Communicating Sustainability: Procedure


Acea’s Sustainability Report is published each year in order to provide Stakeholders a clear and complete overview of the Group’s economic, social and environmental performances1.
This year’s report for Financial Year 2009 is the twelfth edition since Acea specifically undertook to ensure social responsibility, deciding to give proof of this undertaking through a specific report (the first socioenvironmental report was made for Financial Year 1998).
Acea’s 2009 Report contains both consistent and new elements with respect to last year’s: as occurred for the 2008 Report, this Report has been drawn up according to the reporting principles and performance indicators established in the GRI-G3 Guidelines from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)2 and, for the first time, such indicators have been integrated by those set forth in the Electric Utilities Sector Supplement published by GRI in 2009.
In line with past years, Acea has supplemented presentation of the economic performances with figures relating to Establishing and distributing Added Value among Stakeholders, according to the principles expressed by the Study Group for the Social Report (GBS)3, and has drawn up Environmental Accounts attached to this report on a CD, which provide a detailed account of the physical streams generated by the activities of the Group4, through analysis of the life cycle of its products (LCA - Life Cycle Assessment).
Since 2007, Acea has been involved in the Global Compact (GC) initiative, acknowledging full coherence between the ten principles supported by the United Nations through the “Global Pact” and the ethical guidelines established in its code of values. The Company has since confirmed its support, with commitment from the top management, and regularly published the required Communication on Progress (CoP). This year the Company has decided to directly include a Table of Association between GRI Indicators and the Global Compact Principles in addition to independent publication of the CoP and in view of the close cooperation between Global Compact and GRI.

Report Content and Structure

The contents of this Report aim to fulfil the expectations of stakeholders in terms of information in a clear and balanced way and are provided according to the indications provided in GRI-G3 Guidelines appropriately referred to the Company’s business situation and socio-economic context.
In order to identify the aspects on which to provide greater information, the type of stakeholders, legal nature of the Company (Parent Company – Acea SpA – is listed on the Stock Exchange) and relations between the Holding Company and other companies in the Group, the corporate mission (Acea is a Utility), operational sectors of the Group (energy and water)5 and the country – Italy – in which most operations are carried out were all taken into account.
The figures and information provided in the 2009 Sustainability Report made it possible to report on the standard elements and performance indicators established in the GRI-G3 Guidelines (core and additional) and the Sector Supplement at the highest level of application (A+) (see Chart 1 and Table 1).

1 As defined hereunder, see also Stakeholders section.
2 The Global Reporting Initiative was established in England in 1997 by the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES). It became an independent official centre in 2002 in order to support the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and cooperates on the Global Compact Project (organized by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan). GRI-G3 Guidelines are also available in Italian at; they illustrate the reporting principles to adopt when drawing up sustainability reports and the economic, social and environmental indicators to publish. The Electric Utilities Sector Supplement published by GRI in 2009 is available online.
3 The Study Group for the Social Report comprises experts and scholars from the sector. This Group has operated in Italy since 1998 and, in 2001, formally became a Non-profit Research Association. In May 2001, it published the Principles for writing a Social Report which became the first basic guidelines for social reports for many Italian companies. Although Acea subsequently decided to adopt international guidelines (i.e. GRI), it decided to continue to refer to GBS, especially in relation to creating and distributing added value among stakeholders (see specific section in Corporate Identity) and the accurate description of exchanges between the Company and various Stakeholders (see Socio-economic Relations with Stakeholders).
4 The same method introduced to calculate environmental figures generated by companies operating in the energy sector in 2008 was used for 2009, which takes into account shareholdings of Acea SpA, as adopted for the Consolidated Financial Statements.
5 See Group Profile.





Descriptions and figures concerning Group activities have also been provided to thoroughly fulfil theexpectations concerning information of stakeholders and to give a full description of the Company’sfeatures.

The same structure has been used for the 2009 Sustainability Report as for the previous edition: the volume combining the main parts of the report comprises three sections: Corporate Identity, Socio-economic Relations with Stakeholders and Environmental Issues, integrated by the Environmental Accounts attached on a CD and again has a separate brochure providing Company Fact Sheets Italy-Overseas (see Chart 2).



Report Scopes

“Report Scopes”, or the areas covered in this report, were established according to the Guidelines adopted, without omitting any significant information or figures and seeking to provide a clear overview of the elements in the Group (see section Group Profile).
The wider scope considered – standard in relation to economic figures – comprises Acea SpA and all the other companies falling within the scope of consolidation, as established in the 2009 Consolidated Financial Statements6. Any time this scope changes, according to the effective availability of figures (in relation to progressive Central management of such), this is specified and appropriately indicated in the report7.
The area reflecting the main economic, social and environmental performances of the Group – represented by the Holding Company and main spin-off companies operating in the water and energy sectors (including the Waste-To-Energy sector), was regularly subjected to reporting to ensure comparison with the sustainability performances published in the previous report. Nevertheless, year by year Acea seeks to extend its report scope to increasingly reflect the Group’s dimension.

“Acea Group”, “Acea”: these refer to all the companies that fall within the scope of consolidation, including Acea SpA.
“Acea SpA”, “Parent Company” and “Holding Company”: these terms are used indifferently.
The main companies that fall within the report boundary, in addition to Acea SpA, are: Acea Distribuzione, Acea Reti e Servizi Energetici, the companies established through the joint venture signed in 2002 with Belgian company Electrabel, which currently are AceaElectrabel, AceaElectrabel Produzione, AceaElectrabel Trading, AceaElectrabel Elettricità, Acea Ato 2, Acea Ato 5, LaboratoRI, Acea8cento.
Specific indications are provided for Companies in the A.R.I.A. Group (formerly TAD Energia e Ambiente), Tirreno Power and water companies Acque, Gori, Acquedotto del Fiora, Publiacqua, Umbra Acque – when these are included in the reference scope.

Data Retrieval System and Reliability

The figures and information published in the Sustainability Report are provided by the Divisions in question and are, as far as possible, in line with official sources (such as Management Reports from individual companies, Corporate Governance Report, Annual Consolidated Financial Statements, the reports sent to sector Authorities). These are subsequently integrated and assessed through discussions between the inhouse workgroup responsible for writing the Sustainability Report and the Divisions directly involved, before being definitively approved.

6 2009 Consolidated Financial Statements are available at (section Shareholders).
7 In several cases, the scope for the sections Socio-economic Relations with Stakeholders and Environmental Issues, will not coincide with the consolidation area despite the fact it refers to the main companies in the Group, as not all figures (e.g. those referring to Human Resources or Suppliers) are aggregated and managed Centrally. Such changes to scope are always indicated in the report.

If necessary, the figures are re-processed or re-classified according to the guidelines adopted.
Prior to publication, the report is sent for appraisal by an Independent Auditing Company with which Acea has no joint interests or ties. This Auditing Firm is appointed to examine the contents and procedures used to write the report and to provide an overall opinion of its clarity, completeness and transparency. More specifically, in 2009 this audit concerned the main parts of the Sustainability Report: Corporate Identity, Socio-economic Relations with Stakeholders, Environmental Issues and Environmental Accounts, attached on a CD, which illustrate the indicators established in GRI-G3 Guidelines and the Sector Supplement (see Report from Independent Auditor’s Report).
In conclusion, the 2009 Sustainability Report was submitted for approval by Acea SpA’s Board of Directors.

Measurement Systems

Social and environmental quantitative data has been produced as follows:

  • where possible, through direct measurement of the parameters concerning the elements subject to reporting;
  • in other cases, through calculation or estimation of the values of the parameters according to the best information available.

Each item of environmental data is commented on in the Explanatory Notes to the Environmental Accounts, specifying whether it derives from calculation, measurement or estimate.

Box – Other Sources of Information on Group Performances: the Website

The website – which was completely renewed in 2009 – provides access to a considerable amount of information:
  • the section “Regulations and Values” provides information on corporate governance and the contents of the main value codes adopted by the Group;
  • the section “Shareholders” contains all the economic and financial documents published and other information of interest, which is constantly updated. The “Highlight” web page can also be used to interactively access charts concerning the main economic and financial figures from the last few years and compare them with each other and with those of leading Italian competitors;
  • the section “Sustainability” provides a full PDF version of the 2009 Sustainability Report and of previous editions of socioenvironmental reports;
  • the section “Quality and Safety” provides information on such two topics;
  • there is a section dedicated to “Suppliers” and, for Customers, links to the websites of electricity and watercompanies;
  • the section “Communication” contains an area especially for the press and latest important news, as well as information concerning Publicity Campaigns and the main events organized with Acea’s support.

Further information can be obtained from the following email address:

Giuseppe Sgaramella; Ranieri Mamalchi