Letter to the stakeholders

The Acea Group 2015 Sustainability Report, which is the 18th annual report of its kind to be published, provides stakeholders with an overview of the company, its activities and the results obtained in terms of the sustainable creation of shared value. The Report was drawn up on the basis of Global Reporting Initiative Guidelines (GRI-G4), with the highest level of compliance. The document focuses on the most relevant themes for the company and stakeholders, established in an analysis on “materiality” and by setting up multistakeholder focus groups.

The main purpose of the Sustainability Report is to provide as many stakeholders with as much information as possible. Corporate assets, stakeholder relations, environmental, social and governance performance are described and quantified. This information goes to supplement the economic-financial framework of the Statutory financial statements.

The Sustainability Plan, currently being updated, specifies the company's commitments and represents an incentive for continuous improvement. The analysis of the results obtained and the review phase in fact, highlight areas in which we can improve, and the good practices to valorise.

This year at an international level, there were three key elements of sustainability: the UN Sustainable Development Goals, COP21 Sustainable Development Goals, COP21 and the Laudato Si’ Encyclical Letter of the Holy Father Francis. These documents, regardless of their origin, represent a common commitment to sustainable development. They highlight the responsibilities and above all, the opportunities those favouring a proactive approach should seize.

Acea has chosen this approach. The Group has already implemented a process of evolutionary development called Acea2.0. It's a business transformation project that focuses on corporate culture and management models, with the aim of promoting innovation and creating value for stakeholders. Acea in fact, while operating in regulated sectors where there is a partial monopoly, intends to pursue goals based on a logic of competitiveness and reward.

This year's sustainability report can be interpreted in terms of the ongoing change, which has an impact on relations with all stakeholders. Acea is investing in personal involvement and initiatives for transversal engagement as an alternative to the traditional hierarchy. The Workforce management project, in which everyone in the company is involved, aims to increase the efficiency of operations throughout the territory. Customer service orientation is another cornerstone of the programme, with the evolution of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and the challenging goals of performance in terms of service quality. In the supply chain, Acea is establishing long-term and strategic relations with its business partners, guaranteeing the collaboration of well-organized and reliable operators. Thanks to this input, last year the first Single Procurement Contracts were drawn up for the maintenance of waterworks and electricity networks.

The benefits of technological innovation and sustainable business management, continuing in the direction we started in recent years, have also been acknowledged at an international level. Acea was awarded the RSE prize for the “Technology, research and innovation category”, at the fourth edition of the Top Utility Award. The Carbon Disclosure Project gave the Company a score of 99 B (out of a maximum possible score of 100 A), appraising Acea's CO2 emission reduction policy.

Furthermore, Acea welcomes the opportunities represented by the development of Smart Cities, where the interconnection of service networks can lead to product and process innovation. For 2015, the Italian Authority for Electricity, Gas and Water (AEEGSI) granted an extension to the smart grid pilot project experimentation and the RoMA (Resilience enhancement of Metropolitan Area) project, jointly financed by the MIUR as part of the actions to support Smart Cities and Communities, in consideration of the results obtained.

Acea has implemented numerous territorial initiatives including "Acea per Roma" (Acea for Rome) and the "Case dell’Acqua" public drinking water dispenser installation plan, as part of a corporate citizenship and stakeholder engagement strategy. In the first "Acea per Roma" initiative, Acea asked citizens to propose urban renewal and inclusion project ideas of their own. The response was impressive: around 800 proposals were received, with numerous citizens from the suburban districts of Rome participating, with a resulting 55 projects authorised for funding. The second initiative pursues social, environmental and economic goals for the benefit of the entire community.

The new high-tech long-spouted fountains, nick-named “nasoni” (big noses) providing citizens with refrigerated (natural or fizzy) water, are installed in busy places where people tend to gather. Throughout the year, 12 water fountains in Rome and another 12 in the province of Rome supplied 2.8 million litres of drinking water, the equivalent of 71 tons of plastic bottles less to be disposed of and approximately 100 tons less of CO2 discharged into the atmosphere. The plan continues.

In short, there have been several changes in the scenario of reference in which the Company operates that have had an impact on Acea's lines of development. These include the provisions of the Italian Stability Law on the consolidation of companies providing local public services, the approval of the Green Economy annex and the publication of the new 2015-2019 Strategic Framework for regulated water, electricity and gas sectors. There are aspects that refer to sustainable development in each of these elements, and it is important for companies operating in these sectors to contribute to the same.

On the same theme, EU Directive 95/2014, currently being implemented, will soon make the reporting of extra-financial information in corporate documents obligatory. The Corporate Governance Code of Listed Companies, updated in July 2015, as part of the rules of good corporate governance, introduced sustainability risk assessment by the Board of Directors.

Last but not least, Acea as a Founding Promotor, adhered voluntarily to the Global Compact Network Italy, the body established to contribute to the development of the UN Global Compact initiative in Italy. This is proof of our commitment to the universal principles of human rights, work, the environment and the fight against corruption, letting the Company identify the elements that correspond to an advanced level of Communication on Progress in its operations, as required by the “Global Pact”.

The Chairman Catia Tomasetti
The Chief Executive Officer Alberto Irace

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