Introductory letter

The 2012 Sustainability Report, now in its 15th edition, is once again published this year together with the Statutory financial statements, so that the simultaneous availability of the two documents can offer outside observers a more structured image of the results of the activities and the corporate operations, complying with the legitimate request for complete disclosure. In fact, this report - with ample space dedicated to the description and quantification of the intangible assets, such as intellectual capital and relational wealth - contributes to revealing the distinctive value of the business supplementing the economic-financial information already present in the consolidated financial statements.

During 2012, Acea approved and disclosed the new edition of the Code of Ethics, in which the reference principles which guide the operational choices of our company are reaffirmed and in some cases more precisely defined.

In detail, the new Code of Ethics - which has included Sustainability among the General ethical principles - clearly explains from the outset its coherence with the ten Global Compact principles, which once again this year Acea wished to confirm it compliance with, and states that Acea’s vocation is that of conceiving and carrying out its economic activities in observance of the principles of sustainable development, seeking the necessary balance between economic efficiency, environmental protection and social development.

In this way, we wished to highlight the Group’s stance towards progressive integration of corporate social responsibility in day-to-day activities and we established a dedicated organisational Unit, so that it would be an element of stimulus and an acceleration factor towards the aim of making our activities increasingly sustainable. The approval of the Quality, Environment, Safety and Energy Policy, which we subscribed to in December 2012, moves in the same direction, proposing itself as a effective benchmark in relation to which choice and entrepreneurial action can be converged.

Such stances are recognised by part of the outside observers and it is with pleasure that we recall in this report that Acea in 2012  was among the 23 companies, at European level, which were acknowledged the “CEEP CSR Label”, furthered by the European Commission and by the European Centre of public utility service companies. The acknowledgment, grantedto the company after careful appraisal carried out by the Scientific Committee, bears witness to the adoption of sustainable operating criteria and socially responsible business action, placing us at levels of excellence on the international scene.

The Group’s Sustainability Report wishes to bear witness to this manner of operating which is cushioned and supported by increasingly incisive national and international initiatives focused on aspects of corporate social responsibility, deemed to be factors of healthy growth and improvement drivers for the socio-economic context in which the companies operate. It is in fact know that towards the end of 2012, in response to the Communication of the European Commission No.  681/2011, the Italian Government presented its National Action Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility for the two-year period 2012-2014, with the aim of outlining the priority action and the measures targeted at pursuing objectives of sustainability consistent with the EU design at national level. The key points of the Plan also include the support for companies which adopt corporate social responsibility as their culture. In the same way, the National Energy Strategy presented by the Government in October, contains priority elements which converge with the concept of sustainable development, such as the promotion of energy efficiency, the development of renewable energies as well as the research and development activities for cutting edge technologies. At international level, what is more, 2012 was the year of the UN Conference on sustainable development, “Rio+20”, which was held in June; the two main themes were the green economy and the definition of a global governance system for sustainable development.

During 2012, Acea approved the 2012-2016 Business plan, which outlines the development process of the Group according to a number of precise strategic lines which point towards a greater level of operating efficacy and efficiency. Accordingly, for the first time, we asked the heads of the industrial Areas and the corporate Divisions to express their “sustainability objectives” over the same timespan as the Business Plan. The stances which we expected, emerged with regard to technological innovation, especially in the networks area and the waste management area, energy efficiency initiatives, the desire to reduce consumption of natural resources, to improve the industrial processes for a greater containment of the environmental impacts, to offer customers quality services working to obtain better performances, to introduce elements which strengthen the ethical dimensions and quality and security throughout the supply chain, and, in conclusion, to provide greater coherence and motivation to all Group staff.

The prospects indicated enhance the sense of the responsibility process undertaken for some time now by the Group, along which it proceeds year by year. The results for the year, if observed as per the sustainability principles, therefore go in the same direction. Just an indication is provided here of certain key aspects, while reference should be made to the report for a full and complete illustration of those which characterised the year. With the continuation of the economic and social cycle difficulties, the weight of which is felt in an increasingly intense manner throughout the country, we cannot fail first of all to reveal the important confirmation of the economic-financial soundness of the Group which has managed not only to achieve economic results on the whole positive, but also accomplish significant investments. These operating results consequently generated positive repercussions on the entire context which receives the Group’s operations with benefits which we believe we have equitably distributed between all our stakeholders. The year was also marked by further progress in the field of technological innovation, for example within the sphere of the smart grids and sustainable mobility, in the Networks area, and the process innovation on the Waste Management area; energy efficiency initiatives continued and satisfactory results were revealed in terms of quality performance provided with regard to services. Furthermore, we are increasingly committed to improving the contact channels and sorting out the criticalities due to the change in the IT systems which govern our commercial relationships with the customers. In conclusion. during the year a new HR management system was introduced, more challenging and highly focused on the sense of team work and recognition of shared values, which we are certain will provide satisfactory results.

Finally, we believe that we can state that our Group is on the right path having strengthened awareness over time that the commitment towards generating value responsibly is a condition for continuing to be a successful business serving the community.