Stakeholder and their involvement

[GRI - 102-29], [GRI - 103-2], [GRI - 103-3], [GRI - 201-1], [GRI - 203-1], [GRI - 203-2], [GRI - 413-1], [GRI - 413-2],

Sakeholders are the various entities that help achieve the company's goals and are the direct or indirect recipients of the value created and also of the impacts generated by the company’s activities, based on a principle of mutual influence.
Acea is committed to developing relationships of trust and adopting an inclusive and proactive approach to stakeholders. It aims to enhance the outcomes of dialogue and debate, in line with the commitments of the Management and Sustainability Systems Policy, with the principles expressed in the Code of Ethics and the Human Rights Policy, adopted in 2023, and with the Stakeholder Engagement Principles and Values.
In the stakeholder engagement process, the identification phase identifies the subjects involved in and/or affected by the company's activities, assessing the level of mutual influence at both qualitative and quantitative levels. The analysis phase examines the interactions between the company and the stakeholders and between different categories of stakeholders in order to develop opportunities for dialogue (engagement) and shared responsibilities. Finally, the management phase establishes the responses to the identified needs of stakeholders or the company itself, in order to pursue the achievement of the company's objectives while also meeting stakeholder expectations.

Chart no. 18 – Stakeholders and their involvement

Grafico 18


Stakeholder engagement is essential if the Group is to truly create shared value and at the same time benefit from how stakeholders contribution to the business, making legitimate demands and expressing views that enhance Acea's ability to prevent and manage risks and identify opportunities.
In 2023, Acea's Stakeholder and Perceived Quality Unit continued its work of integrating stakeholder engagement within the Group's strategies, processes and business activities, also for the purpose of reporting and for leveraging the best practices implemented.
The awareness-raising and further study process undertaken is aimed at disseminating stakeholder engagement culture in the various corporate contexts, while making use of relevant skills and tools, and increasing awareness of its strategic role. The Intranet section was renewed during the year. Dedicated to stakeholder engagement, it helps systematise and share processes, tools and in-depth materials and also foster greater internal participation. During the year, further mini-videos for the stakeholder engagement awareness module launched in 2022 were published, aiming to publicise the methodology and modalities of stakeholder engagement and to stimulate and strengthen the proactivity of Acea Group people.
In 2023, the first Report on the Group’s Stakeholder Engagement Performance was published, summarising the main projects/ initiatives carried out during the previous year by departments, corporate functions and companies. The report will be replicated annually. Stakeholder Engagement activities are managed in line with the international standards of reference (AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard and Global Reporting Initiative).
An internal survey was conducted with Stakeholder Engagement contacts, aimed at obtaining a true picture of the consolidation of knowledge and skills acquired so far and the needs still to be met. The survey helped to map out the most appropriate measures to support the company structures as they build better relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

Chart no. 19 – Stakeholder mapping

chart 19

The most significant evidence of Acea's interactions with the main stakeholder categories in 2023 is provided below.

chart 19

Material topics and impacts perceived by stakeholder

With the final materiality analysis, carried out in 2022 and still referenced in 2023, particular emphasis was placed on identifying the main impacts perceived in association with the high and medium materiality issues of the Acea Group. The evidence found, in terms of the highest impact areas for stakeholders and current/potential main impacts, both positive and negative, is summarised in Table 18

    Table no. 18 – Main impacts perceived by stakeholders, associated with 2023 material issues with high and medium significance

    MATERIAL TOPICS most significant areas of impact for stakeholders main (actual/potential) negative and positive impacts perceived by stakeholder
    SUSTAINABLE AND CIRCULAR WATER MANAGEMENT infrastructure and network optimization, to increase their resilience and secure their water supply

     reduced access to high-quality water due to system inefficiencies related to water stress and extreme weather events


     safeguarding the water supply through the development of new infrastructural and technological solutions

    evolution towards a circular water resource management model (including water reuse, sewage sludge recovery and reuse, etc.)

     failure to reduce pressures on water resources due to limited reuse of treated water


     contribution to the improvement of environmental and social contexts by optimising solutions for the circular water resource management
    (reuse of treated water, sludge, etc. for different purposes)

    ETHICS AND INTEGRITY IN BUSINESS CONDUCT compliance of company performance with industry standards

     deterioration of contextual conditions (quality of life, relations between the company and stakeholders, etc.) due to non-compliance, disputes and litigation


     greater guarantee of access to high-quality services that meet standards

    promotion of ethical values, including combating unlawful conduct and corruption, throughout the value chain

     weakening of action to promote ethical principles in the relevant contexts due to bureaucratic-administrative barriers and cultural resistance


     contribution to the development of a healthy socio-economic system guided by ethical principles and respect for rules

    PROTECTION OF ECOSYSTEMS AND BIODIVERSITY reduction of pressure on ecosystems (e.g. reduced emissions, efficient use of natural resources, reduction of land use, etc.) to protect ecosystem health and preserve natural cycles

     inability of infrastructures to adapt to their host ecosystems


     increased awareness of the impact of activities on biodiversity and the ecosystem through the development of specific analysis models

    interventions aimed at protecting the ecosystems in areas in which the company operates (protection of springs, natural heritage, protected areas and animal and plant species, etc.)

     failure to formalise specific commitments to protect biodiversity and ecosystems


     development of synergies with scientific partners and institutions to monitor biodiversity-rich areas and create ecological corridors

    CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY TRANSITION adoption of energy models with a low environmental impact (generation from renewable sources, energy efficiency, cogeneration, green energy consumption, etc.)

     slow development of low environmental impact solutions due to bureaucratic and authorisation constraints


     contribution to the sustainable development of regions and socio-economic contexts through climate action

    development of value-added services related to energy transition

     low scalability of green technologies for the community


     improvement of environmental and social contexts through the development of decarbonisation solutions in different contexts (smart cities, sustainable mobility, building efficiency, etc.)

    TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION AND DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION development of innovative and environmentally sustainable services and products in response to the changing needs of the environment and people

     increased inequalities caused by services provided in a predominantly digital mode (elderly, poorly digitised population, etc.)


     improvement in the quality of life of the community through the availability of services and products in line with emerging needs

    creation of an high-quality, open and interconnected innovation and research ecosystem

     missed opportunities for innovative development due to lack of qualified skills and dedicated investment


     contribution to social progress and cultural growth

    MANAGEMENT AND TREATMENT OF WASTE FOR A CIRCULAR ECONOMY management and reduction of waste produced by communities through its energy and material recovery (e.g. compost)

     possible community resistance to new facilities


     contribution to the resolution of critical issues related to mass waste production

    strengthening of secondary raw material recovery chains from waste materials (plastic, paper, etc.)

     possible challenges in the proper management of supply chains


     reduction of environmental changes caused by the use of raw materials

    OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY building safe and secure working environments, starting with accident prevention

     occurrence of occupational accidents, with possible effects on public safety


     increase in safety and consequent improvement of service levels

    promoting a culture of safety at work along the supply chain (procurement, etc.)

     weakened action of promoting a culture of workplace safety in less wellequipped contexts such as small and very small businesses


     contribution to the improvement of the occupational health and safety conditions of supplier personnel

    DIALOGUE AND ENGAGEMENT WITH STAKEHOLDERS AND TERRITORY responses to multi-stakeholder requirements, with shared value projects and co-design initiatives

     increased disputes with stakeholders due to their ineffective involvement in projects with a high impact on the region


     synergetic development of projects and initiatives that better respond to genuine stakeholder needs

    specific identification and consideration of minorities and vulnerable stakeholders

     insuffcient implementation of initiatives for families and businesses in economic difficulty that reflect the challenging context (high bills, inflation, etc.)


     community support through the promotion of targeted initiatives, also in synergy with local institutions and associations (new forms of poverty, energy crisis, etc.)

    SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AND EVOLUTION OF THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT promotion of meritocratic working contexts able to optimise and increase skills and abilities

     resistance to cultural and professional change


     increase in skills, greater job satisfaction and creation of new jobs

    adoption of new work models capable of responding to the needs of digital transformation, also with agile logic, based on collaboration and flexibility

     shortage of new key skills (tech jobs, etc.)


     improvement of work/life balance and work contexts

    SUSTAINABILITY IN INFRASTRUCTURE DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION AND MANAGEMENT creation of high-quality and environmentally and socially sustainable infrastructures and projects

     possible implementation difficulties caused by a lack of design models and expertise that incorporate sustainability


     development of a long-term design approach, capable of incorporating sustainability and “just transition” logics

    adoption of a design approach that integrates the genuine needs of stakeholders and promotes the acceptance of projects and infrastructures by the community

     reduced social acceptability of infrastructures due to inadequate management of participatory processes


     contribution to sustainable regional development

    CUSTOMER FOCUS availability of easily accessible and customised customer care services, also thanks to the increasing use of digital channels

     decrease in the level of customer trust due to lack of clear communication and transparency


     improvement of the customer experience and relationship with the company

    availability of services in line with emerging customer needs and lifestyles

     insufficient attention to the growing difficulties faced by customers in the current context (war, energy crisis, high bills, inflation, etc.)


     increasing sustainability in practices and consumption styles

    SUSTAINABILITY AND CIRCULARITY ALONG THE SUPPLY CHAIN implementation of procurement processes that prioritise the use of products and services that combine quality, eco-compatibility (recycled, reusable, etc.) and social responsibility

     possible exclusion of small and very small businesses that are less structured in terms of sustainability


     reduction of the socio-environmental impact of goods and services

    increasing supply chain certification, also
    in relation to social aspects (protection of employment rights, human rights, quality of supplies, etc.) and environmental aspects (emissions, pollution, etc.)

     increased initial burdens on suppliers who are required to make greater commitments to sustainability


     support for the promotion of sustainability among suppliers


    Creation of inclusive and diverse models and workplaces that respect people

     failure to reduce cultural and organisational barriers to promoting diversity


     development of social and professional inclusion paths and projects

    promotion of a workplace culture oriented towards preserving the well-being of people within the organisation and respecting their private lives (welfare, work/life balance initiatives, etc.)

     reduced eectiveness of promotion initiatives due to cultural resistance caused by a “traditional” view of work


     development of the concept of well-being, which is extended to workers, the community and the region ("all-round" well-being)


    Long-term value creation through the integration of sustainable success (social and environmental dimensions) into strategic objectives, management remuneration policies and internal control systems

     incomplete and non-transparent information available to stakeholders


     effective incentive systems linked to sustainability targets;

    construction of governance models capable of developing long-term strategies that consider sustainability guidelines



     lasting contribution to the social, environmental and economic development of the local context


    Promotion of environmental and social elements in business financing decisions (Green Bonds, etc.)

     lack of development of socio-economic contexts due to difficulties in managing public funding


    increased investment in sustainable development (ecological transition, social inclusion, etc.)