training session on the contents of the Code of Ethics via the ethical game AlfabEtico. Furthermore, since 2013 the Hera Group has undertaken an intense programme for raising awareness on the Code of Ethics annually addressing 25-30 managers (management white-collars, middle managers and executives) by means of the Corporate Social Responsibility and Code of Ethics in current operations seminars.
The SA8000 Quality, Safety, Environmental and Social Responsibility system
With regard to the Hera Group, 2018 was characterised by the changeover to a new certification body. In 2018 a European tender was called on conclusion of which Bureau Veritas Italia was awarded the certification services on all the schemes existing at the end of 2017 for the three-year period 2018-2020, for all the leading companies of the Hera Group.
Activities were launched in 2018 with the new body for the renewal and maintenance of the various certified schemes. All the certification activities concluded positively with the maintenance of the certification of the integrated quality, safety and environment, and energy system of Hera Spa and its direct subsidiaries including Inrete Distribuzione Energia, Uniflotte, Acantho and HERAtech, as well as the Herambiente, AcegasApsAmga and Hera Comm Groups.
In 2018 Herambiente, continuing with the process towards a circular economy, obtained the new certification of the biomethane produced and refined care of the Sant’Agata Bolognese (BO) plant. This certification, envisaged by Italian Ministerial Decree dated 23 January 2012 and compliant with the UNI/TS 11567 “National certification system for the sustainability of biofuel and bioliquids” standard is indispensable for being able to introduce the biomethane into the network as biofuel. It certifies that throughout the entire biomethane production chain, the criteria of sustainability have been satisfied for the purposes of the traceability and the mass balance.
With regard to AcegasApsAmga and its subsidiaries, in 2018 progressive interaction of the management systems of Hera Luce and AcegasApsAmga Servizi Energetici was carried out and will be completed in 2019 with the assignment to Bureau Veritas of all the certification services (9001-14001-18001-SA 8000-50001-11352 and F-Gas) for these companies as well.
Marche Multiservizi continued with the growth process of its integrated management system, confirming in 2018 all the quality, safety, environment and energy certifications with the current Body DNV-GL, and also extending the field of application of the certificates to the public lighting and traffic light system service, acquired during the year. Mention is made of the up-date of the ISO 9001 certification in line with the new review of the standard (ISO 9001:2015) and the attainment of the UNI CEI 11352:2014 Management of energy for companies which provide energy services (ESCO) certification.
In 2018, the first Group review was completed in which for the first time the results of the various management systems on the main environmental and safety aspects were presented to the Senior Management of the Group. This review provided Senior Management with elements for identifying new opportunities for synergy regarding the system aspects so as to achieve increasingly challenging objectives in terms of standardisation and simplification.
On a consistent basis, periodic alignment encounters were also launched between the company structures which see to the environmental, safety, quality and energy management systems. These encounters, with a view to collaboration and discussion, encourage the exchange of information and the achievement of the standardisation and alignment objectives between the Group companies.
Hera’s commitment to quality, safety, environment and social responsibility
Quality management systems establish the requirements that are necessary in an organisation to improve corporate processes in order to increase the satisfaction of final customers, who receive the end benefits of Hera’s services. The high diffusion of the Group’s certified management systems is shown in the following table.
|No. of companies||% of employees||No. of companies||% of employees||No. of companies||% of employees||No. of companies||% of employees|
Hera adopted a process during 2018 which concerns the entire certification system of the Group. Within this context, the possibility of obtaining the new UNI ISO 37001 certification for the prevention of corruption for Hera S.p.A. was assessed, the changeover from the OHSAS 18001 to the ISO 45001 was analysed and in conclusion a possible simplification of said certification was assessed.
The international SA8000 standard, for example, has by now become a consolidated company asset, deep-rooted at every level in the various daily practices of Hera’s activities. Certification of this kind for the Group also presents a number of aspects of overlapping with other certifications such as the OHSAS 18001 relating to health and safety. With regard to Hera S.p.A. and AcegasApsAmga S.p.A. the decision was therefore made to archive the fulfilment of a formality abundantly outdated by the standards and the performances which the company automatically establishes, as also emphasised by the certifying bodies which have several times remarked on the efficiency of the control system on the suppliers, the careful management of the findings and an elevated supervision of the management system. SA8000 will by contrast be maintained for Hera Luce S.r.l. and AcegasApsAmga Servizi Energetici S.p.A., in awareness of its importance for the purposes of participation in the tenders.
The rooting of the principles sanctioned by SA8000, therefore, is not in discussion and continues to be applied in all the Group companies by means of the corporate Code of Ethics whose principles already ensure a more ample coverage of the same SA8000.
In this context, can be highlighted two aspects:
- the path of defining a single policy for all the companies in the Group that will include the principles of social responsibility not only for workers but for all stakeholders, will continue;
- the responsibilities of the “Ethics and Sustainability Committee” have been extended for the precise purpose of encouraging and monitoring the Group’s commitment on sustainability, on a consistent basis with the approach which envisages its integration in the business activities and with particular reference to the objectives of creation of shared value.
The continuity in the change is guaranteed both in the supply chain, where attention to the work conditions will be maintained, since the activities for the control of these aspects are by now encoded in the corporate procedures, and in the work conditions of the employees: the survey on the internal climate will continue without any changes and the aspects dealt with by the Social Performance Team will fall within the various dialogue and discussion channels already active (for example, encounters with the trade union organisations and the safety round table with the H&SS Officers and the Workers’ Safety Representatives (WSR)).
The continuity is also guaranteed with regard to the reporting inherent to the work conditions and the aspects of sustainability which may be addressed to the “Ethics and Sustainability Committee”.