Procurement policies

The Purchasing and Logistics Function ensures “the definition of policies and guidelines and centralised management of the procurement of goods, services and works for the Group”. Its goal is to rationalise the procurement process and increase its efficiency, through the valorisation of the technical skills of the buyers, an approach focusing on the logic of managing categories of goods, a close synergy with the Companies/Functions in the Group which require procurement services (“internal customers”) and transparent relations with the suppliers.

The Logistics Unit manages the operations of the Group’s central warehouse and the local warehouses of the main operating companies. In 2018, the logistic network also handled the storage and delivery of personal protective equipment and work clothes, previously located at specific sites, thus allowing operating personnel to collect the equipment together with materials for scheduled and unscheduled works, thus reducing the number of returns to the headquarters to pick up equipment. During the year the project for the development of the Santa Palomba Logistics Hub was started, which envisages the expansion of the current site by a further 9,000 square metres of land, where during 2019 new testing laboratories and a new area for the storage of materials will be built.

Dealings with suppliers and procurement management

At the end of July 2018, the Board of Directors approved the1. For proper relations between Acea, as a contracting authority, and its suppliers: Contractors and subcontractors observe in particular the rules and procedures, including processes of due diligence aimed at assessing any risks of corruption, the principles of transparency and protection of competition, the principles of good faith, loyalty, professional propriety and the promotion of sustainability, like respect for the protection and safety of workers, the quality of goods, services and performance, respect for the environment and the pursuit of energy savings. Suppliers shall issue a declaration of acceptance of the prescriptions contained in the Code of Ethics and of commitment to comply with them. This declaration, which constitutes an element of the contractual relationship, is attached to the documents produced for participation in tender procedures for the awarding of works, goods and services. A violation of the principles contained therein will result in exclusion from the tender or cancellation of the award, following necessary checks.


Acea Code of Ethics, Article 15, introduction and paragraph 2«Acea Code of Ethics, Article 15, introduction and paragraph 2:

«Acea commits to seeking out professionalism in its suppliers and external collaborators and a commitment to sharing the principles and contents of the Code that defines the set of values that both the contracting authority and all the companies and external collaborators must necessarily aspire to, on the basis of the principle of mutual benefit and cooperation that is the foundation of these relations...

Acea undertakes to promote, as part of its supply activities, respect for the protection and safety conditions of its employees, a focus on the quality of goods, services and performances, respect for the environment and the pursuit of energy savings.

In supply contracts with at-risk countries, defined as such by recognised organisations, contractual clauses have been introduced that involve: compliance of the supplier with specific social obligations (e.g. measures that guarantee employees respect for their fundamental rights, the principles of equal treatment and non-discrimination, protection against child labour); the possibility of carrying out monitoring activities at production units or operating sites of the supplier company in order to verify the fulfilment of these requisites».

The use of the tender is the method primarily used for the identification of the supplier, and the tender procedures are based on transparency criteria, ensuring the centralised management of tenders. The Purchasing Function fulfils, for all the companies of the Group within the scope of “centred purchases”, the obligation2 of disclosing on the corporate website of Acea (www.gruppo. all of the documentation containing all information concerning the purchases made in the framework of the Code for Tenders3.

During 2018, 81% of all supplies was tendered, confirming the upward trend of recent years (70% in 2017 and 52% in 2016). Operators who are interested in participating in tenders can access directly and free of charge the portal hosting the qualification systems and the portal hosting the online completion of calls for tenders – in the “Suppliersarea of the company website – where the required forms and information are available.

The web portal enabling tenders to be managed online is based on the same operational procedure as traditional tenders: it checks the adequacy of the supporting document, acknowledges possession of the eligibility requirements, discloses the bids and displays the ranking.

For all tenders for works contracts and a considerable number of tenders for the purchase of goods and services require UNI EN ISO 9001 certification of the quality management system as a prerequisite for participation. UNI EN ISO 14001 certification of the environmental management system is also needed for certain product categories (such as waste management). For some of the tenders awarded on the basis of the most economically advantageous bid, the score is also impacted by the possession of the SA8000 certificate.

In 2018, as in the two previous years, in some tenders for water, electrical and civil engineering works awarded on the basis of the most economically advantageous bid, rewards were introduced concerning: the number of employees trained on safety matters for work carried out in specific environments and conditions (for example at heights or in confined spaces), the availability of ecological tools and the joint possession of UNI EN ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications, and also the OHSAS 18001 standards on health and safety in the workplace.

In compliance with the law4, for tenders for works, goods and services that fall within special water and energy business areas, Acea issues open, restricted or negotiated procedures also between companies registered in the Qualification systems. For tenders in special areas involving amounts below the EC threshold – established every two years by EC Regulation – Acea applies Internal Regulations in accordance with the principles of the EC Treaty for the protection of competition. With regard to awards falling within ordinary business areas, open, restricted or negotiated procedures are issued in compliance with the law5. Furthermore, for tenders that do not fall within the scope of application of the Code on Tenders (so-called “extraneous or private law”), selection procedures are used which, although not regulated by it, comply with the principles of free competition, equal treatment, non-discrimination, transparency and proportionality.

During 2018, the companies of the Acea Group under analysis herein signed approximately 2,200 contracts with over 1,150 suppliers, figures that are slightly higher than those recorded in 2017 (see Table no. 34).

For contracts pertaining to the scope of application of the Public Contracts Code and having as subject matter works and services with high manual labour content, Acea, in compliance with the provisions of law6 in the matter of social clause, added the obligation, as a priority, to absorb staff already operating as employees of the outgoing contractor into the awarded company’s staffing structure, compatibly with its organisation

Green procurement   

Following on from previous years, Acea inserted in the tender documents, as binding parameters or reward schemes, the regulatory references to the Minimum Environmental Criteria (CAM) adopted by Decree of the Ministry for the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea7. Specifically, in 2018 Acea extended the scope of application and compliance with the current CAMs (currently 18) in the tenders involving the following product categories:

  • Interior furnishings (office furniture);
  • Public lighting (supply and design of LED lighting fixtures);
  • Work clothes;
  • Maintenance of green areas;
  • Office IT equipment (rental of printers and photocopiers);
  • Cleaning of buildings.

Moreover, since last year Acea has set the goal of extending the CAM approach to other categories of its product tree not covered by specific Ministerial Decrees and where compatible with the nature of the goods and services purchased and with the methods of sale.

For the International Compraverde-Buy Green Forum held in Rome, Acea was given the Social Procurement Award for organisations that have distinguished themselves by having actively contributed to the spread of green procurement (see the dedicated box).

[85] Art. 50 of Legislative Decree no. 50/2016.
[86] From the website “Minimum Environmental Criteria (CAM) are the environmental requirements defined for the various phases of the purchasing process, aimed at identifying the best design solution, product or service from an environmental point of view throughout the life cycle, taking into account market availability.... Their systematic and uniform application makes it possible to spread environmental technologies and environmentally preferable products”.


Acea was awarded the Social Procurement Award during the 12th edition of the Compraverde- Buy Green Forum, the General Assembly of Green Purchasing by public and private operators in the world of the Green Economy. Promoted by the Ecosistemi Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment, Unioncamere and Legambiente, the event is one of the most important international events dedicated to Green Procurement policies and projects.

Confirming its commitment to sustainability issues, Acea has earned this prestigious award thanks to the priority it gives to environmental and social criteria in its tender procurement activities.

The best practice that earned Acea its award concerns in particular the European call for tenders (call GUUE 2018/S 140-322259) for the award of a Framework Agreement for the supply of workwear with reduced environmental impact for Acea SpA and the companies of the Group, in accordance with the Ministerial Decree of the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea of 11.01.2017, Official Gazette no. 23 of 28/01.

These issues were also the subject of a round table entitled “Green procurement in public utilities”, promoted by Acea among the activities of the Forum. The meeting was attended by the main Italian companies in the energy, water and environment sectors. Finally, meetings were held at the Acea booth with buyers, suppliers and companies present at the Forum. This year’s edition saw the participation of over 2,000 operators, 270 public bodies, companies and non-profit organisations from 45 European cities.

1 The Acea Code of Ethics (2018 ed.) is available online at, Governance section, Corporate Governance sub-section.
2 In compliance with what is required by the National Anti-corruption Authority (ANAC) and envisaged by the so-called “Anti-corruption Law” (Law 190/2012).
3 Legislative Decree no. 50 of 18 April 2016 and subsequent amendments and additions. Code of Public Contracts.
4 Part II, Section VI, Chapter 1 - Legislative Decree no. 50/2016.
5 Part II, Sections III, IV and V - Legislative Decree no. 50/2016.
6 Art. 50 of Legislative Decree no. 50/2016.
7 From the website “Minimum Environmental Criteria (CAM) are the environmental requirements defined for the various phases of the purchasing
process, aimed at identifying the best design solution, product or service from an environmental point of view throughout the life cycle, taking into account market
availability.... Their systematic and uniform application makes it possible to spread environmental technologies and environmentally preferable products”.