Stakeholder and their involvement
Stakeholders are the various parties that play a key role in making it possible to achieve the company’s objectives and represent the main recipients, direct or indirect, of the value created, but also the impacts generated, by the assets managed, according to a principle of mutual influence.
For this reason, for example, the natural environmental and the community are also considered stakeholders. Developing relationships of trust and adopting an inclusive proactive approach towards stakeholders is of particular importance for the Acea Group when generating and sharing value.
Acea promotes the involvement of stakeholders in line with the commitments expressed in the Management Systems and Sustainability Policies, and the principles set out in the Code of Ethics and the Stakeholder Engagement Principles and Values, with a constructive approach that tends to rely on the results of dialogue and discussion. Furthermore, in 2021 the Stakeholder Engagement Principles and Values and the Stakeholder Engagement Group Procedure were formalised (see box).
In the Stakeholder Engagement process, the identification phase makes it possible to identify the parties directly or indirectly involved in company activities, assessing their level of qualitative and quantitative mutual influence. Analysis is then used to perform a structured evaluation of the existing interactions both between the company and the stakeholders as well as among the various categories of stakeholders, so that dialogue – engagement – and shared accountability paths may be developed. Lastly, the management phase leads to the identification of answers to the questions posed by the stakeholders or the company in order to pursue the achievement of company goals consistent with expectations.
Chart no. 19 – Stakeholders and their involvement
STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT IN THE ACEA GROUP
The importance of strengthening relations with stakeholders, building a long-lasting, structured rapport of trust with them in a context that is continually changing, took on an even more relevant role in 2021, when the measures needed to combat the pandemic and the social distancing requirement strongly affected how people interacted. During the year, via online platforms, the activities curated by the Stakeholder Engagement Unit of Acea continued in order to disseminate the culture of stakeholder engagement within the Group, providing shared methodologies and useful tools for designing and implementing initiatives to develop more efficient interactions, including in line with the objectives set out in the Sustainability Plan and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
To this end, the Stakeholder Engagement Principles and Values and the Stakeholder Engagement Group Procedure were formalised, with their related annexes, and distributed on the company intranet and the corporate site.
the Principles and Values guarantee a standard approach to stakeholder relations and constitute strategic guidance, as well as an element underlying an extensive and coherent integration of stakeholder engagement into the management of business activities. The Procedure governs the management of the operating process and makes it possible to identify and prioritise stakeholders to communicate with them efficiently and detect information that can be used in future to extrapolate quantitative metrics that represent the quality and evolution of the engagement carried out.
At organisational level, a transversal team was created formed of Representatives identified within the Departments, Corporate Functions and Group Companies. With the support of the Stakeholder Engagement Unit, the Representatives operate as promoters of the culture of stakeholder engagement within their own organisational contexts, tracking the initiatives carried out to structure information resources, promote their sharing and report on the activities, in a flow of information to said Acea Unit, which is responsible for annual reporting at Group level. In the second half of 2021, an analysis process was launched through awareness-raising meetings held with sector experts. The aim of this cycle of meetings, which will also continue in 2022 and were characterised by topics specific to their sector, is to spread the foundations of the culture of stakeholder engagement in the strategies, processes and business activities of the Acea Group, as well as basic technical and specialised skills, role awareness and a number of professional tools.
On the company intranet, the section dedicated to stakeholder engagement was also activated. It was created in collaboration with the Media Relations and Internal Communications Unit to systematise and share processes, tools and materials and to promote internal awareness. The Stakeholder Engagement activities are managed in line with the international standards of reference (AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard and Global Reporting Initiative – Reporting Standards).
ACEA IN THE ESG PERCEPTION INDEX
The ESG Perception Index, prepared by Reputation Science, a leading company in Italy in the analysis and management of reputation, measures and classifies the perception of sustainability of the top 200 Italian companies on the web. The analysis model rates the proximity of the brand to the 17 goals of the UN Agenda 2030, assigning a score from 0-100, analysing the volume of online content that demonstrates the association between the brand and sustainability, the reputation impact of this content on the company analysed, the association of the brand identity with sustainability on search engines and how much the company talks about sustainability through its web channels. Acea has featured on the index since June 2021 with a score of 58.98 points, coming 7th place in the ranking; in October, when the data were updated again, it fell one place, to 8th, but its score increased to 61.30.
For more details see https://www.esgreputation.it/.
Chart no. 20 – Stakeholder mapping
The boxes below illustrate the most significant interactions between Acea and the main categories of stakeholders in 2021.
TOOLS AND ACTIONS FOR SUSTAINABILITY
The Group works towards spreading sustainability values, culture and practices, both within the organisation and in the contexts it operates in, adopting tools and policies which today cover the most important phases of planning, management and accounting.