Contenuto Responsible projects and services

Focus on people. Together with respect for the environment: case study

The satisfaction of people is a fundamental element for Hera Group's growth.
We want to provide environmentally friendly solutions that meet people's needs and offer high quality services. While always respecting the environment and the communities we serve. 

Our mission? To be closer to the citizens and increasingly effective in achieving our commitments. By combining our energy with that of the public, we can build the future together.

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Smart use of energy


More light and less consumption in 14 municipalities

In 2019, work was completed in the municipality of Tortoreto (TE), where almost all the existing lighting points were upgraded with about 3,600 luminaires equipped with LED technology. The works to make the plants compliant and to ensure they are safe include, among other things, the replacement of sections of the power line, for a total of over 11 km. Special attention was paid to the architectural and scenic lighting to highlight the historical and outstanding elements of the municipality, revitalizing the walls along the provincial road near the gate to the fortified town. We expect energy savings of over 70% compared to the initial state of the systems, which means about 350 toe, and a reduction of about 325 tonnes/year of CO2 emissions.

Work has also been completed in Caprino Bergamasco (BG), Madone (BG), Suisio (BS), Marcheno (BS), Sarezzo (BS), Attimis (UD), Mariano del Friuli (GO), Martignacco (UD), Pasian di Prato (UD), Piacenza d’Adige (PD), San Canzian d’Isonzo (GO), Vighizzolo d’Este (PD) and Vivaro (PN), while work began in Longiano (FC), Bernate Ticino (MI), Curno (BG), Carbognano (VT), Paliano (FR), Cervia (RA), Misano Adriatico (RN), Boltiere (BG), Pedrengo (bg), Roncofreddo (FC), Lugo (RA), Romans d’Isonzo (GO) and Padua in the Arcella district.

The work carried out in 2019 will save 5,124,000 kWh of electricity every year, amounting to 958 tonnes of oil equivalent. Considering as 2,700 kWh per year the average electricity consumption of a household of four people, the amount of energy that will be saved each year with the measures implemented by Hera Luce in 2019 is equal to the annual consumption of 1,898 households.

In 2019, Hera Luce was awarded the contract for the assignment and management of the works to improve the efficiency of public lighting systems in the municipalities of Paliano (FR), Cervia (RA), Boltiere (BG), Pedrengo (BG), Roncofreddo (FC), Lugo(RA), Tavullia (PS), Endine Gaiano (BG), Roncadelle (BS), Torre de’ Busi (BG), Ferrara (FE), Orgosolo (NU), Valtopina (PG) and Ovindoli (AQ).

Hera Luce’s work to improve the efficiency of public lighting contributes to achieving target 7.3 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Energy consumption: -18% in Modena

The contract entered into by the Hera Group and the municipality of Modena is an important example of an energy supply contract, awarded to the Group as a result of a European public tender, competing with some of the leading companies in the industry.

The Hera Group, which partnered in the tender with AcegasApsAmga Servizi Energetici committed to providing significant results to the municipality in terms of energy efficiency improvement, to be achieved through both management improvements and energy renovation measures.

In particular, Hera Group’s offer included an 18% reduction of thermal energy consumption compared to the past (based on the average of the last five years) for the buildings included in the scope of the contract, and also planned to improve this performance by a further 10% due to energy efficiency improvement measures which will involve investments of Euro seven million in the initial years of the contract.

From the systems engineering point of view, the most significant investments concern implementing energy renovation measures for the thermal power plants, installing thermostatic valves on radiators, replacing burners, building solar thermal and photovoltaic plants, renovating lighting systems by installing LED lamps. “Passive” measures to limit heat dispersion from buildings also play an important role, including installing vertical cladding insulation on 12 buildings and insulating the roofs of 10 others.

In the start-up phase of the contract, since the plant upgrading work had not yet been carried out, the efficiency objectives were pursued by giving special attention to the management aspects of the service. From the very first year, this made it possible to reach and exceed the contractual target of 18% saving compared to the tender baseline. The management efficiencies have enabled us to approach 25%.

In 2019, an initial, significant part of the measures was carried out (approximately Euro 5.8 million out of the Euro 7 planned), both for plant upgrading and for “passive” measures, and their completion is expected in 2020. 

The energy efficiency measures required by the Modena heat management contract, contribute to achieving target 7.3 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

An annual report on energy saving

In the fifth edition of the “Value to Energy” report, published in July 2019 (on 2018 data), the Hera Group reported to its stakeholders the results it had achieved over the last eleven years, in terms of energy efficiency. Verified by an independent certification body, the report examines all the aspects of the multiutility’s commitment to saving and efficiently using energy, in the name of environmental and economic sustainability, in the interests of the area it serves and of its over four million customers.

Between 2007 and 2020, 635 projects have been completed and are planned that have and will enable the Group to save energy (108 were completed in 2018), saving approximately 891 thousand toe (tonnes of oil equivalent), corresponding to the annual consumption of 625 thousand households, and avoiding 1.7 million tonnes of CO2, equivalent to approximately 1.3 million fewer cars on the road for a year (travelling 10 thousand km).

Decarbonisation is crucial to fight climate change. This is the direction taken by both our energy efficiency measures and the other projects to promote the production of energy from renewable sources explained in the “Value to energy” report.

Energy efficiency has always been a fundamental objective for Hera Group, as we are committed to constantly seek and develop innovative solutions for both process control systems and plants. Energy efficiency is also considered the “fifth fuel”: the cheapest, with the greatest environmental benefit and one that can be generated by everyone, every day. Hera’s commitment on this front is shown by its results and also by Hera being given the CESEF Energy Efficiency Award, for 2018.

The publishing of the “Value to energy” report contributes to achieving target 12.8 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.


From separate waste collection of organic waste to 100% renewable biomethane


Hera has been producing biogas for years, using biodigesters and landfills, and using it to generate electricity. In the last two years, Hera has taken a further step: to refine it to make biomethane like the gas that flows in the pipes of homes.

The first project completed is the one located in Sant’Agata Bolognese, which uses the organic part of separate municipal waste as raw material to obtain biomethane; the biomethane produced is fed into Snam’s transmission network and transported to roadside service stations for use as fuel in methane-powered vehicles, also serving local public transport.

The process begins in a semi-dry, continuous flow anaerobic biodigester (consisting of 4 reactors in parallel) where the pre-treated organic waste (fragmented and after eliminated plastic, metal and undesirable material) is anaerobically digested, producing biogas and digestate. The digestate is then sent to the subsequent composting step that includes oxidation and final screening, to obtain high-quality compost. The biogas is sent to an upgrading section to separate methane from carbon dioxide and eliminate unwanted components until the biomethane meets the specifications required to feed it as natural gas into the grid. This process is the foundation of a perfect circular economy in which food waste makes natural gas that can be used to cook more food or even be used for heating and for vehicles.

The biodigester can process 100 thousand tonnes per year of organic waste and 35 thousand tonnes of pruning material from separate waste collection, and will produce about 7.5 million m3 per year of biomethane and about 20,000 tonnes of compost.

In December 2018, after an initial start-up phase, we started to inject our biomethane into SNAM’s network. In 2019 the plant completed its industrial commissioning, passed performance tests and operated at rated capacity from March onwards. In 2019, about 6.5 million m3 of biomethane were injected into the network, treating about 94 thousand tonnes of organic waste (a result in line with project forecasts, considering that in the first two months of the year the plant was not in industrial operation at full capacity). The biomethane injected into the grid is sold to power motor vehicles; by doing so Herambiente obtains the incentive through biofuel immission certificates (Certificati di Immissione in Consumo – CIC). The total investment amounted to Euro 37.5 million.

In April 2019, collaboration began with TPER (Bologna’s local public transport service) and Cotabo (Bologna’s taxi operator), to use the biomethane produced in the Sant’Agata Bolognese plant using the area’s separate waste collection, to feed four city buses and about twenty of Bologna’s taxis. The same biomethane also powers four service stations for the general public.

The biomethane-from-waste project contributes to achieving targets 7.2, 8.2, 9.1, 9.2, 9.4, 11.2, 11.6, 12.2, 12.4, and 12.5 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Energy recovery from methane decompression with General Electric

The project involves the exclusive developmentconstruction and installation of an experimental system, based on a patented technology, to recover energy from the pressure drop in R&M stations. It is a small to medium-sized turbo expander (330 kW electric) installed in the medium-sized R&M stations, in combination with a heat pump system that uses CO2 as a heat carrier fluid, designed to use in the process itself part of the electrical energy produced to preheat the gas.

A contract was signed in 2017 with BHGE for prototype testing of the system, and the design of the prototype and the complementary works necessary for its installation in the “Ducati” R&M station in Bologna were completed.

In 2018, we completed all the authorisation activities, the supplier completed construction of the machinery, all the necessary complementary works were carried out and the prototype itself was installed on the site.

In 2019, all production start-up activities and the provisional running phase were completed and performance and endurance tests were started and expected to be completed in the second half of 2020, when the machine will start operating at full capacity.

The methane decompression energy recovery project contributes to achieving target 7.3 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Hera Impronta Zero

In June 2019 we launched the new, 100% “green, “Hera Impronta Zero” electricity and gas offer, addressed to residential customers and small and individual businesses. The offer includes “GO”-certified electricity from renewable sources and the offsetting of the gas consumed by our customers by purchasing of carbon credits that support projects that offset CO2emissions for an amount equivalent to the consumption of the individual customer.

“Hera Impronta Zero” provides to our customers natural gas the CO2 emissions of which are offset by purchasing certified carbon credits, which subsidise international projects that reduce GHG emissions into the atmosphere.

The projects funded are certified by the highest international standards of carbon reduction:

  • the “Hydroelectric Project in Kinnaur District in Himachal Pradesh”, certified under the VCS standard and located in India, is a project for a run-of-the-river hydroelectric power plant. The project’s objective is to sustainably generate electricity in the northern region of India, avoiding the construction of a fossil fuel powered thermal power plant. The hydroelectric power plant will provide about 4,500 GWh per year of renewable energy and have a peak power of 1,000 MW during the year;
  • the “Süleoğlu Wind Power Plant”, certified under the Gold standard, involves the construction of a wind power plant in Turkey, to achieve environmental, social and economic benefits at the same time. The plant has an installed capacity of 66 MW and can generate over 200 GWh of clean energy per year, avoiding over 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

The Hera Impronta Zero offer contributes to achieving targets 7.2, 13.1, and 13.2 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.


Aliplast measures the carbon footprint of its products

In order to make available information on the carbon footprint of some products, Aliplast has developed a computer-based tool to rapidly calculate the carbon footprint of five types of product: PE granules, PE films, PET granules, PET plates, and PET scales. 

Aliplast commissioned this study to understand the environmental performance in relation to global warming of the above products, and therefore the quantity of GHG emission per functional unit of product (set as one kg), to identify the most environmentally critical phases of their life cycles and be able to act to reduce their environmental impact. The IPCC 2013 GWP 100a method, version 1.03, was used.

The project involved analysing the GHG emissions of Aliplast’s products and comparing them with those of the corresponding virgin products. The result is expressed in kg of CO2 equivalent associated with production. The CO2 equivalent is, in fact, the unit of measure used to describe the rate of emission of greenhouse gases with different climate-altering effects using a single index (the so-called GWP, Global Warming Potential). CO2 is used as reference by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and its GWP has been set at 1. The other gases are therefore converted into CO2 equivalents according to their GWP: for example, a gas that has climate-changing potential 21 times higher than CO2, is counted as 21 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. 

The analysis showed that in 2019, the production of more than 90 thousand tonnes, including PE Granules, PE Films, PET Granules, and regenerated PET plate, avoided the production of more than 170 thousand tonnes of CO2, corresponding to more than 430 thousand barrels of oil. The CO2 savings, obtained thanks to the contribution of suppliers and customers who believe in Aliplast’s recycled products, is equivalent to a reduction of more than 115,000 cars in a year, equal to those of an average Italian city. 

Aliplast intends to extend the analysis to all the Group’s manufacturing plants and to start from them to obtain even better performance with its future developments. 

Aliplast’s business contributes to achieving targets 12.2, 12.4, 12.5, and 13.2 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

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Efficient use of resources


European circular economy package: Hera leads the way

While in Italy the Council of Ministers approved, under preliminary examination, four legislative decrees implementing the European directives on waste, landfills and end-of-life vehicles (Council of Ministers of 5 March 2020) included in the “circular economy package”, Hera confirmed its targets on packaging recycling and landfill reduction, showing that it is ahead of both European targets for municipal waste.

In the Group’s service area, the targets for landfill use have already been achieved (3.4% at the end of 2019 compared to the 2035 objective of not over 10%) while we are on track to reach the target for recycling of packaging (72% in 2018 compared to a target of 65% by 2025 and 70% by 2030). The service area is also on track to reach the overall target recycling rate (53% at the end of 2018 compared to the 2025 objective of 55%, 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035). The data for these last two targets will be updated to 2019 in the coming months and as usual published in the “Tracking Waste” report.

Achieving and exceeding the European targets on municipal waste contribute to achieving targets 12.2, 12.4, and 12.5 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. The publishing of the “Value to energy” report contributes to achieving target 12.8 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Projects and collaborations with national and international networks for the circular economy

In October 2017, the Hera Group was the second Italian company to join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation‘s prestigious international CE100 programme and immediately started a close collaboration relationship to implement the projects carried out to create shared value through activities inspired by the circular economy principles. In addition to large groups concentrated mainly in Europe, the United States and South America, the programme also includes institutions, universities, small and medium-sized enterprises, with the aim of promoting awareness of these issues, the exchange of experience, the launching of partnership projects and collaborations in the field of research and development. Through the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Group has the opportunity to increase the exchange of ideas with other members of the CE100 programme, to increase the creation of shared value and contribute to long-term sustainable development.

2019 was the first year of reporting on the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, an initiative set up by the Foundation to make the plastics sector more circular, and joined by the Group in 2018 with challenging goals.

During 2019, the Hera Group also participated in the development of “Circulytics“, a digital tool that supports transition towards the circular economy. Launched in January 2020, the Foundation developed this tool in collaboration with over 30 international partners. It supports decision-making and the adoption of circular economy principles in business strategies, demonstrates strengths and highlights areas for improvement, provides transparency to investors and customers on circularity projects, to generate value in a multi-stakeholder perspective. Hera Group participated in the beta testing of Circulitycs with its Hera Luce subsidiary, a company that has long supported circularity in public lighting by including circular economy parameters in its tenders. In 2017 Hera Luce participated in the definition workgroup for the minimum environmental criteria (Criteri Ambientali Minimi – CAM) which is now recognised as a best practice in the field, in line with the criteria of the tool developed by the Mac Arthur Foundation.

Hera is also among the promoters of the Circular Economy Network, a project promoted by Fondazione per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile (a foundation for sustainable development) and by a group of companies and trade associations involved in the transition to a circular economy. Other significant events in 2019 included the first National Conference on the Circular Economy, held on 1 March in Rome, at which the Report on the Circular Economy in Italy, produced in collaboration with ENEA, was presented.

Moreover, since its foundation, Hera has been a member of the Italian Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ICESP), created in 2018 as a mirror of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform – ECESP initiative, which promotes the Italian way for circular economy, by involving Italian stakeholders committed to the issue. At the second ICESP Annual Conference, held by ENEA in Rome on 27 and 28 November 2019 at their headquarters and the Italian Chamber of Deputies, the priorities for the definition of a strategic agenda for the circular economy in Italy, as for other European States, were identified.

The projects and collaborations with Italian and international networks contribute to achieving targets 17.16, and 17.17 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. 

Hera Group’s commitment to the new plastics economy

Hera is one of the 250 companies worldwide, the only Italian multiutility company that in 2018 has signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme. The Foundation’s initiative has the ultimate aim of tackling the problem of plastic pollution at the source and making the entire supply chain more circular: eliminating disposable products as much as possible, producing and using only recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging and promoting the use of recycled plastic. For this reason, the Foundation has created a global movement, involving all players in the supply chain, such as plastic packaging manufacturers and companies that use them to pack their products, large retailers, recycling companies, but also governments and investors.

Hera Group is committed to:

  • increase by 2025 the amount of plastic collected in the municipalities served, by 30%;
  • increase by 50% the amount of plastic sorted and recycled by the Group’s plants;
  • increase the plastic recycled sold by Aliplast by 70%.

To date, the Global Commitment has been signed by more than 400 organisations worldwide:

  • 5 major investors who have committed to a plan worth over $200 million;
  • 19 governments and public administrations on 5 continents;
  • more than 200 companies active in the different stages of the plastic packaging value chain, which together account for more than 20% of the plastic packaging volumes used globally;
  • more than 200 institutions, including National Geographic, WWF, World Economic Forum, Consumer Goods Forum, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 50 universities and research institutions, 27 financial institutions.

The first Progress report was published in October 2019, and contained data from 176 companies (93% of those eligible for reporting, depending on the date they became members) and 14 governments/administrations (of the 16 eligible for reporting). The momentum created around the issue of the circular plastic economy is unprecedented and the initial progress made by the signatories is noteworthy. Despite this, efforts to eliminate the problem of plastic waste pollution at source must advance towards a higher level of ambition. The data reported on that occasion by the Hera Group was for 2018.

The data of the Hera Group at the end of 2019 show gradual and positive progress compared to the objectives, showing that the direction is the right one. Achieving the targets will be possible only by continuing the efforts on the innovation front and by leveraging the Group’s industrial capacity, but also requires the fundamental contribution of citizens, in the framework of a logic geared towards – also on this front – encouraging reuse and recycling, thus extending as much as possible the average life of products and plastic materials.

The same targets were presented by Hera in the context of the “EU-wide pledging campaign for the uptake of recycled plastics“, the campaign promoted by the European Commission to accelerate the diffusion of recycled plastics and achieve the European target of ten million tonnes of recycled plastic used for new products by 2025.

Achieving the objectives on the plastics supply chain contributes to achieving targets 12.2, 12.4, and 12.5 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

A new waste tariff for 13% of the residents served by Hera in Emilia-Romagna

During 2019, Hera managed the third year of application of large-scale quantity-based tariff, ending the trial phase and becoming fully operational, thanks to an integrated management of systems and processes that has allowed its effective and uniform application in all its aspects and phases, from customer management to the measurement of mixed waste disposed of, and up to final invoicing. The new system is a fairer and more transparent way to finance waste management services and can promote virtuous behaviour and participation in separate waste collection.

In particular, the first year of application of quantity-based tariff was completed in 8 municipalities in the service area, in addition to the 8 municipalities already applying it in 2018, for a total of 16 municipalities using the method in Emilia-Romagna.



Residents at 


Start year of quantity-based tariff

SWC band (%)





More than 85%

San Giovanni in Marignano




More than 85%





More than 90%





More than 90%

Castelfranco Emilia




More than 85%





More than 85%

Monte San Pietro




More than 85%

San Cesario sul Panaro




More than 85%





More than 75%





More than 75%





More than 90%

Marano sul Panaro




More than 85%

Misano Adriatico




More than 85%





More than 90%





More than 90%





More than 85%

The new tariff system has thus reached about 321,000 inhabitants in 2019, equal to 13% of the residents of Emilia-Romagna served by the Hera Group through the integrated management of municipal waste.

For these municipalities, the new quantity-based collection services have been activated and personal equipment for disposal has been distributed to all citizens and companies. For an effective and consistent introduction of the new tariff model and the new services, special control rooms have been set up jointly between Hera and the municipal administrations.

The necessary communication initiatives have also been taken to inform and involve users on how the new system will be introduced. Notable communication initiatives implemented include:

  • articles and press releases to report the initial results;
  • information meetings open to citizens and dedicated meetings for trade associations;
  • setting up additional information points to support citizens and distribution of information materials;
  • sending letters to homes to explain the introduction of quantity-based tariff to domestic and non-residential users;
  • systematic updating of the customer website with dedicated information for each municipality.

The increase in the percentage of separate waste collection, thanks to the behavioural change induced by quantity-based tariff, contributes to achieving targets 11.3, 11.6, 12.2, 12.4, 12.5, and 12.8 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Circular economy and separate waste collection: 92% has been recovered

For the tenth consecutive year Hera published its “Tracking Waste” report, which transparently and completely certifies that the percentage of separate waste collection actually recovered by the company reached 92% in 2018, divided into 91% of material recycling and 9% of energy recovery that is obtained exclusively in the plastic and green waste sectors. The initiative regarded the main materials that are collected separately: green waste, paper, organic waste, glass, plastic, wood, iron and metals (aluminium, steel and tinplate packaging).

The report, that for the first time covers the entire Group, shows a recovery rate of 97% for green waste, 92% for paper, 92% for organic waste, 96% for glass, 72% for plastic, 98% for wood, 98% for iron and 93% for metal, and over 302 kg of separate waste collected per capita.

To produce this year’s report, 46 companies were involved, that operate 60 first-destination waste plants. Thanks to them we have gone up the entire recovery chain, tracing the 179 final recovery plants managed by 165 companies that regenerated, renewed and entered into a circular economy cycle the waste from separate waste collection, reinstating it in the production cycle in a circular economy perspective. Of these, 45 plants are in the Group’s service area.

The report also includes two sections on Hera’s initiatives for the circular economy, which summarise the main initiatives for recycling and reuse and for the circular economy and the Group’s commitments and results in relation to the European Commission’s objectives in terms of recycling and use of landfills. Lastly, for the second year in a row, there is a section that for each material allows users to see the percentage collected separately and recycled, but also the portion still present in the mixed waste, highlighting the important effort still to be made by all.

The report was presented at the international Ecomondo 2019 event, and emphasizes how recovery is one of the key supply chains of the green economy. The circular economy of recovery, in fact, feeds 165 recovery facilities that employ a total of 20 thousand people and achieve a total turnover of over Euro 12 billion. To ensure maximum transparency and reliability of the data provided, the report was examined and entirely audited by DNV GL.

The extended contents of the project and further in-depth data can be found on the website\report.

The improvement in the rate of separate waste collection contributes to achieving targets 12.2, 12.4, 12.5, and 12.8 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

McDonalds and Coprob: two important partnerships signed in 2019 to “close the circle”

In November 2019, at Ecomondo – Europe’s reference event on technological and industrial innovation in the circular economy –- McDonald’s and the Hera Group signed an agreement to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of separate waste collection in the company’s 30 restaurants served by multiutility in Emilia-Romagna. The agreement, which starts on 1 January 2020, is designed to increase the separate waste collection of recyclable waste such as paper and organic waste, by implementing a monitoring action that constantly assesses the quantity, but above all the quality, of the waste produced. The project will last two years and will involve 30 restaurants in 14 different municipalities, for an average of 45,000 McDonald’s customers per day.

The project was born after a trial project that measured the quantity and quality of waste produced in McDonald’s restaurants in Ferrara, by putting in place specific actions to raise awareness on the correct disposal of each type of waste. According to the surveys carried out by Hera during trial project, these restaurants achieved an average of around 90% separate waste collection. Important data, which have led the two companies to set themselves the goal of achieving similar performance in other restaurants under their collaboration agreement. To do so, they will introduce a new model of waste container, designed jointly with Hera, to help customers separate what remains on their tray at the end of the meal more properly, so as to minimise waste disposal errors. For the success of the project, it will be fundamental to raise awareness and engage customers, who will be the recipients of a dedicated campaign that will also be carried out inside the restaurants.

Also in 2019, Herambiente and Coprob, a beet growers’ cooperative and the only sugar producer in Italy based in Minerbio (Bologna), started a five-year collaboration to use compost land used to grow beets. Herambiente will supply the Cooperative with the organic matter, i.e. the compost produced in the six, quality-certified Herambiente plants in Emilia-Romagna, to use in the fertilisation plans of the associated farms, to replenish the soil with the organic resources essential for its complete fertility. The aim is to feed the land with an organic product and at the same time experiment its use, to test its effectiveness, with a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the crops involved: a valid example of agreement between different production sectors that aims to address both environmental and productive issues. From the organic waste of the population, through the local separate waste collection, the matter returns to the soil, closing the biological cycle. From the 370,000 tonnes of waste treated each year, in fact, 50,000 tonnes of compost are obtained through a natural decomposition process. The recovery of organic matter in the company’s plants also makes it possible to produce biogas or biomethane.

The two important projects described here contribute to achieving targets 12.2, 12.4, and 12.5 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda, as well as – thanks to the partnerships developed – contributing to achieving target 17.7.

Evaluation of circularity with the Hera Luce tool

In 2017, Hera Luce developed an evaluation system to measure the circularity of public lighting systems in terms of life cycle, based on an analysis of material flows (materials used in relation to their origin and end-of-life destination) and economic flows (costs/revenues at the beginning and end of the life cycle). This approach to measuring circularity was already in line at the time with the guidelines of the Ministry for the Environment (MATTM), and was then confirmed to be consistent with the most recent international methodological approaches, such as the Circulytics tool developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation during 2019. As specified in another case study of this Report, Hera Luce also participated in the beta testing of Circulytics.

The system used to evaluate the circularity of Hera Luce’s installations also anticipated the requirements of the Minimum Environmental Criteria (CAM) for public lighting services, which since 2018 require that this evaluation be carried out in all calls for tenders. The CAMs were approved by Ministerial Decree on 28th March 2018 and they contain, in paragraph 4.5.4, the requirement for the Bidder to carry out the material balance. It should be noted that Art. 34 of Italian Legislative Decree No. 50/16 also states the mandatory compliance for tenders with CAMs by including in the design and tender documentation the technical specifications and contractual clauses contained in the minimum environmental criteria adopted in the decree of the Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea Protection. Since then Hera Luce has won tenders in the municipalities of Ferrara, Lugo, Tavullia, and Cervia.

The drafting of the material balance during the tender phase was a winning evaluation criterion during the tender phase and enabled Hera Luce to win the tenders. For example, the call for tenders issued by the Municipality of Ferrara awarded 10 points on the basis of the quality, durability, robustness of the proposed materials and on the environmental and social impact of the project and the materials. The call for tenders issued by the municipality of Lugo awarded 5 points for the preparation of the material balance and 6 points for the type of materials proposed, judged on the basis of quality, durability, robustness of the materials and environmental impact.

The evaluation system previously prepared by Hera Luce and the sensitisation process started with the suppliers, enabled the Company to win the tenders because it had built for itself an advantage over the competitors who did not appear, at least until the CAM came into force, to be attentive to the issues of circularity and environmental sustainability. Hera Luce’s efforts concerning circularity and sustainability have led the Administrations to consider it a partner capable of conveying the topics of sustainable, intelligent and supportive development and therefore to promote the achievement of the UN’s 2030 Agenda targets.

In coming years, the Hera Group will also extend the use of Hera Luce’s circularity assessment tool to water connection sites, in line with the internal circularity projects that the company has been implementing in recent years and which are discussed in this Report, such as the recycled plastic pipes produced and used on construction sites and the assessment of the circularity of supplies.

The use of the Hera Luce tool contributes to achieving targets 12.2, 12.4, and 12.5 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

With Riciclandino we help the environment and schools

Riciclandino is environmental initiative for young people and families that involves the part of a town’s residents that is tied to schools, considered as an institution and community of people. Under the project, the more separate waste collection is done by residents, by delivering their waste to drop-off points, the more points are given to their local school, giving it the possibility to receive financial incentives.

Families of students can use their Riciclandino Card to dispose of waste at drop-off points, obtaining a discount on their own bill, as per municipal regulations, and providing a matching incentive to their child’s school. The added value of the initiative is raising environmental awareness and sharing actions that create and strengthen the civic and social sense of the community.

The project was launched in 2010 in Ravenna. In 2019, the 18 municipalities of Ravenna and 22 municipalities in the Modena area joined the association, for a total of 40 municipalities. In the 2019-2020 school year, Riciclandino involved 246 schools in the province of Ravenna and 172 in the province of Modena, for a total of 74,580 students. The participating schools were awarded prizes for their work, amounting to over Euro 114,300. As part of the project, more than 787 tonnes were delivered to drop-off points in the province of Ravenna, and 821 tonnes in the province of Modena, for a total of 1,608 tonnes of waste brought by children and their families, 171 tonnes more than those collected in 2018.

The delivery of separated waste to the drop-off points by students and families contributes to achieving targets 11.3, 11.6, 12.2, 12.4, 12.5, and 12.8 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda, as well as – thanks to the involvement of schools – contributing to achieving target 17.7.

Cibo Amico (Food Friend): 100,000 complete meals recovered in Hera’s canteens since the beginning of the project

Launched in 2009 with the support of Last Minute Market, a company of the University of Bologna that promotes environmental sustainability and the fight against waste, Cibo Amico is a concrete action taken by our company to promote the development of the circular economy, linking different businesses of the area for a shared social responsibility, addressing a concrete help to the neediest. Currently there are five company canteens involved: Bologna, Granarolo dell’Emilia, Imola, Rimini and Ferrara. The recovered meals are donated to non-profit organisations in the area that provide hospitality and daily care for people in need.

In 2019 alone, more than 9,700 complete meals were recovered and given to four local non-profit organisations that assist about 115 people daily, corresponding to more than 4 tonnes of food worth over Euro 42,000. This also avoided the production of 4.3 tonnes of waste, corresponding to the capacity of about 10 bins and the emission of almost 19 tonnes of CO2 into the environment. In addition, the waste of water, energy and land consumption that was necessary to pack those meals was avoided.

After ten years from the start of the project around over 100,000 meals have been donated overall for an overall economic value of about Euro 417,000. This avoided the production of 44 tonnes of waste (corresponding to about 95 bins) and the emission of about 186 tonnes of CO2.

There are many partners of non-profit organisations in the area involved to ensure increasingly important results such as: Fraternità Cristiana Opera di Padre Marella – Pronto Soccorso Sociale of Bologna, Fraternità Cristiana Opera Padre Marella Città Dei Ragazzi of San Lazzaro di Savena, Associazione Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII of Rimini and Associazione Viale K of Ferrara. In addition, there are many partner organisations of the initiative, where the recovered meals are served: the Pronto Soccorso Sociale of Bologna, the “Gemma Nanni Costa” therapeutic community of San Lazzaro di Savena, Capanna di Betlemme of Rimini, Casa della Donne, Casa Mambro and Mensa in via Gaetano Pesci of Ferrara.

At the end of 2017, Cibo amico also went beyond company canteens to involve a city market. The initiative, created on the basis of a proposal of HeraLab Modena, is carried out with Consorzio del Mercato Albinelli and the collaboration of the municipality of Modena and the non-profit organisations Porta Aperta and CEIS Group. While in the canteens the objective was the recovery of unconsumed meals, the collaboration between Hera and the Albinelli traders aims to avoid the waste of the fresh products that, at the end of the day, can be left over on the market stalls: food that is still perfectly edible but that, for various reasons, the next day could no longer be sold. Food recoveries from individual retailers takes place every Wednesday and Friday when the Mercato Albinelli is open, it is mainly bread and baked goods, and fresh fruit and vegetables. There is now a virtuous alternative for these products, which otherwise would be thrown away, thanks to the collaboration between the municipality of Modena, the Hera Group and the market itself. Traders can choose to donate their unsold goods to the CEIS Foundation, so they can be recovered and used to benefit people in distress. In 2019, more than 3,700 kg of food was collected and reused by 28 operators who collaborated in the project. The Italian Bike Messenger (IBM) association is among the partners involved in the project, the headquarters of which is within the Mercato Albinelli and provides support for the delivery of surpluses in case of need.

Waste prevention initiatives, such as Cibo amico, contribute to achieving targets 12.2, 12.4, and 12.5 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda, as well as – thanks to the partnerships with the non-profit organisations – contributing to achieving target 17.7.

FarmacoAmico (“Medicine Friend”): more than 312 thousand packages of pharmaceuticals not yet expired have been recovered

FarmacoAmico is the project promoted by Hera to collect medicines that have not yet expired and to create a charitable reuse network in the local area. The intact pharmaceuticals, which must still have at least six months to go before their use-by dates and which have been properly stored, are thus reused by non-profit organisations that operate in local or decentralised cooperation projects. The goal is to prevent the production of waste, spreading good practices on the decrease of waste and supporting the organisations that help the weaker sections of society.

Launched in 2013, in Bologna, the Farmaco Amico initiative was jointly organised with Last Minute Market and currently involves 25 municipalities in Emilia-Romagna where there are about 1.5 million inhabitants (61% of the population served).

In 2019, more than 55,000 packages of pharmaceuticals (+21% on 2018 values) for a total value of more than Euro 668 thousand (+21.7% on 2018 values) were sent for reuse. The new activations that occurred during 2019 (Dozza, Ozzano nell’Emilia, Cintura Modenese, Cervia, and Cesena) and the coming activations planned for 2020, certainly confirm the growth of the project as a whole.

The project involved a total of 142 pharmacies and 28 third sector organisations, some of which operate in Italy and others abroad, as well as several partners, institutions, trade and business associations, for a total of 45 parties involved.

Since the beginning of the project, more than 312 thousand packages of pharmaceuticals with a total economic value of Euro 3.5 million have been collected and sent for reuse, corresponding to an equivalent saving for the National Health System. For the third year in a row, we cooperated with the ANT Association to promote an initiative to raise the community’s awareness of the FarmacoAmico project in the Bologna area, an initiative that involves students from high schools in Bologna, to support the school-work alternation paths required by the Italian education system.

Waste prevention initiatives, such as FarmacoAmico, contribute to achieving targets 12.2, 12.4, and 12.5 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda, as well as – thanks to partnerships with non-profit organisations – contributing to achieving target 17.7.

Cambia il finale (Change the Ending) is an ongoing success: 850 tonnes of bulky waste collected in 2019

The project, now at its sixth year of activity, makes it possible to intercept all objects in good condition otherwise to be disposed of as bulky waste and allow their reuse, thanks to a network of third sector organisations spread throughout the area, giving a new life to the goods donated by citizens. The project is linked to the specific memorandum of understanding between Atersir and Hera on the management of bulky waste, developed in collaboration with Last Minute Market. The goods can be donated by residents to a circuit of non-profit organisations in Emilia-Romagna that collect more or less bulky goods at their headquarters or door-to-door, giving them to second-hand markets, using them in their offices or donating them to people in need. The collection of goods carried out by our partner organisations is promoted through all of Hera Group’s communication tools, in particular through call centre operators, who offer users the possibility of donating bulky objects in good condition if they intend to dispose of them.

The initiative promotes good habits related to reuse and generates positive social effects thanks to the activities of the third sector organisations involved, in line with Hera Group’s social responsibility and environmental protection principles. It also responds to current developments in environmental regulations, which aim to establish a management model based on the concepts of prevention and reuse.

At the end of 2019, 18 participating partner organisations were distributed throughout the Emilia-Romagna region served by Hera, ensuring the coverage of all its main cities. In 2019, the organisations received over 8,600 phone calls from residents willing to donate bulky goods and performed over 6,700 collections, for a total of about 218,000 items and about 854 tonnes collected, confirming results in line with the previous year. The majority of the goods donated were dispatched to be reused, with an average percentage close to 75%: from January to December 2019 the project as a whole therefore made it possible to avoid a total of about 634 tonnes of bulky waste, an increase compared to the previous year with great savings to the benefit of the environment and lower charges for waste collection.

Moreover, as part of the “Cambia il finale” project, during 2019 two “reuse boxes” were set up in the municipalities of Modena and Ravenna, in addition to the “reuse box” installed in 2018 in the municipality of Ferrara. It is a real box inside the Hera Collection Centres, where residents can bring furniture and small objects that are in good condition, which are collected and sent for reuse by accredited third sector bodies. In 2019, 214 donations were made by citizens, for a total of 1,595 items, corresponding to 4,400 kg of goods.

Waste prevention initiatives, such as Cambia il finale, contribute to achieving targets 12.2, 12.4, and 12.5 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda, as well as – thanks to the partnerships with the non-profit organisations – contributing to achieving target 17.7.

Recycled plastic to be used for the pipes of future network services

The Hera Group, thanks also to the expertise of its subsidiary Aliplast, the Italian leader in plastic treatment and recycling, is the first company in Italy to start an important experiment to use recycled, traced-origin plastic to build polyethylene pipelines. The first construction site, where the laying of the pipes has just been completed, concerns a total of one kilometre of electricity grid, partly in the area of Modena and partly in that of Imola. The second construction site involved two kilometres of sewage network in the municipality of Bellaria-Igea Marina (RN), thus bringing further added value to the plan to safeguard Rimini’s bathing area, the largest sewage restoration project ever carried out in Italy. For the development of pre-production and for laboratory tests, Hera has made use of the expertise of Idrotherm 2000, Italian excellence in the construction of pipes for network services: this has allowed Hera to obtain a multilayer polyethylene pipe with low environmental impact, at least 70% of which comes from recycled material without any cost increase and with identical technical performance. After this initial phase, the new method of pipeline construction could be extended to other construction sites and, in the future, to other uses, thus making it possible to achieve important sustainability objectives. On the basis of the metres of new pipes that Hera lays on average over a year, the use of recycled plastic could in fact guarantee an estimated CO2 saving, for the electricity grid alone, of 126.6 tonnes, equal to the annual emissions of 95 medium-sized vehicles (assuming that each of them covers 10,000 km). Once the first experience of laying pipes in recycled plastic material has been successfully completed, a further refinement of the pilot project is on an industrial scale, which will involve the adoption of these materials in a further 4 pilot sites for laying and durability tests.

In addition, in 2020 to 2023, applying the principles of circularity, both material and economic, we plan to implement a circularity evaluation model to some simpler and more repetitive assets, in order to optimise them in terms of sustainability, by redefining standards and procedures.

The process envisages the following steps:

  • Project circularity evaluation system

Implementation of calculation tools to assess the material circularity of networks and systems throughout their life cycle, as already required for public lighting with the introduction of Minimum Environmental Criteria (CAM).

  • Process Optimisation

Application of the analysis system described above to certain types of assets, in order to optimise processes in terms of choice of materials, construction technologies and maintenance methods, to minimise the impact on material consumption and maximise the use of secondary raw materials.

  • Development of new standards and procedures

The results of the analyses so developed will be translated into new standards and procedures to design, build, operate and maintain the assessed infrastructure.

The project to apply circularity in construction sites contributes to achieving targets 12.2, 12.4, and 12.5 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

SCART®: the beautiful and useful side of waste

In 1998, Waste Recycling (a company now merged into Hasi) started up SCART®, an ecological and original project inspired by the desire to restore life to the materials that become waste every day. SCART® is now a registered trademark throughout the European Community under which exclusive works and installations are 100% made of waste. Its goal is to encourage responsible behaviour versus environmental matters, offering new stimuli to create useful and artistic objects starting only and exclusively from waste as their raw material. As a result, sofas, armchairs, tables, chairs, lamps, drawers, games, musical instruments, clothing, and installations were made, but also scenery for shows and costumes. SCART® is an invitation to think of new styles of intelligent, creative and most importantly sustainable life.

Many initiatives at national and international level, such as the important conventions with the Academies of Fine Arts in Florence, Bologna, and Ravenna, involve many students every year at the seminars and workshops held at the SMART® located within Hera Group’s facilities in Santa Croce sull’Arno and Pisa. These are artistic and training initiatives addressed to students and their topic is experimentation on the artistic use of industrial scrap. Over the years SCART® has also participated in many national exhibitions – those held at Ravenna, Imola, Modena, Pisa, Udine, Bologna and Padua, to name a few – and international exhibitions (Berlin 2016). Since 2012 the SCART® project has been the exclusive partner for the production of costumes and stage components for Andrea Bocelli’s concert at the Teatro del Silenzio in Lajatico, the small Tuscan town where the great tenor was born. About 250 costumes are made for each edition, using exclusively industrial processing waste that is collected, chosen and sorted in the SCART® Laboratories of the Hera Group. For the 2019 edition of the Barcolana, the historic international sailing regatta that takes place every year in the Gulf of Trieste, Alice, a large installation in Piazza dell’Unità, was created: it is a giant sardine over 10 meters long, made by reusing about 5 thousand bottles and plastic bottles. Thanks to the power of art and the extraordinary media influence that the Barcolana is able to arouse, we were able to promote awareness of the importance of the circular economy, on which the Hera Group is constantly engaged, an essential tool to protect the sea and biodiversity.

Aliplast’s business contributes to achieving targets 12.2, 12.4, 12.5, and 12.8 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

More trees in town thanks to Hera’s drop-off points

The “More trees in town” continued again in 2019. It was created in collaboration with the Municipality of Modena and is designed to increase an urban forestation project, encouraging citizens to use drop-off points more. Thanks to this initiative, in fact, again for 2019, Hera donated a tree to the city for every 50 new households that disposed of their waste at the drop-off points. For the second year in a row the collaboration and commitment of the people of Modena have led to achieving the project objectives, since, as a result, at the end of 2019, more than 200 plants were donated to the city’s Chinnici Park, 170 of which have already been planted: 20 more than last year!

Following the example of the positive experience in Modena, and again in collaboration with the municipal administrations, “More trees in town” was also launched in Ferrara – where 70 trees were donated between March and December 2019 and (towards year end) also in Rimini, setting the same objectives for 2020 as done for Modena.

The project was developed to encourage greater use of Hera’s drop-off points: this behaviour, in fact, is beneficial for the environment and for the appearance of city streets because it helps to reduce the phenomenon of waste abandonment and to increase the quantity and quality of separate waste collection, and it also translates into an economic advantage for citizens: the municipality grants users a discount on the TARI waste tax for each kg of waste disposed of.

In 2019 “More trees in town” also became operational in the Northeast: AcegasApsAmga, in fact, started the project in the city of Padua by planting a tree for every 3 accesses to the drop-off points. The initiative was very successful, in fact, 1,000 trees were donated, planted in early 2020 in public parks in two different districts of Padua.

“More trees in town” has made it possible to improve air quality and mitigate the negative effects of climate change: each tree can capture around 100 kg of CO2 annually.

According to calculations, once fully operational, the plants donated by Hera will be able to remove 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air every year, which is equivalent to the amount produced by a car travelling 112,000 km.

Some details of the initiatives are available at:,,

The “More trees in town” project contributes to achieving targets 11.3, 11.6, 12.2, 12.4, 12.5, and 12.8 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.


The Rimini Seawater Protection Plan continues

The Seawater Protection Plan aims to eliminate swimming bans and reduce the pollution measured in terms of COD by 90% by 2020, through structural measures on the sewage and purification system of the City of Rimini.

The numerical modelling of the sewage and purification system which started in 2014, led to further optimisation of the measures that had been planned for the system of tanks that serves the southern area of Rimini and to the identification of three additional measures. By introducing a different way to handle rainwater, the optimisation of the tanks – together with additional measures that involve the construction of the works called the Ausa backbone sewage collector, Mavone spillway and the sewage pumping system in via Santa Chiara – sets up synergies that significantly reduce the risk of flooding in most of the built-up area where this problem often occurs and thus expands the objectives of the plan to include the mitigation of hydrological risks. In this regard, it should be noted that in December 2019 the Dorsale Ausa project received a contribution of approximately Euro 8.5 million in public funding for hydrogeological instability under the “Italia Sicura” initiative.

The Plan is currently essentially made up of its original ten measures, plus the filling of the Ausa Canal, added in 2015, and the additional measures mentioned above, for a total of 14 measures.

The further optimisation of the Plan, with the required design improvements and the necessary permitting, made achievement of the environmental objectives, initially planned for 2020, slip to 2024. It should be noted that by that year, the works necessary to reduce the city’s hydrological risks will also be completed: the extension of the timeframe for implementing the plan as initially envisaged is closely linked to the substantial improvement of the Plan’s impact on the city, which, for all the above reasons, will benefit from a significant improvement in both hydrological and environmental performance.

The progress of the construction work does not lead us to expect any significant issues and the quantity goals we have set are in sight. All other measures are in progress and in the design phase.

The situation of the 14 measures is as follows:






1. Doubling of the Santa Giustina purification plant



Purification process improvement

2. Conversion of the Rimini Marecchiese purification plant into a collection tank



Purification process improvement

3. Construction of the Dorsale Nord backbone, for drainage of the Bellaria purification plant into the S. Giustina treatment plant



Purification process improvement

4. Completion of the separation of sewage networks in the northern area of Rimini

Construction of second portion in progress
(first portion completed in 2018)


Conversion of 5 sewage drains discharging into the sea into rainwater drains (of which 3 already under the 1st portion)

5. Construction of the Dorsale Sud backbone

The third portion of the pressure unit and the third portion of the pumping stations are under construction
(second portion completed in 2018)


Reduction in the number of openings of the Ausa and Colonnella I drains into the sea

6. Completion of the separation in the Roncasso and Pradella basins

Design in progress


Conversion of 2 sewage drains into the sea into rainwater drains

7. Construction of subsea pipeline and pumping station for the Ausa basin and reservoirs

Construction in progress


Reduction in the number of openings of the Ausa drains into the sea

8. Construction of hospital balancing reservoir



Reduction in the number of openings of the Colonnella I drains into the sea

9. Construction of conduit between Fossa Colonnella I and Fossa Colonnella II; Vasca Colonnella II and Vasca Rodella and subsea discharge conduit

Design in progress


Reduction in the number of openings of the Colonnella I, Colonnella II and Rodella drains into the sea

10. Isola sewage decontamination



Optimization of the sewage system

11. Filling the Ausa beach stretch



Improvement of the usability of the area and of its environmental conditions

12. Sewage collector of Ausa backbone

Design in progress


Reduction of hydrological risks

13. Mavone spillway



Reduction of hydrological risks

14. Sewage pumping in via Santa Chiara

Construction in progress


Reduction of hydrological risks

The completion of seven measures has produced significant environmental benefits, reducing the quantities of organic substances (COD/BOD) discharged into the sea during intense weather events.

We had to postpone completion to 2020 for the two works scheduled for completion in 2019 (construction of the subsea pipeline and the pumping station for the Ausa basin and reservoirs and sewage pumping in Via Santa Chiara). This rescheduling is due both to the adverse weather conditions on average in 2019, which led to extensive stops in the laying of subsea pipelines, and to the significant financial difficulties of the contractors, which caused significant delays in the work. The measures, planned for 2020, will lead to a considerable reduction in the pollution load discharged near the shore, with benefits for the quality of the water on the coast. This will mean that the bathing bans that occur if discharges are opened up along a large part of the city’s coastline, including both areas where the separation of the sewage networks has been completed and the stretch of sea bordering the Fossa Ausa, will no longer apply. From this point of view, since 2017, 3,084 metres of beach have been “freed” from bathing bans and in 2020 we expect to increase to 5,584 metres.

Moreover, as a further proof of the strong link between the Plan and the City of Rimini, it is highlighted that a part of the measures under the Plan will be integrated into the broader coastal redevelopment project called Parco del Mare, so as to pursue synergies that can provide an overall improvement of the urban structure of the city.

The Rimini Seawater Protection Plan was included among the best practices in the SDG Industry Matrix report published by the Global Compact and KPMG in 2017, which reports on business opportunities linked to the objectives of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

By applying measures to improve the water and sewage systems, reducing marine pollution, upgrading the infrastructure, while involving municipalities and citizens in the project, the Rimini Seawater Protection Plan contributes to achieving targets 6.2, 6.3, 6.b, 9.1, 9.4, and 14.1 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Responsible projects and services accordion 3

Innovation and contribution to development


Social innovation: The Heureka Project

Heureka+ is Hera group’s social innovation platform created at the end of 2016 to give all colleagues a space where they can gather suggestions and ideas that can improve and enhance the business processes for products and services. Employees can, therefore, submit their innovative proposals, jointly develop ideas with colleagues, contribute ideas, or vote on the proposals of others

In 2019, we released the third edition of Heureka+, which presented many new features while maintaining its original purpose: to create a large container of ideas generated by colleagues in an increasingly collaborative way. 

The first new aspect of the third edition is a new graphic design, designed to make the user experience even easier and simpler. Navigation, in fact, has been made easier and compatible both with PCs and mobile devices, such as tablets or smartphones. Sending proposals and sharing them with colleagues is possible from anywhere, at any time, and with any device. 

The system of challenges, already present in previous editions, has been accompanied by the mechanism of the Ide@labs, 5 rooms characterised by a macro-category to refer to submit an innovative idea:

  • circularity and shared value;
  • services for employees;
  • services for customers;
  • assets and infrastructure;
  • digitalisation, and data analytics.

All the proposals are reviewed and evaluated by a team of experts, the Innovation coaches, who aim to encourage the development of the most promising projects up to the creation of a real concept, i.e., the phase of the design and implementation of the fundamental elements that transform the dream into reality. 

The other aspect that is given importance is that of sharing and co-creation. A new section has, in fact, been set up within the platform: the Ideas Marketplace, where everyone can report a need, look for new ideas and offer suggestions to the company.

The last new element is the gamification mechanism that provides contests and games with prizes to get points, badges and other awards to make the use of the site fun without, however, forgetting its main function: to innovate. 

The new edition was launched on 21 October 2019, and in its initial months of activity was a great success: about 750 users visited the site, for a total of almost 20 thousand pages viewed

No fewer than 56 ideas have been submitted to the different Ide@labs; many people (almost 250 comments so far) have discussed and voted the suggestions: the ones considered best have been addressed by the Innovation Coach team. Besides, the team is working to create a real innovation community, outside the context of the platform, to share experiences, proposals, ideas and contacts. 

Among the 10 ideas already adopted by the Innovation Coach there is, for example, the “Hera Free Spot – work everywhere” proposal, which calls for a mechanism that makes your workstations available to other colleagues when you are not in the office, optimising space and work. 

3 ideas are already at the concept stage and are almost ready to be turned into reality, such as: 

  • Drink and Fly, a pilot project to create an innovative, modular and interactive container for large public and private companies (e.g., airports), for separated collection of several types of liquid containers;
  • Amazon Alexa Skill: Rifiutologo, a project for the development of an Alexa skill that responds in real time with data from the Rifiutologo app to help citizens recycle in a new, more sustainable way: straightforward, innovative, practical and effective;
  • Training simulator, the project to introduce in the company the systematic use of augmented reality and virtual reality tools in training on health and safety issues in the workplace.

During 2020 new challenges will be launched, the Innovation Coach team will be expanded, and some features of the Heureka+ platform will be improved.

Hera, Iren, Smat and A2A together to improve the integrated water service

On 8 April 2014, Hera, Iren, and Smat signed a five-year partnership agreement to carry out applied research to develop joint research, innovation and training projects in the sectors and activities related to the integrated water service.

During 2019, work continued by Hera, Iren, Smat, and A2A on the development of a methodology for controlling Legionella pneumophila in the water systems they run. The working group coordinated by A2A has drawn up some chapters of a guideline for use by operators and has carried out some monitoring, by checking for the possible presence of Legionella throughout the supply chain starting from the sources of supply up to certain points on the internal network. The results of these control campaigns highlight the absence of Legionella in drinking water. Two more check-up campaigns will follow, one in spring and one in summer. At the same time, work is continuing on the methods to search for cultures and for shipping them so as to identify the most reliable analysis method with the shortest response times.

During 2020, the activities launched during 2019 in relation to the chlorites and chlorates project will continue. Among the main topics for further study:

  • criteria currently adopted for the purchase of sodium hypochlorite and sodium chlorite;
  • data collection on chlorate concentration (in the supply, after storage and neoformation during the treatment process);
  • identification of the causes of degradation of the product during storage;
  • definition of technical supply requirements;
  • identification of innovative processes and technologies to reduce by-product formation.

Another project of shared interest concerns sensors for early warning purposes. The main topics that will be worked on during 2020 concern:

  • sharing the monitoring experience already acquired;
  • the examination of online monitoring needs, with early warning functions;
  • the description for the instruments used, the areas of use, the parameters monitored, the detection limits, and the installation requirements.

A further project to be developed during 2020 is the study for the production of bioplastics as polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) recovery from purification sludge. The project includes a phase of analysis and quantitative study of the application of full-scale technology (benchmark of the technologies available at the most advanced stage of development) and verification of the implementation of the process of biopolymer recovery and nutrient management (nitrogen and phosphorus) for some target plants (technical-economic feasibility).

The partnership between Hera, Iren, A2A, and Smat contributes to achieving target 17.17 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Acantho-Open Fiber broadband extension agreement

In 2019, Acantho signed an agreement with Open Fiber to extend broadband, expanding its geographical boundaries and ensuring greater ubiquity in relation to users reachable by fibre.

Open Fiber is not only a strategic supplier for Acantho, but also an important customer.

Thanks to this agreement, Acantho will be able to provide its customers with offers for the retail world, with connections up to one Gb and solutions for the business world up to 10 Gb. The extension for Acantho will be mainly geographical in scope, also serving customers in areas where its own optical fibre was not present.

Acantho has supported the Open Fiber network development roadmap by granting the rights to use its optical fibre for a total of about 500 km in the provinces of Modena, Bologna, Ravenna, Rimini and Forlì-Cesena.

For the city of Imola, Acantho has supplied Open Fiber with an 18 km fibre-optic ring, which is the primary network for the city.

The Acantho-Open Fiber Broadband Extension Agreement contributes to achieving targets 9.1, 9.2, 9.4, and 17.17 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

The Rifiutologo, an app for separate waste collection and more: over 300 thousand citizens use it!

The Rifiutologo is a free app with several features, available both online on the Hera website and on apps for smartphones and tablets. As of 31 December 2019, it has been downloaded over 390,000 times, and there are more than 215,000 active users of the application, proving the usefulness of the tool.

By “Searching for waste“, users can find up-to-the-minute information on the individual local collections or the dates of door-to-door collections scheduled for their address, and even set up a reminder for the day and time of each collection.

The service information is made available to users through the customer site and the app.

In addition, the “Waste management reporting” feature is now even easier to use. Residents can use it to report problems with the waste management services (such as damaged bins) by sending a real-time picture to Hera’s personnel, and correspondingly get a report back when the issue has been dealt with, besides customised push alerts. In 2019, 59,655 reports concerned emptying bins, cleaning roads and dumped waste (+53% compared to 2018), and 201 suggestions were sent on new types of waste to be added to the database.

Thanks to geolocation, the Rifiutologo App also shows the user the closest drop-off point, with complete information on the waste types accepted, the schedules, and any discounts provided by the Municipality. It also offers information on “Points of Interest” for citizens, such as special waste collection runs, mobile collection points, distribution points for materials, and underground drop-off points.

Another highly appreciated feature of the Rifiutologo is the “barcode scanner“, a feature which recognises materials by the barcode printed on products and shows how to properly dispose of each package, accessing an archive of 1,586,000 barcodes of the most widely used products as of 31 December 2019. For packages made of multiple materials, the app can provide instructions on where to dispose of each component. If a code is not recognised, or a type of waste is missing, the citizen can report the circumstance via the specific function so that it can be added to the system: in 2019, the 19,970 barcode reports were sent by citizens to update the database, compared to 12,233 in 2018. The searches carried out by scanning barcodes increased to 654,108 in 2019 compared to 430,266 in 2018.

Thanks to the information contained in the Rifiutologo and the reports from customers, its use contributes to achieving targets 11.3, 11.6, 12.2, 12.4, 12.5, and 12.8 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

With Acquologo, the entire water service is smartphone-accessible

Acquologo is a free application dedicated to the integrated water service, created to set up a communication channel between Hera and the citizens living in the service areas. Its usefulness is shown by it having been downloaded 8,497 times, and by the number of accesses: 32,038 in 2019 alone.

The app provides many useful features for users, ranging from self-meter reading to checking data on the quality of the water in their municipality, and includes alerts for water network interruptions for ordinary maintenance work and reporting breakage or leakage of water on public land.

The most used sections are “Water quality” and “Meter reading“. In the first one, Acquologo provides the main data (average values) on the quality of the water supplied for each of the municipalities served by the multiutility, comparing them with the regulatory limits; in the second one, citizens with a Hera bill can quickly self-read their meter and report the actual water consumption. In 2019, 3,581 readings were sent.

In addition to the most commonly used features mentioned above, there is also the evaluation of the economic savings generated by the consumption of tap water instead of bottled water, in the “How much you save” section, and the possibility to contact experts with questions and requests about the local water service or read the answers to the most frequently asked questions, in the “The expert answers” section.

On a trial basis, and only in some areas, the app can also be used to report major water leaks due to breakage of pipes under the road surface. After taking a picture and adding a brief text, users can send the report directly to Hera’s Emergency Service. By using geolocation, the system can rapidly detect the location of the report and provide it to the service personnel who will go to the site. During 2019, 72 reports were made using the app (photographic reports and calls to the toll-free number).

Thanks to the information contained in the Acquologo, its use contributes to achieving targets 6.b and 12.8 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

My Hera: Hera’s services accessible using an app

My Hera is the application, completely free of charge, dedicated to residential customers, freelancers and businesses, which helps our customers to manage their relationship with the Hera Group and the services it offers when they want, by themselves.

All the functions can be accessed from the My Hera homepage:

  • paying bills online and consulting the bills archive;
  • self-reading the meter;
  • monitoring the consumption trend and details;
  • showing the nearest drop-off points and Hera Points on the map;
  • accessing the “Rifiutologo” and “Acquologo” apps;
  • finding out about offers and new initiatives;
  • requesting electronic billing;
  • activating direct debit payment.

My Hera is also an additional channel to contact the company, since customers can use it to:

  • get help on contracts, bills, and payments;
  • activate the bulky waste collection service;
  • submit waste management reports;
  • alert emergency services operators if a network problem occurs.

During 2019 My Hera has been downloaded over 230,000 times, doubling its usage compared to 2018. It also achieved high satisfaction levels, with a ranking of 4.3/5.

Also, during 2019, some upgrades improved the user experience for the most used functions, and some new features were implemented. The main changes were:

  • improved access and use of telephone contact and live chat;
  • expansion of the range of payment methods available, with the addition of Apple Pay;
  • particular attention was paid to the specific section dedicated to the customers of the waste management service with the quantity-based tariff, adding charts and tables that help customers clearly and easily view the trend of their mixed waste disposals, linking them to the minimum threshold of annual disposals;
  • improved presentation of invoices issued and their payment status;
  • improved self-meter reading functions;
  • changes in the presentation of business opportunities and promotions and initiatives for our customers.

Digi and Lode, for more digital services and schools

Digi e Lode, now at its third edition, is the project that brings together customers and the company to digitise schools in the area by promoting Hera’s digital services under the patronage of 101 municipalities in the area.

Since the project began in 2017, the Group has already donated Euro 200,000 to 80 schools.

The project involves all first-level primary and secondary schools, public and state authorised, of the areas involved in Emilia-Romagna and, since 2019/2020, also in Marche and Abruzzo. For the school year 2019/2020 Digi e Lode has put up for grabs a total of Euro 125,000 to fund projects for the digitalisation of schools with students as the beneficiaries.

It uses the same mechanism: every time a customer activates one of the digital services offered by the Hera Group, it donates one point that can be assigned to a specific school (this way it is multiplied by five) or distributed among the schools of the customer’s municipality. The Hera Group rewards the schools in the area that achieve the highest score.

The digital services of the Hera Group that contribute to the project are:

  • online services, to manage services on the website;
  • information and support apps for virtuous behaviours (Acquologo and Rifiutologo);
  • service app (My Hera) for fast and easy management of contracts;
  • electronic billing, to receive bills quickly while respecting the environment;
  • direct debit, to pay bills easily and on time;
  • digital self-meter reading (using online Services, the app, text messages or on the phone using an automatic system);
  • Hera Fast Check Up, to be helped to reduce gas and electricity waste.

Digi e Lode consolidates the contribution that the Group wants to bring to its service area, as a continuation of the business strategies that identify innovation and sustainable development of the area and the activation of partnerships between the company, customers, municipalities and schools, as the leading drivers for the development of shared value, in line with the objectives of the UN’s 2030 Global Agenda.

The Digi e Lode project contributes to achieving targets 4.a, 12.8, and 17.17 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.


The “water leak fund”

In July 2014, Hera Spa defined a joint regulation across all the areas it serves that sets up a “leak fund” to protect customers in the event of water leaks in their plumbing system, i.e., downstream from their meter. This voluntary instrument partially covers bills of even very high amounts that are due to accidental and unknown leaks within a customer’s own plumbing system. By paying Euro 15 per year in their bill, participating customers can receive, for hidden water leaks within their system, a reimbursement for the entire amount for the volumes that exceed their usual average consumption by 80%, up to a maximum of Euro 10,000.

Participation in the fund is not compulsory, and customers may withdraw at any time by simply asking to do so.

The “leak fund” is exclusively designed to cover the additional costs incurred by customers that have a water leak.


  2017 2018 2019
Funds disbursed (thousands of Euro) 17,636 17,406 19,790
Number of customers that have benefitted from the fund 12,539 12,146 13,576
Average reimbursement (Euro) 1,407 1,433 1,458

The fund’s balance at 31 December 2019 is negative, at about Euro -2.840 million, (including interest income for previous fiscal years). The balance, for 2019 alone, is negative by Euro 1.500 million. The effect of the growth in the number of leaks downstream of meters, which became apparent significantly from the summer of 2017 and continued during 2018, also impacted 2019. In fact, despite the changes introduced on 01/01/2019 (a new method of charging the membership fee, which consists of a fixed fee of Euro 10/year per contract and a variable fee of Euro 5/year per property unit served) have made it possible to increase the annual fee available to users, the number of events reported by users in recent years, whose management has also impacted the year 2019, has been so high that it does not allow the planned recovery.

Nevertheless, during 2019 the number of requests for reimbursement for leaks decreased by about 7%, compared to 2018. This may imply, should the downward trend be confirmed, that during 2020 we could see a return from the negative values of the balance of the leaks fund.

Since the fund is exclusively designed to benefit its participating customers, and since the monthly balances were almost negative in 2019, no interest was calculated. Since its creation, the fund has reimbursed more than 65 thousand users and reimbursed over Euro 90 million. During 2019, 13,576 users benefited from the fund with an average refund of Euro 1,458. Less than 4% of customers is not covered by the “leak fund”. During 2019, just over 2 thousand customers withdrew from the fund.

The leak fund contributes to achieving target 6.b of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

The per-capita tariff rewards water savings and helps large households

In its resolution 665/2017 of 28 September 2017, Arera introduced a per-capita tariff for all resident residential users, to be gradually applied in all municipalities starting in 2018, and to be completed by 2022.

In fact, a transitional period has been set, during which the Water Service Operator, lacking information on the actual number of components, can invoice according to a standard criterion (i.e., considering a typical three-member resident domestic household user) although the user may provide a self-declaration.

As of 2019, Hera Spa will apply a per-capita tariff structure to resident households based on the actual number of components for 96 municipalities. For the other 67 per-capita tariff municipalities, Hera applies the tariff structure based on the number of standard components (equal to 3).

As of 2019, 16 municipalities in Triveneto (Abano Terme, Arzergrande, Brugine, Codevigo, Correzzola, Legnaro, Padova, Piove di Sacco, Polverara, Pontelongo, Sant’Angelo di Piove di Sacco, Cona, Trieste, Muggia, San Dorligo, and Duino Aurisina) and 48 municipalities in Marche switched to per-capita tariff.

The per-capita tariff contributes to achieving target 6.4 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

When environmental and social sustainability go hand-in-hand

Hera continues to be committed to initiatives dedicated to the support and social inclusion of people in difficulty and in disadvantaged conditions, through the following initiatives that have proven to be effective.

The RAEEbilitando project, initiated in 2010 with the collaboration of Consorzio Remedia, Opera dell’Immacolata Onlus (OPIMM) and Tred Carpi Srl, continued its activity until 30 June 2018, when the protocol expired. The partners then agreed to terminate the activity, which had been carried out in the Laboratory of Bologna, to allow OPIMM to plan and implement a set of measures to restructure the premises and to reorganise the logistical management of the spaces used for the various activities carried out within the Laboratory.

In this period, children and adults in disadvantaged conditions worked in the laboratory providing their energy and their commitment to disassemble no less than 132,000 kilograms of small electrical and electronic equipment into about 20 smaller categories of parts, thus ensuring for each of them the most appropriate type of recovery or recycling.

At year-end, the OPIMM Association confirmed its intention to resume operation of the Project in July 2020 and to have started the procedures for obtaining the new authorisation.

The Manolibera project, active since 2011 thanks to the collaboration between the Forlì prison, Hera and the Techne training institute, uses a laboratory inside the Forlì prison, in the form of an original artisan paper mill that produces paper products of high artistic value.

The exclusivity of its production methods and the refined decoration, make these products unique, refined and imbued with an important artistic, social, and ecological value that makes them particularly appreciated in the wedding planning field.

Thanks to the collaboration with the Cils Cooperative of Cesena, which is responsible for monitoring and checking the work done in the laboratory and with the Berti bookbindery in Forlì, the laboratory can support its operations and provide work placement for 4 inmates suitably supported by an appropriate training course.

Also in 2019 participation continued in fairs and events of the “ceremonies sector”, where the wide range of products for weddings and important events was presented: elegant invitations and refined thank you cards, photo albums complete with boxes, precious wedding favours, frames, and paintings.

The collaboration with the national network of prison economics “Freedhome”, the concept store dedicated to the excellence of Italian prison economics, helps to give broad visibility to the project.

The laboratory also employed 4 prisoners in 2019, and in total more than 40 people have been involved since the beginning of the activity.

The RAEEincarcere project was confirmed in 2018 for a further three years. This project, that started more than a decade ago at the prisons of Forlì, Ferrara and Bologna, was developed on the basis of a study and joint collaboration between Hera and the Techne training institute. These partners were joined by the Regional Government of Emilia-Romagna and many other bodies, such as the Ecolight recovery consortium, and local organisations. By doing so, the objective of the project, namely the social and working inclusion of men and women who are paying for crimes or detained, has been guaranteed for all these years, allowing them to return to legality and the civil life of their community.

In the 4 workshops set up inside and outside the prisons, prisoners attend training and advanced training activities, learning the skills and knowledge necessary to disassemble small and large waste electrical and electronic equipment from the collection streams handled or organised by Hera.

A range of components are obtained from this activity and are separately sent to suitable plants for recovery of material. The results obtained by the labs continue to increase. On the social front, 35 former inmates were hired or helped to find jobs in local companies, and more than 105 have been interested and attended training courses thanks to the collaboration and commitment of the social cooperatives that coordinate and manage the laboratories. From an environmental point of view, in a decade of activity the laboratories treated about 5,169,244 kg of waste electrical and electronic equipment.

During 2019, by signing a special agreement between Hera and the Techne training institute, the Informatica Solidale project was confirmed, which aims to promote computer literacy and reintegration into work and society, with the further objective of promoting the reuse of assets with residual potential for use.

Under the project, Hera will donate its IT equipment (no longer suitable for its own business and therefore to be disposed but perfectly able to satisfy the basic needs of users such as those identified and protected by the Project) and Techne will take care of the functional updating and testing, the identification of the recipients and the management of the deliveries. The recipients of such “regenerated” IT equipment have been identified mainly among institutional, public and private local organisations, whose vocation is to support the inclusion and integration of disadvantaged people through services and initiatives (educational, training, empowerment) that can find real benefit and strengthening from the availability of appropriate technological tools. In this context, the donated equipment made it possible to set up computer labs at schools, cooperatives/social enterprises, and social promotion associations, prisons, and education centres for adults at risk of “social exclusion”.

As it did in 2018, in 2019 Hera donated 100 computers that it no longer used in its business, part of which, after being reconditioned, were allocated by Techne to the organisations (schools, cooperatives and social promotion associations, and prisons) that had requested them, on the basis of a suitable training project.

At the end of 2019 about 50 of the 100 computers donated by Hera had been assigned, distributed among Techne workshops, volunteer associations, schools, Prison and adult learning centres.

The remaining computers will be allocated during the second year of the agreement.

The “Informatica Solidale” project once again contributed to social support and environmental protection.

The projects described in this case study contribute to achieving targets 8.5, 12.2, 12.4, 12.5, and 17.17 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.


Plant visits for over six thousand people

Through its subsidiary Herambiente Spa, the Hera Group showcases its attention to environmental issues and the spread of an environmentally responsible mindset, offering guided tours of its waste treatment and purification plants.

These visits give interested parties the opportunity to familiarise themselves with how the plants are operated and managed. Our waste treatment plants are among the most advanced in Europe in terms of operating and quality standards and the tours give visitors an opportunity to understand how they properly handle waste in the most environmentally-friendly manner possible, using solutions with the lowest overall impact on the environment.

In addition to offering “traditional” guided tours (on-site), and to foster greater interest among the “new generations”, we have organised “virtual” tours for schools. By doing so, directly from their school desks, students can listen to an environmental instructor that illustrates the various phases of the plant’s operation.

In total, in 2019, 6,288 visitors (+38% compared to 2018) toured Herambiente Group’s facilities over 291 days. In addition, 443 students visited our facilities during 10 days of “virtual” tours. Over a video call, they attended a tour from their classrooms as an environmental instructor illustrated the various phases of the plant’s operation. This method promotes the use of multimedia learning technologies to stimulate curiosity and involvement among the pupils while reducing the environmental and organisational impact due to the travel between the school to the plant to visit.

Furthermore, the possibility of booking visits online from Herambiente’s website, created to make it easier for stakeholders to book visits to our facilities, was met with a positive response, especially to waste-to-energy plants and excellent results were also obtained for other types of plants.

Analysing the data of 2019, the visits involved overall: 3,190 visitors to waste-to-energy plants, 1,305 visitors to composting and anaerobic digestion plants, 102 visitors to landfills, 147 visitors to industrial waste treatment plants, 1,499 visitors to selection and recovery plants, and 45 visitors to Herambiente Group’s industrial waste facilities in Tuscany.

Noteworthy is the interest in the new biomethane plant in Sant’Agata Bolognese. In 2019 the plant was visited by a total of 506 visitors over 40 days. This data underscores the extent to which investments to relaunch the challenge of the circular economy on an industrial scale, with the resulting minimisation of environmental impacts, attract favourable attention from stakeholders.

Lastly, 2,071 visitors toured the purification plants in 2019, of which about 91% were students.

Visits to the plants contribute to achieving targets 4.7, 6.b, and 12.8 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.



Studies on the environmental impacts of waste-to-energy plants

For many years, the waste incineration business has been the subject of several studies and monitoring projects, as well as of major technical improvements also related to the introduction of increasingly stringent plant and management criteria by European and Italian legislation. The technology has achieved very high performance levels in terms of reducing emissions and environmental impact.

If we consider the total annual emissions of dioxins into the atmosphere as the sum of all waste incineration plants in the country from 1990 to 2017, we can see that as a result of regulatory and technological developments there has been a 99% reduction in emissions (Source: Sinanet-Ispra-SNAP databank).

Putting the analysis of the different production sectors into context, since 2001, waste incineration has been the smallest source in terms of dioxins and furans emissions, in contrast to the iron and steel industry and the entire residential sector (e.g., domestic heating).

The PM10 emissions of Italy’s waste incinerators are around three magnitudes lower than those of the residential segment. In Italy, the main sources of PM10 are the residential segment, vehicular traffic, combustion processes with contact (e.g., foundries), and agriculture.

Environmental supervision and air quality monitoring projects

According to the permits for the waste-to-energy plants in Ferrara, Modena, Forlì, Rimini, Bologna, Padua, and Isernia, the Hera Group must carry out studies on the potential impact that its plants have on the surrounding environment.

In 2008, under the provisions of the integrated environmental authorisation of the Rimini incinerator, the level of air quality was monitored by ARPAE (pre-construction monitoring). This study was designed to determine the air quality in the areas around the incinerator, potentially affected by the plant’s emissions. In 2013, with the new line 4 now fully operational, the monitoring process was repeated in the same way in order to assess any differences or impacts on air quality that could be attributed to the new plant (post-construction monitoring). The monitoring results were prepared by the Regional Agency for the Protection of the Environment (ARPA) of Rimini in 2014 and made available in 2015. The study shows that there is no significant impact on air quality, post-construction vs. pre-construction.

In the industrial area in which the Forlì plant is located, Hera has installed a station for monitoring air quality that is run by ARPAE Forlì. This station has been operational since 2009, and provides a continuous stream of data that are validated by ARPAE and published on their website. Periodic campaigns are also carried out at the station to identify for micro-pollutants and metals in the particulate matter. The results show that there is no substantial difference between a public area and the area around the plant, indicating the presence of a uniform environment, influenced significantly by the town rather than the presence/contribution of the plant. These results were confirmed in 2019 when ARPAE Forlì made available the previous year’s air and soil quality monitoring data.

For over a decade, environmental monitoring tests have been carried out at the Modena plant on various environmental media: air and soil quality, biomonitoring, total depositions. Since 2013, the monitoring network has been operated by the local ARPA (now ARPAE), which carries out all the analyses required by the waste-to-energy plant’s IEA. In addition, in Modena, in accordance with the IEA, a health monitoring study was carried out in 2003 to assess health risks for the population that lives near the incinerator and the workers at industrial sites near it. Two reproduction indicators were analysed: teratogenic risk, i.e., congenital malformations, and spontaneous abortion risk. The program ended in 2014 with the processing of the data collected in 2013 and showed no dose-response relationships between exposure and relative risk of miscarriage and congenital disabilities.

Between 2010 and 2012, a genuine environmental and health monitoring protocol was carried out at the Ferrara waste-to-energy plant. Its details were defined by ARPA (now ARPAE), AUSL and the provincial government of Ferrara, and it examined a number of environmental media. We appointed institutions with proven experience in the sector (CNR and Universities) to handle the scientific coordination for these studies. The results of the first two-year study, which ended in October 2012, confirmed the preliminary evaluations made when the Integrated Environmental Authorisation was granted and showed that the plant’s contribution, in terms of air quality, cannot be distinguished from the environmental background levels. In the light of the results that have been obtained, a subset of the monitoring was extended for a second period (2013-2015), to examine only the aspects considered most significant: air quality and studies of soil pollutants. Air quality monitoring activities ended in early 2015, confirming the results of the two previous years. In particular, the study of the soil, repeated in the autumn of 2013, showed no accumulation of metals and micro-pollutants in the areas surrounding the plant, thereby confirming that the incinerator’s emissions cannot be distinguished from the environmental baseline. In 2015, the monitoring guidelines for the coming years were also agreed with regulators. To this end, the collaboration with CNR-IIA and La Sapienza University has been maintained in order to guarantee the continuity of the study of air quality, which takes place annually with four monitoring campaigns lasting 30 days (winter, spring, summer, and autumn). Also, in 2016, we signed a convention with ARPAE to continue the three-year soil monitoring project. As for previous studies, no correlation with the presence of the plant has been identified. The study was repeated in autumn 2019 and its results will be available in the first half of 2020.

The Padua waste-to-energy plant, in line with the requirements of the “Memorandum of understanding on the assessment of the health impact in the city of Padua and in its metropolitan area” signed by the municipalities of Padua and Noventa Padovana, with Arpav, ULSS 16 of Padua, and the University of Padua was the subject of a study that was completed in December 2015, with the presentation of the “Report on the pilot project of population health monitoring assisted by the ULSS 16 state healthcare unit of Padua, particularly on potential health effects from air pollution – a longitudinal study in Padua (SLPD)”. The conclusions showed on one hand insufficient statistical evidence to identify statistical effects on people’s health related to the plant’s emissions, on the other the differential of the concentration estimates (with three decimal digits of precision) is not compatible with measurable health effects, i.e., the effect of PM10 emissions from the waste-to-energy plant on the background pollution levels appears to be irrelevant. The same system is the subject of the Voluntary agreement to monitor the effects of the San Lazzaro waste-to-energy plant near Padua, which lasts three years. Hestambiente and Arpav have carried out some environmental studies in addition to those required by the applicable regulations and by the permits. In more detail, we managed the operation of two of HestAmbiente’s fixed air quality monitoring stations (to monitor SO2, CO, O3, NOx, PM10 and PM2.5 with automatic equipment and publish on Arpav’s website a page dedicated to the waste-to-energy plant data, validated by ARPAV itself). An annual air quality monitoring campaign was carried out using a mobile lab provided to Arpav by Hestambiente. We sampled the soil at five sites near the waste-to-energy plant, and performed laboratory analyses on it for: Pb, As, Cd, Ni, and Hg, for aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbons, dioxins, furans and PCBs, and we measured the sound pressure levels around the plant. All the surveys summarised above highlighted the plant’s negligible environmental impacts. A new agreement was stipulated between various bodies for monitoring the fallout of the Padua waste-to-energy plant for three years, to which Hestambiente has already expressed its willingness to continue.

In the area surrounding the Isernia waste-to-energy plant, in agreement with ARPA Molise, a series of representative monitoring points have been identified at which studies on atmospheric depositions and PM2.5 atmospheric particulate sampling have been carried out in the 2017-2018 two-year period. At all monitoring points, the annual average PM2.5 was below the regulatory level and the deposition study showed values for organic micro-pollutants (dioxins, PAHs) always below the instrumental detection limits.

Many environmental monitoring campaigns have been conducted in the area surrounding the plant site of the waste-to-energy plant in Granarolo dell’Emilia (BO). At the end of 2004 a memorandum of understanding was signed by the Provincial Administration, Arpa Bologna, the municipalities of Castenaso and Granarolo dell’Emilia, Ausl of Bologna, the University of Bologna and Fea Srl for the environmental monitoring of the area surrounding the plant. The monitoring, which continued until 2007, analysed the air media by monitoring the five sites. Innovative bio-toxicological tests have been performed on solid particulate matter samples to assess and estimate carcinogenic risk. The public health department of the local health organisation, following up on the work carried out in the previous campaign, also carried out an epidemiological survey on the causes of mortality, extending the research to include reproductive data. Lastly, the experimental centre for the study and analysis of soil at the University of Bologna analysed the presence of heavy metals and micro-elements in the water-soil-plant system and also in surface and groundwater. The study has also included the analysis and verification of atmospheric emissions and water discharges from the waste-to-energy plant. A study has also been carried out to assess and estimate the carcinogenic risk. The 2004–2007 campaign attested that concerning air quality, atmospheric emissions and the water-soil-plant system, the plant did not determine significant impacts on the area. The waste-to-energy plant in Granarolo dell’Emilia has also been included in the Moniter project (Monitoring of waste-to-energy plants in Emilia-Romagna), promoted by the Emilia-Romagna Region and Arpa, whose goal is to organise an environmental surveillance and epidemiological evaluation system in the areas surrounding the plants. The project, carried out between 2007 and 2011, has improved scientific knowledge on the quality and quantity of the substances emitted by waste-to-energy plants and their impact on the quality of the surrounding air; it has also studied the health effects with toxicological investigations and has assessed their correlation with exposure to waste-to-energy plants in epidemiological terms. The results of the Moniter project were presented to the public in 2011, and the related documentation (Quaderni Moniter) can be freely downloaded from the Arpa Emilia-Romagna website. The current Integrated Environmental Authorisation confirms the air quality monitoring activities, which are carried out through two fixed permanent monitoring units that monitor PM10 and PM2.5 particulate matter, PAH, and metals.

The supervision and monitoring projects contribute to achieving targets 11.6 and 12.4 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Transparency of waste-to-energy plant emissions

Since 2008, the Group’s website has provided the previous day’s average emission values and “half-hourly averages” of the Group’s waste-to-energy plants (every half hour the online data are updated with the average value of the past 30 minutes). The data are automatically transmitted by the measurement systems, operational 24/7 at all the Group’s plants, located in the provinces of Bologna, Ferrara, Forlì-Cesena, Modena, Ravenna, Rimini, and Isernia.

As a further guarantee of transparency, Hera commits to:

  • daily or weekly reporting of the half-hour and daily averages to the control agency (ARPA);
  • yearly reporting on the plant’s operations, by 30 April every year, to the competent authority;
  • if the plant is EMAS registered, the control results are published upon formalisation of the “Environmental Declaration”;
  • publishing annual data, compared to regulatory limits and limits in the permits, in the Group’s sustainability report.

Since 2015, the Group’s website also provides the data of the Padua and Trieste plants, in the same format (half-hour average updated in real-time).

Lastly, from 2018 on, average annual data on periodic self-checks on metals and organic micro-pollutants has also been available for all plants.

The Group’s focus on transparent reporting of emissions from waste-to-energy plants contributes to achieving targets 11.6 and 12.4 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Increasing usage of telepresence

Telepresence is increasingly proving to be a facilitator to manage meetings, saving travel time, reducing risk and fatigue, significantly saving energy and, last but not least, helping to reduce the Group’s environmental footprint

In 2019, 100 rooms were connected by telepresence equipment (+5% compared to previous year) for a total of 24,579 meetings (+3%) and about 32,152 the hours of usage (+5%). 

The further increase in terms of both sessions and hours of use of Hera Group’s telepresence rooms is due to an increase in the number of the rooms, as well as to more intense use of the clients installed on the company’s PCs. 

The Hera Group’s telepresence services contribute to achieving targets 8.2 and 11.6 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Urban and environmental redevelopment at Hera Group’s offices

Environmental monitoring of the air media and assessment of the conditions of the soil and water after completion of the field remediation operations required by the remediation operating plan approved by the relevant authorities in 2016 continued throughout 2019 at the Group’s headquarters in Bologna, Viale Berti Pichat.

During 2019, the program for the removal of all connected underground tanks continued with the extraction and soil testing of a further 8 tanks. The completion of this activity and the total abandonment of underground hydrocarbon storage is planned for the year 2021. To date, 7 tanks from 3 different sites are yet to be removed, while we have decided to stabilise the tanks in the Forlì Via Balzella laboratories, which do not contain hydrocarbons, but only process water.

As far as energy containment projects are concerned, the replacement of the external lighting systems has been completed at the facilities of Bologna Via del Frullo, Bologna Via C. Campo, Cesena via Spinelli, Rimini via Terrapieno e Consolare, and Imola Molino Rosso. The conclusion of the plant renovation works is scheduled for 2020 by completing the work at the offices in Imola Via Casalegno, Forlì via Balzella, and Ferrara via Diana.

The energy savings achieved, in addition to those due to further measures implemented by the integrated maintenance provider under the Global service contract, have resulted in an expected savings of 47 toe, enabling us to achieve the objectives we had set and contributing to achieving the prestigious FIRE award (Federazione italiana per l’uso razionale delle energie – Italian Federation for Energy Efficiency) in 2019.

Regarding the internal office equipment, the new supply and furniture contract was initiated for the entire Hera Group in accordance with the CAM (Minimum Environmental Criteria) defined by the Ministry for the Environment. In addition, various “smart points” have been set up in the company offices with a coordinated design, in order to enable employees to use the common areas for communication activities and to exchange ideas. Also, as part of the improvement of the company’s spaces, plans were made, and work began on restoring the changing rooms for the operating staff and improving the equipment of the meeting and videoconference rooms in the Group’s Emilia-Romagna area.

Responsible projects and services accordion 4

Customer service quality, costs and safety



All the quality of tap water in a single report: In Good Water

In 2019, for the eleventh consecutive year, Hera published the “In buone acque” (In Good Waters) report, dedicated to telling users about the quality and transparency of the process that brings tap water into our homes every day. The report is still the first and only Italian report published on the subject of tap water and the benefits of drinking it instead of bottled water, in both environmental and economic terms.

On the basis of the new data for 2018, it has once again been shown that the mains water in Hera’s service area is a good, convenient, easily available, safe and inexpensive resource, as well as being rich in trace elements and low in sodium, and comparable in quality to the leading bottled waters on the market. These are reassuring results, guaranteed by 2,800 analyses per day (including those done by the local healthcare offices) on tap water (carried out by Hera, by the local healthcare offices, and by Romagna Acque) and proven by the fact that 99.9% of the checks carried out showed the water is compliant with the water quality standards set by law.

The same water can be drunk in the 95 urban springs available throughout the service area, which, in 2019, delivered a total of over 17.2 million litres of water, of which about 30% was sparkling water. This resulted in significant savings in terms of plastic, amounting to over 11.4 million bottles, thus avoiding the release of over 2,100 tonnes of CO₂. The savings for families, of the average expense to purchase mineral water, was Euro 3.1 million.

The report also contains, area by area, the data of the analyses of all the 29 parameters. The analyses also concern pesticides and parameters not required by law, such as emerging pollutants and asbestos fibre: again, the results confirmed the quality and safety of the mains water distributed by Hera.

The report, with extended contents in its online version, shows that besides being a safe choice for health, and sustainable for the environment, drinking tap water is also good for our customers’ wallets. In fact, using tap water in Hera’s service area makes it possible to avoid the production, transport and disposal of almost 250 million plastic bottles that would fill over three million bins and save on average almost Euro 440 per year, for a household of three people.

To ensure maximum transparency and reliability of the data reported, the report was examined and certified by DNV GL.

The extended contents of the report are available at\report.

Publishing the “In good waters” report contributes to achieving target 12.8 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Safer electricity grids

We developed the work plan to increase the resilience of Inrete’s electrical system according to Arera’s guidelines. The plan takes into account the risk factor arising from the formation of ice and snow sleeves. The scope of the plan was defined on the basis of the mechanical stress and the mechanical characteristics of the conductors, the geometric characteristics of the lines and their geographical and altimetric location. It includes the municipalities of Fanano, Fiumalbo, Guiglia, Lama Mocogno, Montecreto, Montese, Pavullo nel Frignano, Pievepelago, Polinago, Riolunato, Sestola and Zocca.

The secondary substations included in the scope of the plan have been identified as those that supply the most critical disadvantaged users, for whom the measures are necessary to reduce the risk of service disruption to acceptable levels by upgrading the power supply lines.

The type of measure adopted to address such critical issues consists in replacing the sections of bare overhead conductors whose sections are not suitable to withstand the stresses considered, with overhead cables with spiral reinforcements of an appropriate section, initially expected to follow the same route of the existing lines.

We analysed the medium-voltage distribution network to identify the measures, considering the best power supply route for the most critical substations, along which all the sections of overhead conductors with an unsuitable section were identified and which must therefore be replaced with overhead cables with spiral reinforcements.

The plan consists of 54 measures to optimise activities, prioritising the most critical areas and minimising the impact on the distribution service. To date, the planned measures have been implemented on the primary/secondary substations, increasing the possibility of improving service continuity. A further 8 measures are planned for 2020.

Work to improve the resilience of electricity grids contributes to achieving target 13.1 of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

At Hera we drink tap water

The Hera2O project, launched in 2008, encourages Hera’s employees to drink tap water. By drinking 530 thousand litres of tap water in 2019 from the 122 dispensers installed in Hera’s canteens and offices, its workers avoided the production of more than 13 tonnes of plastic, equivalent to around 160 bins, and over 590 plastic bottles (0.5 litre bottles were considered for canteens and individual use, and 1.5 litre bottles for offices and meeting rooms). This virtuous behaviour generated an energy savings of approximately 54 tonnes of oil equivalent and reduced GHG emissions by 152 tonnes.

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Sustainability in the supply chain

Smart working project further extended

Following the start of the pilot project at the end of 2017, the Smart Working project was extended to over 1,500 people in January 2019, bringing the percentage of employees involved in the project out of the total number of employees with open-ended contract, excluding blue-collar workers, to about 26% (8% in 2018).

The Group’s distinctive model focuses on four aspects: culture and processes, technologies and systems, time and performance and space.

During 2019, a number of training initiatives (mainly online) were implemented to further spread an “agile culture” within the Group and encourage the dissemination of a common language on this topic. With regard to “technologies and systems”, we focused on raising awareness and knowledge about available technologies and main cooperation and planning tools. Remote working, i.e. working for one day a week from a place other than the assigned location (including from home) was the main project carried out within the time and performance area. It was further developed and disseminated in 2019, involving 945 people who completed the process to join the company agreement. Furthermore, with regard to “space”, smart points were widely used: these multi-purpose spaces (set up on an experimental basis during 2018) respond more effectively to the need to find a place to cooperate and exchange views (with internal or external colleagues), or the need to have more reserved areas to better concentrate.

In 2019, highly satisfactory results were obtained both in terms of improved productivity (for colleagues involved and managers) and improved satisfaction. We will continue to invest in communication towards all employees and in specific training on specific skills to make smart working more effective. The aim will be to continue measuring both collective and individual benefits, enhancing new opportunities and creating conditions to jointly increase productivity and well-being. A further goal is to extend the population involved in the smart working project by increasing the number of staff involved to 50% by 2023, as specified in the goals of the Group’s Business Plan.

As part of this process, company management is required to further develop resource management skills in a context where performance grows in importance compared to the time and physical place of work. The Group’s leadership model plays a leading and decisive role in ensuring effective application.

The smart working project, as a whole and with reference to remote working, contributes to achieving target 8.2 of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Incentives and performance bonus also depend on sustainability

Aspects that refer to sustainability are present in the bonus system for managers and middle managers and the systems for the determination of the performance bonus used by the Group. The performance bonus is influenced by indicators that are associated with quality, with work and service safety and with the environment, while the bonus system, which is connected to the balanced scorecard, ever since 2006 has provided for a part of the incentive to be connected also to the achievement of sustainability targets.

In 2019, 34% of the variable remuneration of Group managers and middle managers was linked to sustainability target projects (improvement of quality, environmental impact, image, personnel involvement, professional development and involvement of stakeholders), with target projects aimed at creating shared value accounting for 20% (target projects associated with the “smart use of energy”, “efficient use of resources”, “innovation and contribution to development” CSV drivers).

Area % variable remuneration No. of target projects No. of target projects
 Smart use of energy  2% 20  46 
 Efficient use of resources 10%  40  192 
 Innovation and contribution to development 10%  44  222 
 Total CSV areas 20%  104  338 
 Other sustainability areas 14%  89  340 
 Total CSV and sustainability 34%  193  505 

As may be seen in the table, the managers and middle managers involved in CSV and sustainability target projects in 2019 amounted to 505, that is, 76% of the total. Restricting the analysis to CSV areas only, specifically there were 338 middle managers (more than half of the total) involved in target projects aimed at creating shared value. This confirms the Group’s widespread CSV approach in its strategy and short-term bonus system (Balanced scorecard) which in 2019 involved 662 workers, including managers and middle managers. The CSV areas of “smart use of energy” and “efficient use of resources” include numerous climate change mitigation and adaptation projects.

Up to 32% of the performance bonus for middle managers, white-collar workers and blue-collar workers is related to shared objectives related to quality, environment and occupational safety.

The opportunity to convert up to 50% of the company’s performance bonus into goods and services within the company welfare plan has also been possible since 2018.

Sustainability was also included in the deferred incentive plan for management retention redefined by the Board of Directors in the meeting of 19 December 2018, on the proposal of the Remuneration Committee. The Plan is reserved to a small number of managers selected by taking into account the weight of the organisational position, the evaluation of the performances achieved in the development process and the “market risk”. The development introduced for the three-year period 2019-2021 includes “shared value” EBITDA among the three indicators used to quantify the bonus to be paid in 2022. The target to be achieved is set out in the Business Plan for 2021.

As a result of the third edition of HeraSolidale, around Euro 370 thousand collected for five Non-Profit Organisations

HeraSolidale seeks to promote solidarity and support social projects by involving Hera Group’s workforce, its customers and the company itself.

The third edition of the project launched in 2018 was completed in 2019. In 2018, the Group’s workforce voted for five out of the fifteen non-profit organisations chosen by the company, according to the following criteria: reputation and transparency of activities, contribution to one or more goals of the UN 2030 Agenda, and intervention areas of relevance to Hera services (accessory criterion).

The list of the non-profit organisations and of the projects and objectives achieved thanks to HeraSolidale are detailed below:

  • ANT Italia Non-Profit Foundation:
  • Solidarity rhymes with sustainability” allowed a hybrid car to be purchased for providing home care services to cancer patients;
  • Children in ANT” project that offered assistance to 18 young cancer patients and their families, six months of psychological support activities for children who had a sick loved one and around 160 hours of training in schools through specific meetings, developed by ANT psychologists and trainers;
  • Adopt a Sick Person” is a social and healthcare project that was developed throughout Emilia-Romagna to provide assistance to 22 cancer patients.
  • Save the Children
  • The Za’atari camp in Jordan” is an educational project for the construction of three kindergartens in prefabricated buildings to help refugee children in Syria. HeraSolidale distributed snacks to 200 children for one year, supported two kindergarten teachers for one year, distributed 2 thousand school kits and books to children, and supplied furniture (chairs, desks and blackboards) and toys.
  • Butterfly Non-Profit Organisation:
  • Donate water” has allowed the rehabilitation of nine water wells in Ethiopia that guarantee the supply of water to 8,100 beneficiaries. The project also set up Water & sanitation Committees for the management and maintenance of the wells and for the training of the beneficiary communities through health and sanitation courses.
  • AISM – Italian Multiple Sclerosis Association: 
  • Research for Severe Multiple Sclerosis” funded 15 months of work for a researcher;
  • AISM Rehabilitation Services” consisted of the purchase of new medical equipment to provide the best possible rehabilitation to people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis in five Rehabilitation Services in Como, Genoa, Aosta, Vicenza and Padua: a stabilometric platform, two portable electro-stimulators, an ultrasound machine, an electro-stimulator for outpatient care, two bladder scans and an electric bed.
  • Network of Women against violence:
  • Work experience grants: together against violence” provided five women with six months of on-the-job internships and a six-month grant.

Over 880 workers joined the project, accepting to donate one, three or five Euros (or another amount) every month which was withheld directly from their payslip.

An important new aspect of this last edition was the involvement of an external stakeholder: Hera’s new customers were able to donate 1 Euro to one of the five non-profit organisations when signing a contract with Hera.

But there is more; the company, as usual, wished to play its part: HeraComm and HeraComm Marche donated one Euro to every new customer during the two years of the project.

Between 2018 and 2019, approximately Euro 370 thousand were collected: over Euro 126,400 donated by employees through withdrawal from their payslip and Hextra, the integrated corporate welfare system, and over Euro 243,000 donated by Hera Comm, Hera Comm Marche and new customers.

Thanks to the partnership with the Non-Profit Organisations involved, the HeraSolidale project contributes to the achievement of target 17.17 of the UN 2030 Agenda.

The fourth edition of the project was launched in 2019. Between the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, Group workers were involved in choosing five Non-Profit Organisations and Organisations out of the 15 proposed organisations selected according to the same criteria of the previous edition.

A new feature of the fourth edition of HeraSolidale is the identification of two Non-Profit Organisations dealing with environmental sustainability, in line with the commercial offering of the Group and of Hera Comm – a key partner for the success of HeraSolidale, in addition to the five Non-Profit Organisations and Organisations voted by workers, for a total of seven Non-Profit Organisations and Organisations. Unlike the previous editions, the fourth edition of HeraSolidale will last three years.

Diversity and inclusion index: Hera in the top 100 world ranking

The issue of enhancing diversity and inclusion has gained key importance also for Italian and foreign investors, who are increasingly careful to allocate resources in listed companies that implement approaches based on ESG (environmental, social and governance) principles. In this reference context, the Hera Group is among the most interesting companies for investors who welcome and regard the respect for diversity and inclusion as a lever for improvement. Hera’s performance is reflected in the result achieved in the “Diversity & Inclusion Index“, a structured index of Refinitiv (formerly Thomson Reuters), which examined over 7,000 globally listed companies. It focuses primarily on four areas: diversity, inclusion, people development and controversies published in the media. The 2019 ranking of the companies included in the index gave a score of 75/100 points to Hera, allowing the Group to rank third in Italy and 14th in the world and confirming its position as leading global multiutility company.

These awards bear witness to the highly effective journey that Hera has embarked on over the past several years, focusing on issues and challenges of key interest today for the investment community. In this regard, it is worth remembering the guidance letter sent to the CEOs of the largest globally listed companies from Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of the leading investment fund, BlackRock. In his letter, Fink invites the CEOs to think about the meaning of the “purpose” of their business, so that it may become a driver to achieve goals of common interest, including those related to inclusion and diversity.

The Group also came fourth absolute in the ranking of the Integrated Governance Index furthered by Etica News (compared with fifth place in 2018) and first absolute place in the ranking for green finance.

Hera was invited for the first time in 2019 to take part in the questionnaire for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, aimed at listed companies included in the FTSE MIB40 index and which considers the role of diversity and inclusion in the companies examined among the pillars that it assesses. On the first attempt, the industry average (48) was exceeded with a significant outperformance in the environmental aspect.

Hera water challenge: the quiz to make employees more aware and sustainable

Better a salad today or a fried grasshopper tomorrow? Do you need more water to make a coffee or to take a shower? These and other questions were put to Hera workers who took part in the Hera Water Challenge, the campaign for sustainable water resources management. The challenge consists of an interactive quiz that is available on the company portal. It is structured to make all Hera workers participating in the Challenge become more “water-aware”. The quiz lasts no longer than 15 minutes and all the answers given in the quiz are based on official data to better examine this important topic.

According to the “Water Development Report” published by the United Nations, a third of the world’s biggest groundwater systems are at risk of drying out. As a result, the number of people living in conditions of severe water scarcity will increase to 3.2 billion by 2050. These people will not only live in poor countries, but also in Australia, Italy, Spain and even the United States will have to address severe water shortage.

If we just take a glimpse at the water facts on the UN website, we can see how much water affects all major human development topics: from the condition of women to armed conflicts and from health to migration. We all need to be aware of this. This is why UN Sustainable Development Goal six is to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all: Hera is striving to help achieve this goal through a four-year plan of which this campaign is a part. Are we ready to rise to the challenge?

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Sustainability in managing human resources



The supplier monitoring plan with a focus on social responsibility

During 2019, more than 90 questionnaires for Corporate Social Responsibility assessment were received from suppliers deemed as critical in terms of activities and contractual amounts. The documents were examined and steps were taken to request clarification and additions for incomplete or missing parts. Furthermore, 201 disclosure measures on the legislation were reported on, by the companies, vis-à-vis their workers.

In addition, in 2019, eight audits were carried out with a focus on social responsibility, all care of the suppliers’ premises: in several cases, further audits were necessary to check that the agreed improvement process had actually started and that corrective action had been taken. 12 additional audits were carried out directly at the Hera Group worksites, jointly with the Quality, Safety & Environment Department. The audits at the premises of suppliers were carried out by certified external personnel with references, selected by means of private negotiation, so as to ensure a transparent and independent process adopted by the Group.

These monitoring activities supplement the periodic checks of the company contract contact individuals, also with regard to the correct handling of subcontracting and the like, where present.

The circular economy in the supply chain

In 2019, a project was launched to include in the Group’s procurement guidelines criteria consistent with the principles of the circular economy. The project took into account the Resolve model proposed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which defines 6 areas of action for the transition to the circular economy.

All the types of goods and services purchased by the Group were analysed and for each of them the current level of maturity of the “circularity” in the selection of suppliers was defined (measured on the basis of negotiating power, maturity of demand, the market and regulatory and sector constraints) along with the future potential (measured on the actual economic weight of the sphere of action on the total cost of the supply), also taking into account the complexity of implementing any action to be taken. The analysis of the current expenditure from a circular economy perspective, carried out also with the involvement of the operating structures, has led to the highlighting of 43 purchasing product types for which “circular” purchases already exist or can potentially be activated.

The initiatives already in place have therefore been mapped and some pilot projects for 2020 have been defined, which will concern the management of construction sites, the purchases of meters, tyres and plastic products for waste collection (small bags and containers).

On a parallel, a reporting model has been developed to monitor the impact of the initiatives activated in a timely manner. On a consistent basis with that which has already been carried out for monitoring of the use of sustainability criteria in the awarding of contracts, an initial list of 20 criteria that can be used in the selection of suppliers and that can be traced back to the principles of circular economy has been identified. These criteria include, for example, the use of recycled or biodegradable materials, the reduction of waste produced by suppliers and its recycling, the use of fully loaded means of transport, and an increase in the recovery quota of waste produced. Among the tenders in which these criteria were used are the supply of furnishings made from recycled material, the purchase of 100% recycled paper for the offices, the purchase of bins and skips made in part with recycled plastic, the construction of primary stations with eco-compatible material.

The value of the adjudications made in 2019 using the most economically advantageous bid method, which envisaged “circularity” rewarding criteria, was equal to 5.7% of the total value of the adjudications and the score dedicated to these criteria averaged 1.8 points.

The plan is to extend this reporting also to the tenders featuring largest discount adjudications via the enhancement of the “circular” technical requirements (e.g.: recycled or recyclable material component of an asset). In addition, the plan is to periodically update the list of “circular” evaluation criteria and to extend the methodology adopted for the pilot categories to the other product categories identified.

Responsible projects and services aggiornamento pagina

Page update 15 February 2021

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