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Case study: How Alperia promotes sustainability among its suppliers

Alperia is South Tyrol’s leading energy service provider and one of Italy’s most important sustainable-energy companies. Alperia is committed to ensuring responsible supply-chain management  Tweet This!, checking that suppliers meet the requirements of integrity, professionalism, technical standards and good reputation.

This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainability Report by Alperia published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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In 2019, Alperia invested heavily in the search for sustainability in its purchasing process, integrating this requirement in its tenders. In order to promote sustainability among its suppliers Alperia took action to:

  • implement a Code of Ethics
  • promote compliance

What are the material issues the company has identified?   

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Alperia identified a range of material issues, such as customer satisfaction, innovation, research and development, health and safety at work, asset integrity, employee development. Among these, promoting sustainability among its suppliers stands out as a key material issue for Alperia.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Alperia engages with:

Stakeholder Group
Customers
Workforce
Suppliers
Owners and Investors
Interest groups
Citizens
Research institutes
Community

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Alperia engaged with its stakeholders though an anonymous online survey answered by 176 participants.

What actions were taken by Alperia to promote sustainability among its suppliers?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Alperia reports that it took the following actions for promoting sustainability among its suppliers:

  • Implementing a Code of Ethics
  • All Alperia suppliers must accept the principles of the Group’s Code of Ethics and uphold them, beginning with the respect and protection of human rights (included in all tenders and purchase orders managed by Procurement), occupational health and safety, as well as respect for the environment and sustainability. To ensure purchase procedures follow these criteria a new organisational system was implemented during 2019, to keep track of information requested and received by suppliers.
  • Promoting compliance
  • Alperia uses a variety of tools to verify that its suppliers comply with precise environmental and social standards, including the following:
    • Register of suppliers: Alperia created a structured register of suppliers in 2017. To be included on the register, suppliers must complete a questionnaire and document actions taken in certain areas, such as occupational health and safety. Suppliers are subject to three-year qualification and must demonstrate that they have specific social/environmental certifications (e.g. ISO 14001, ISO 45001, EMAS) or equivalent measures in place. The register is updated continuously and additional requirements were added in 2019.
    • Tenders: Alperia has established a process for assessing the minimum sustainability requirements associated with a given product for the group’s supply tenders. In 2019, a check list was also added to contracts, was attached to the RDA (Purchase Request) and all the individual units must complete it. This list contains factors to be applied for both tender management and contract drafting.
    • Vendor Rating System: The Vendor Rating System is an instrument that guarantees the quality of suppliers and minimises the risk of loss and dependence. The system provides that the collaboration of suppliers of strategic importance is evaluated internally on the basis of a standard questionnaire, in which the quality of services provided, safety standards and commitment to environmental sustainability are considered. These criteria allow the performance of individual suppliers to be assessed. This application will be implemented through the introduction of dedicated software.
    • Supplier audits: Alperia can carry out supplier audits for all suppliers, verifying information received and carrying out on-site visits and interviews.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 308-1 New suppliers that were screened using environmental criteria

2) Disclosure 414-1 New suppliers that were screened using social criteria

 

Disclosure 308-1 New suppliers that were screened using environmental criteria does not correspond to any SDG.

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified & IEMA recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified & IEMA recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Alperia, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Alperia: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.