Integrated strategy overview

[GRI - 102-7], [GRI - 102-12], [GRI - 102-17], [GRI - 102-22], [GRI - 102-23], [GRI - 102-24], [GRI - 102-27], [GRI - 102-29], [GRI - 103-3], [GRI - 201-1], [GRI - 203-1], [GRI - 204-1], [GRI - 205-1], [GRI - 301-1], [GRI - 302-1], [GRI - 303-1], [GRI - 304-1], [GRI - 305-1], [GRI - 306-1], [GRI - 308-1], [GRI - 401-1], [GRI - 403-1], [GRI - 404-1], [GRI - 406-1], [GRI - 413-1], [GRI - 414-1], [GRI - 416-1], [GRI - 418-1],

The relationship between industrial strategy and sustainability is recognized starting with the Acea Group's Code of Ethics, where it is highlighted that: “Acea intends to conduct its business while respecting the principles of sustainable development and contributing to the pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (2030 Agenda) and as they are implemented at European (Green Deal) and national level. Acea also operates in line with the principles issued by the United Nations Global Compact, to which Acea has formally and substantially subscribed. Acea is aware that the services it provides underpin the fundamental rights of individuals and the influence, even indirect, that its activities have on people's living conditions, on the economic and social development of the areas in which it operates, and on the general well-being of the community. That is why it plans its investments and conducts its business to pursue sustainable success in the medium to long term (…) Acea works to integrate care for the social and environmental aspects of its business with corporate growth strategies (…)52

Acea manages its activities guided by the pursuit of “sustainable success” and to this end adopts appropriate policies, management systems, planning and reporting tools. Equally important for continuous improvement towards sustainability are opportunities to discuss, listen and share projects with stakeholders such as institutions, experts, companies, customers, suppliers and all other interested parties (see Chart 10).

Chart no. 10 – Sustainability tools

chart 10

Acea’s commitment is appreciated by external observers, analysts specialised in ESG and the market. This is evidenced by Acea's good ranking in the Integrated Governance Index (see the chapter Corporate governance and management systems), the Group's rating in Bloomberg's Gender Equality Index, with a 2022 score of 81.58, the awards received in the field of innovation (see the chapter Institutions and business), its positioning in the CDP-Carbon Disclosure Project assessments, and the ratings issued by ESG analysts (see the chapter Shareholders and investors).

Acea’s commitment to countering climate change: validation of SBT objectives

In September 2023 Acea obtained from Science Based Targets initiative(SBTi) the validation of its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to 2032, compared to the base year 2020. The international organisation assessed Acea’s goals in line with the “Well below 2°C” trajectory, the goal established in the 2015 Paris Accords to limit the increase in global temperature with respect to pre-industrial levels.
This decision represents an important acknowledgement of the decarbonisation process begun by the Group to support the energy transition. The set targets are: to reduce emissions per MWh of energy produced by 56% (scope 1), reduce indirect emissions from electricity use by 32% (scope 2), reduce emissions from energy production and energy procurement and resale by 56%, and to reduce by 30% the emissions from gas distributed and sold to customers.
Science Based Targets initiative is an international network comprising CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), the UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and the WWF. It promotes best practices for science-based decarbonisation target setting and independently evaluates targets proposed by companies

Acea confirmed as a 2023 sustainability leader

Acea was confirmed as one of the 240 most sustainable Italian companies, categorised by by turnover size, in research conducted by Sole24Ore and Statista. Some 1,500 companies were evaluated against 45 environmental, social and governance indicators. The analysis produced a score for each of the 3 aspects assessed (in each of these, the best company received the maximum score of 100) and the list of “Leader” companies was published in the Sole24Ore Sustainability Leader dossier.

Institutions and Acea for the protection of legality and the environment IN STRATEGIC WORKS LOCALLY

The commitment to strengthen the fight against potential corruptive conduct and the risk of infiltration by organised crime in corporate sectors of strategic national importance is the subject of the National Framework Protocol for the protection of legality jointly signed in July by Acea and the Ministry of the Interior.
The scope of the agreement includes the nationwide strengthening of cooperation in the field of public safety and legality, also in view of Acea's commitment in the implementation of important infrastructure works, such as the Peschiera aqueduct works and the NRRP implementation projects. The three-year protocol will cover the territories in the country where the Group companies operate; the latter will sign partnership protocols with the Prefectures on the basis of the Framework Protocol.
The implemented Agreement will envisage innovative prevention measures including: new digital monitoring systems for largescale construction sites, control of the external environment in which works take place and prevention activities to ensure correct handling of the waste disposal process.
In September, as part of the implementation of the Framework Protocol, four “Legality Protocols” were signed between the Prefecture of Rome and Acea Ato 2 to further protect safety and legality and to counter criminal infiltration at construction sites for major water works in the capital. The provisions will apply to all entities in the business chain and to all contractual arrangements, including those already in existence. In addition, extensive monitoring activities are planned for operators who become involved in any stage of the project, the related financial flows and the safety conditions of the construction sites and the workers employed. In the Prefecture, a “table” is set up to monitor labour flows; it will also include an official of the Territorial Labour Inspectorate and representatives of the most relevant construction trade unions.

In July 2023, the Board of Directors approved the Strategic guidelines underlying the finalisation of the new Business Plan and the development prospects for the core business sectors in the coming years.
The current 2020-2024 Business Plan, was defined taking into account five key mega trends that mark the forward development of Utilities: sustainability and the circular economy, customer centricity, energy transition, innovation and digitalisation and better market competitiveness.

In particular, the Business Plan has divided the Group’s growth guidelines into 5 strategic pillars summarised by the acronym GRIDS:

  • Growth: Growth driven by the regulated market;
  • Renewables: investment in renewables;
  • Innovation: investment in new innovative services;
  • Delivery: Results exceeded targets;
  • Sustainability: increasing focus on the environmental impact and circular economy.

The total business investments, envisaged in the Plan, amount to €4.3 billion.


area di business




Development of a Smart Water Company for sustainable use of water by improving the quality and effciency of the service Expansion through participation in new tenders in other territories.

  • installation of smart water meters and districting of the network
  • virtuous path of water resource protection with reduction of losses
  • rationalisation of small treatment plants
  • optimisation of network performance through the Water Management System
  • securitisation of supply with work on the strategic Peschiera and Marcio aqueducts


Major player in the energy transition with enabling projects for increased electrification and integration of distributed generation.

  • investments for network resilience with interventions on specific substations
  • network digitisation through remote control and IoT solutions
  • network maintenance to improve service continuity
  • 2G smart meter installation
  • new Network Service Management Centre


Consolidation of the market towards the circular economy including in a "one-stop-shop" logic.
Accelerated closing of the waste cycle in Central Italy.

Accelerazione nella chiusura del ciclo dei rifiuti nel Centro Italia.

  • consolidation of core business in energy recovery (WtE) and disposal of unsorted waste and organic fraction
  • strengthening Waste to Material (WtM) supply chains in view of the circular economy (e.g. plastic, paper)
  • further development in the special waste sector, also in synergy with the Group's water (e.g. sludge) and WtE (e.g. ash) activities
  • development of industrial synergies


Development of a building oriented company for turnkey management of construction and engineering activities

  • focus on core engineering activities
  • construction of plants through the internalisation of construction activities in an EPC perspective
  • reducing construction time and strengthening laboratory activities
  • development of a research centre
ingegneria e servizi


Commercial growth in central and southern Italy, also supported by the elimination of greater protection and "digital" offers. Development of a Services-Based Company to strengthen customer relations and enhance Acea Group brands

  • reinforcement in the reference territories and growth in Central and Southern Italy
  • cross-selling and up-selling opportunities from full market liberalisation and a push for dual fuel offerings
  • commercial strategy focused on digital channels, including through a new customer management platform
  • developments of the segment and mobility with installation of columns and value-added services
  • energy effciency services offer
  • Smart Comp installation with system managed remotely through an IoT platform developed by Acea
  • installation of residential photovoltaic and solar thermal systems


Growth of the PV portfolio to seize opportunities from the energy transition and decarbonisation process

  • growth in generation from renewable sources to seize opportunities offered by the decarbonisation process, whether through the construction of new PV plants in industrial and agricultural areas and through M&A transactions

In line with the industrial development guidelines, the 2020-2024 Sustainability Plan, divided into a governance level, intended to consolidate the integration of sustainability into the Company’s governance, and into five operating macro-objectives, split into 127 targets by 2024 and their KPIs, shows the unique traits assumed by sustainability for the Group, in the practical management of production and organisational processes and in relations with stakeholders (see boxes and charts 11 and 12). The 2020-2024 Sustainability Plan was defined with the involvement of the organisational structures (internal departments of the Parent Company and Operating Companies53), taking into account the material topics for 2019 defined by engagement with stakeholders, and remaining in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal and the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals that are relevant to Acea’s businesses. Following the update of the materiality analysis in 2022, it was verified and confirmed that it remains in line with the most relevant issues emerging from listening to multistakeholders.
The investments envisaged in the 2020-2024 Business Plan related to sustainability targets totalling €2.1 billion. In 2023, the progress of the targets, illustrated in detail in the following section, as well as the amount of investments made in the year was monitored, which, as at 31 December 2023, was around €290 million; in total, in the 2020-2023 four-year period, the Business Plan investments related to sustainability targets amounted to around €1.5 billion.


governance areas




  • consideration of material ESG topics in the risk management model;
  • assess risks and impacts on safety and the environment and mitigate them, including by adopting certified management systems



  • highlighting the total value generated by the Group with an integrated reading of economic and sustainable development



  • enhancing the objectives aimed at promoting sustainability impacts by integrating them into the performance management models


  • involving internal and external stakeholders in the matter by disseminating the “sustainability culture



  • integrating financial with ESG elements in communications and relations with shareholders and stakeholders



  • identifying sustainability topics in the evolving trends of national and European regulations



  • developing an advanced, collaborative labour-management relations model that meets new social needs



  • promoting sustainability along the supply chain, while being mindful of the relevant best practices

Il livello operativo del Piano di Sostenibilità 2020-2024: tratti peculiari dei 5 macro obiettivi

macro obiettivo





promuovere la centralità del cliente
  • increasing the technical and commercial quality of the services,while consolidating digital services;
  • improving the customer experience and the contact channels so that they fully meet customers' needs;



valorizzare le persone
  • training, employee involvement and increasing organisational well-being, including the protection and promotion of diversity
  • enhancing sustainability in performance management systems;



qualificare la presenza nei territori
  • increasing resilience of water and electricity infrastructure to ensure security of supply, adaptation to climate change and support for energy transition;
  • limiting impacts on the natural environment, protecting the land and biodiversity and using resources more efficiently;
  • streamlining and contributing to the decarbonisation of the energy system, with the increase of production from renewable sources and the consequent reduction of CO2emissions;
  • reducing the city’s environmental impacts through smart green services for customers and the development of circular economy initiatives;
  • promoting sustainability along the supply chain, raising awareness of customers and students on sustainability issues, with a structured approach to stakeholder involvement;




promuovere la salute
  • disseminating the culture of safety and prevention along the internal and external value chain;
  • increasing verification and control activities and actions to ensure the health and safety of customers;



investire in innovazione
  • applying innovative technologies for network management (digitisation, remote control, IoT) in a smart city perspective and in other production and organisational processes;
  • developing synergies in research and innovation for knowledge sharing as well as project implementation, including in association with start-ups and scientific partnerships.

Chart no. 11 – The 2020-2024 Sustainability Plan in numbers

Chart no. 11

GChart no. 12 – The sustainability strategy guidelines

Chart no. 12

The Management and Sustainability Systems Policy54 adopted by Acea also sets out the principles, values and commitments made by the Group, and is an integral part of the Management Systems in accordance with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and ISO 50001 (see also the section Management Systems). The Policy sees the following values as fundamental elements for sustainability:

  • promotion of a culture of quality;
  • respect for the environment and preservation of ecosystems;
  • fighting climate change;
  • the development of people and safety at workplace;
  • the efficient management of resources;
  • the assessment of the risk and the economic, social and environmental impacts;
  • participation in the well-being of the community and the development of an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders;
  • the promotion of creativity and technological and organisational innovation.

52 Acea Group Code of Ethics (2022 edition), Sustainability, Responsibility to Stakeholders and Environmental Protection, in the section Core Values and Principles
53 A target to increase the amount of energy produced from biogas (renewable source) was also defined for the Company Deco, which entered into the NFS reporting boundary in 2022
54 The Policy, updated in November 2020, can be found on the institutional website,