The 2013 Sustainability Report, at its 16th edition, shows through a detailed and comprehensive overview the attention Acea continually pays to its corporate social responsibility and environmental responsibility. These issues are becoming more and more crucial for our business context, our operations and daily decisions, supported by the constant drive of international entities and the raised awareness in international, national and local institutions.
The principles of sustainable growth and responsible behaviours towards the environment we operate in and the context we interact with, exist since long time in the Code of Ethics of the Group, together with the ten principles of Global Compact.
This demonstrates our commitment to pursue the path undertaken many years ago, integrating sustainability and doing business in an always more decisive way.
We have re-drawn the 2012-2016 Sustainability Plan, consistent with the recently approved 2014-2018 Business Plan, following these values and principles.
Amongst the objectives contained in the Plan, those of primary relevance refers to: reduction in consumption of natural resources, endorsement of green procurement by the introduction of quality, security and respect of environment parameters for the assessment and selection of suppliers, further promotion of the quality services in order to improve the relationship with customers. Two additional cornerstones of our company competitiveness are technological innovation and enhancement of human resources.
Several goals have been achieved in the past year: from the governance viewpoint, we introduced in the Articles of Association the gender equity in the administrative and control bodies of quoted companies, with the purpose of extending the same principle to our Subsidiaries. New Company Committees have been established to better involve management and, by the appointment of two external members, the composition of the Ethics Committee has been completed.
From a business viewpoint, certain companies of the Group carried out interventions aimed at improving the environmental impact, such as the revamping of the plant located in Terni, the strengthening of composting activities, the development of smart grid projects and electric mobility.
Our strong commitment in energy-efficiency and reduction in consumption of natural resources, has led to the achievement of relevant results, as decrease in energy consumption of water companies of the Group (-5%) and consumption of water resource (-25%), whilst the application of LED technology for public lighting has increased.
With regard to human resources, we continually invest in training our personnel, in sharing and expanding our company values and principles related to safety and environmental protection.
Despite the difficult economic period, Acea gave different contributions to the increase in the quality of life and services for communities.
We are conscious of being a factor of economic competitiveness and a tool of growth in the areas we operate in: over 2,000 companies worked with us, generating an economic value amounting to more than 500 million euros.
The year 2013 marked a turning point for the Group, where particularly brilliant economic and financial results have been achieved thanks to the increase in profit margins, the continuous reduction of costs and the constant attention to the floating capital.
The approval of 2014-2018 Business Plan, attests, in a medium- long term schedule, that sustainable development is a core issue for the strategic decisions of Acea.
The Chief Executive Officer