Corporate social responsibility online: Hera named top performer in Italy

Corporate social responsibility online: Hera named top performer in Italy

Hera has been named the best company in Italy for online corporate social responsibility (CSR) communications. The Group topped this year’s prestigious ranking drawn up by Lundquist (, which monitors how the 100 biggest companies in Italy use the web to communicate the results of their social, ethical and environmental awareness-raising activities. Having been ranked first , Hera regained the top spot this year with a score of 76.5 points out of 100, ahead of groups such as Fiat and UniCredit. The ranking was announced in Turin on Friday by Lundquist, a consultancy that conducts an annual CSR online survey as part of a wider study covering more than 220 companies across Europe, divided into five different rankings (Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the Nordic region and a pan-European study). The study analysed the 100 largest listed and non-listed companies in Italy that publish a CSR report. The average Italian score was very low, at just 34 points.

Using 68 criteria, the study assessed the quantity and quality of information made available online by companies for stakeholders, customers, shareholders, employees, suppliers and the general public with regard to the social, environmental and economic impact of their activities. Aspects analysed include interactivity (use of social media, blogs and podcasts) and visual communication (videos and graphics).

In Hera’s case, this meant assessing a vast array of information made available via various online tools, including: the publication in real time of the emissions of the Group’s waste-to-energy plants; proof of the quality of water supplied to each municipality; detailed reports on the added value generated for the local economy; reports on the amount of water lost from the networks; separated waste collection tracking; and the publication of the Group’s accident frequency rate. Hera also holds a web chat on CSR following the publication of its Sustainability Report. One of the first of its kind in Italy, the web chat also covers the Group’s report on drinking water quality, “In buone acque” (“In good waters”).

Hera was awarded the top ranking due to its excellent performance in all areas. According to Lundquist: “The website is very user-friendly and informative and is supported by a number of tools that facilitate web-based dialogue, such as apps, web chats and social networking.”

The survey highlighted a number of points concerning Italian companies’ online CSR communications. According to the data published by Lundquist, which conducted more than 400 interviews, only 12% of leading Italian companies use Facebook or Twitter to communicate CSR. Only 10% of the companies studied present their data in an interactive way, while 47% of Italy’s biggest companies do not formally report on their CSR activities, with many of the very largest failing to produce a sustainability report.