Massimo Vai, director of strategic planning at Hera, talks about it
Mr. Vai, the Creation of Shared Value (CSV) is gaining growing strategic importance at Hera: would you please explain us this evolution?
In 2016, we added the Shared Value Creation perspective to our approach to Corporate Social Responsibility. This allowed us to directly quantify and represent how the activities of the Group contribute to operating margins and, at the same time, meet the guidelines provided by the United Nations and included in drivers of the Global Agenda. To Hera, the Shared Value is the set of corporate policies and practices that generate higher competitiveness and profitability for the Company and, at the same time, address the needs and challenges of the community in which the Company operates.
How does it take shape?
While developing the Business Plan, we have identified three drivers for creating Shared Value: (i) smart use of energy, (ii) efficient use of resources and (iii) innovation and contribution to local sustainable development. All the main projects included in the Plan, which show the features mentioned above, can be referred to a specific driver: this allows us to quantify our contribution in a synthetic way, based on each type of expected impact.
What is the Shared Value that you have estimated in the Business Plan?
The estimate of Shared Value compared to the Company’s EBITDA represents the portion of business earnings that can be attributed to the activities meeting the need for change towards sustainability, as indicated in the Global Agenda. Thanks to the actions and projects included in the Plan, we will be able to achieve a new target, growing from approximately 330 million euro in 2017 (33% of consolidated EBITDA) to 470 million euro in 2022, i.e. reaching 40% of EBITDA. More than 50% of the 2022 target is expected to come from specific actions dedicated to encourage efficient use of resources, followed by initiatives to promote a smart use of energy.
What are the main projects contributing to the achievement of such objective?
Following the classification provided by the drivers we adopted, among the main projects for an efficient use of resources, we can mention the completion of the biomethane production plan in Sant’Agata Bolognese. In addition, we can boast several interventions to upgrade the depurative and sewage pipes in our territories, and, lastly, the projects to increase the fraction of sorted urban waste collection, as well as the initiatives for reuse and recycling in a circularity perspective. Furthermore, in a joint effort with local enterprises, we are working towards gradually reducing the environmental impact of production activities, by focusing on treatment and recycling of industrial waste. Among the projects aimed at a smart use of energy, we can mention the initiatives to lower energy consumptions both inside our Group and at the facilities of our industrial clients. Moreover, we will favour a progressive evolution towards a smart management of our networks (gas and electricity distribution, as well as water supply and district heating), which will reduce waste and maximize resiliency, even in case of adverse weather conditions.