The strong growth in the wind power industry has led us to become the leading operator in Italy and one of the first in Europe and the acquisition of the Terni hydroelectric Complex, in late 2015, has made ERG a leading renewable energy player in the heavily regulated power market.
Institutional relations have thus taken on an increasing importance for the company.
ERG's change of business has brought more attention and more intense dialogue with the financial community and with the media. Compliance with the GRI-G4 standards, on the basis of which the Sustainability Report is drawn up, also requires a significant commitment in terms of "meeting" and "discussion" to integrate stakeholder expectations into the content of the Report.
- Dialogue with Financial Investors
We have been listed on the Milan Stock Exchange for almost twenty years. The growing importance of our relations with analysts and investors, over the years, is therefore no surprise.
Our commitment is to provide to the financial community all the information it needs to assess opportunities for investing in our company – in a transparent and timely manner, and in compliance with the regulations on the disclosure of price sensitive information. Communication with investors and fi nancial analysts is primarily through one-to-one meetings and roadshows, both in Italy and abroad.
Especially in times of great volatility and economic downturn, clarity is critical when communicating business strategy and discussing industrial accountability versus our commitments, to maintain market confidence and support the value of the company on the Stock Market.
With this in mind, on 16 December 2015, we met the fi nancial community and the business press to present ERG Group's 2015-2018 Business Plan.
On that occasion, the company's top management, on the basis of our financial performance, could both take stock of its achievements over the previous business plan and illustrate the strategic guidelines underlying the development prospects for the Group, which at the end of its transformation, by entering the hydroelectric sector, is increasingly positioned as a leading producer of electricity from renewable sources.
- Dialogue with Institutional Stakeholders
Operating in a heavily regulated industry, such as that of the production and sale of energy, requires a continual analysis and monitoring of the sector's regulations, as well as of the political-institutional framework, both at Italian and European level. This need can be met only through a constant and transparent dialogue with institutions, organizations, associations and businesses.
ERG interfaces with the institutions clearly representing its interests as an operator with a strong emphasis on renewable energy and thus contributing to the development of legislation in the areas of interest.
This is a way to support achievement of the Group's strategic objectives, through a process that includes:
- agreeing on corporate objectives and targets and defining structured stakeholder engagement activities;
- mediation and internal coordination of the different positions within the Group to ensure a single position for ERG;
- coalition building, aimed at defining joint positions with structured and reliable industry stakeholders;
- dialogue with the involved institutions;
- internal reporting on the results achieved.
Advocacy activities are carried out by the Group "on its own", and through memberships in representation bodies, where appropriate, at local, national and european level (Confindustria, Assoelettrica, AssoRinnovabili, AIGET, EWEA, ANEV, etc.).
Within the associations, in particular, we work actively, through our representativesin the context of statutory bodies, in specific technical working groups and committees.
In recent years we have participated in many round tables: from the reform of the electricity market to the introduction of the capacity market, to systems providing incentives for renewable sources, and on to Emission Trading and energy taxation.
These are issues on which the discussions with the institutions, but also within associations and among the various players, have been very complex.
These discussion opportunities helped us establish an "active" cooperation with the various stakeholders, institutions in particular, based on sharing know-how and specifi c expertise, enhancing ERG's reputational capital.
Our relations with institutional stakeholders are based on transparency, ethics, independence, credibility and compliance, values that have always been part of our DNA, besides being part of our Code of Ethics and of our organizational model (pursuant to legislative decree 231/01).
To ensure maximum effectiveness in managing these relationships, ERG Group has adopted an Internal Control System supported by a specifi c system of penalties.
That system of penalties is supplemented by ERG's policy under which no direct or indirect contributions are paid, in any form, to political parties, movements, committees, political organizations or trade unions, or to their representatives or candidates (with the exception of cases
established by specific regulations).
The International Round Table
The presence of the European institutions makes Brussels a privileged observatory of changes in legislation, in particular on energy and on the environment. Besides, the definition and management of institutional relations with the European countries in which the Group has an interest are favoured by significant national representation.
- Dialogue with Local Communities
A systematic and constructive approach to the community, an iteration between Company and Community for the development of common and agreed projects: these are the ways in which ERG relates to local communities.
In 2015, we continued to co-operate and involve local communities, pursuing social and cultural projects in collaboration with public administrations.
Our approach is to engage in projects that generate added value for the area and its inhabitants. To do so, the "CSR initiatives Evaluation Committee", composed of personnel of the operating companies, of the Communications Department and of the Sustainability Department, selects initiatives coming from the community, based on the values they express and the positive impact expected over time.
In the areas of the country where we have wind farms, we implemented the "Go with the wind!" project which involved third-year secondary school pupils (who are dual stakeholders since they belong to both the "future generations" and the "local communities") on issues such as the production of renewable energy (focusing specifically on wind energy), energy saving, resource protection, and the reduction of impacts on the ecosystem. Classroom meetings were followed by a visit to a wind farm, a "neighbour" to be discovered in all its aspects.
In Sicily, home to our thermal power plant over the years, we invested for the benefit of students with our "Progetto Scuola" (School Project), created to educate new generations on road safety issues, as well as with other projects to support culture and sports.
The ERGLAB experience
The ERGLab format is characterized by:
- FOCUS - specific issues of energy and environmental policy, approached concisely and concretely
- DEBATE - one or more main discussants present their view and initiate the debate
- INVOLVEMENT - all parties freely express their views
- CONFIDENTIALITY - the meetings take place under the Chatham House Rule, which states that the identities of the individuals cannot be revealed outside
- DELIVERABLES - while respecting confi dentiality, the content and the positions expressed are summarised in a policy document and/or a fi nal working paper
- NETWORKING - participants have the opportunity to continue to discuss the issue in greater depth through a special "mail group".
- the reform of energy markets, an essential element to achieve the integration of European electricity markets which has already started with the market coupling between Italian, French and Austrian borders;
- effectiveness of the CO2 emission allowance trading scheme, that despite recent corrective action does not seem able to adequately support the fight against greenhouse gas emissions and that would therefore open to possible alternative measures focused on carbon added tax";
- enhancement of "Corporate Social Responsibility" as a competitive lever for those companies that, beyond reporting, prove their actual level of sustainability by facts and by their behaviour.