Aqualia becomes the first end-to-end water cycle operator to accredit SDG contributions
With 51% owned by the citizen services group FCC and 49% by the Australian ethical fund IFM Investors, the company has been recognised by AENOR for "incorporating sustainability into its principles and aligning its strategies with the SDGs that are most relevant to its activity".
This certificate attests to the intense efforts Aqualia has been making in all three facets: financial, social and environmental, equating to years working for sustainability, and endorses the company's commitment to leading the way in responsible and efficient water management.
Aqualia's 2020 Sustainability Report, which will be presented in the next few days, is the first time the company has applied the methodology of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), which favours the creation of value in the short, medium and long terms. The company also has its 2021-2023 Strategic Sustainability Plan on the table.
AENOR CEO Rafael García Meiro delivered the Sustainable Strategy (ODS) certificate to Aqualia's CEO Félix Parra at a ceremony held at Aqualia's corporate headquarters in Madrid.
Aqualia has become the first end-to-end water cycle management company to receive AENOR's Sustainability Strategy and SDG Contribution certification, for incorporating sustainability into the company's principles and aligning the company's strategies with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of greatest relevance to its own activity.
AENOR CEO Rafael García Meiro delivered the certificate to Aqualia's CEO Félix Parra at a ceremony held at the company's corporate headquarters in Madrid. In his talk, the Aqualia CEO also stressed that "we are strategic allies of the public administrations in rendering a full range of services in the end-to-end water cycle. We are also working with the public sector on sustainability so that together we can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals faster and leave no one behind". In turn, García Meiro highlighted Aqualia's real work as a world benchmark in sustainability, "leading a movement that society would do well to emulate".
In its audit report, the certifying body highlights the integration of the different management systems in Aqualia's international policy as a strong point and points out how the company's activity contributes to the achievement of the SDGs. AENOR particularly singled out initiatives such as Aqualia's internal and external SDG communication plan via projects such as , the campaign and the educational website .
This certification, intended to endorse that Aqualia's strategy incorporates sustainability and is aligned with the SDGs relevant to its core business, generating confidence to third parties and distinguishing its business contribution, is the result of the continuous work that Aqualia has been carrying out for years to contribute, through its daily work, to the achievement of the SDGs and leadership in the responsible and efficient water management. These activities have all merged together in the 2021-2023 Strategic Sustainability Plan, which drives the company towards achieving the SDGs, not only because it sets out projects, actions and performance indicators, but also because the Plan allows us to measure the progress made and to be accountable to the company's stakeholders.
AENOR's Sustainability Strategy and SDG Contribution certification translates into three important benefits, including having a certification scheme for sustainability management globally aligned with a commonly accepted international reference; transferring this commitment to stakeholders; and the possibility of making this model compatible with other reports, whether voluntary or regulatory, such as the reporting of non-financial information or the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), to name just a few.
Building on its know-how as a company specialising in the management of all phases of the end-to-end water cycle, the company has more than twenty active R&D projects. This intense innovative engagement entails such activities as the transformation of wastewater treatment plants into biofactories, the development of low-cost wastewater treatment technologies for the treatment of wastewater from small towns, and securing 14 patents, including the one developed within the framework of the H2020 MIDES project for water desalination requiring no external energy input.
Aqualia also offers society its technology aimed at digitalising water management. The company has used digital customer service channels to issue nearly 2.5 million e-bills in 2020 and increased its customer service through all its digital channels during the hardest months of the pandemic.
Aqualia LIVE, the company's own technological platform, integrates seven different tools for deploying a whole series of processes in a single mobile application, thereby improving the efficiency of its work teams and, consequently, the service provided to citizens.
The company conducted a thorough materiality analysis in 2018 and initiated a process of active listening to more than 18,000 of its stakeholders, which has enabled the company to understand and measure the most relevant impacts of its activity.
After identifying and prioritising the Sustainable Development Goals with which Aqualia is committed, the company published its 2019 Sustainability Report, under the title . This document was a step forward in Aqualia's sustainability strategy, providing contribution metrics for these objectives based on a triple bottom line approach (economic, social and environmental) and "glocal", a term that refers to the interrelation of global aspects and local impacts.
Additionally, Aqualia applied the methodology proposed by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), a coalition of regulators, investors, companies, standard-setters, accounting professionals and NGOs, for the first time in 2020 in the preparation of its report. These standards aim at orienting corporate reporting towards value creation. In this regard, the methodology proposes improved information for financial capital providers, accountability of the company based on capital (financial, intellectual, human, natural, social, etc.), and also a strategy of integrated thinking for decision-making that results in the creation of value in the short, medium and long terms.
The (DCA) panel recognised as the world's fourth best digital annual report in 2020, in the CSR and Annual Reports category, ahead of renowned international brands. These awards, organised by the Quadriga University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, recognise the best digital communication work and campaigns by public bodies, companies, agencies, associations and NGOs.
Aqualia is Europe's fourth largest water management company and the world's ninth largest in terms of population served according to the latest Global Water Intelligence ranking (March 2021). The company currently serves roughly 30 million people in 17 countries: Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Spain, France, Italy, Mexico, Oman, Portugal, Qatar, Czech Republic, Romania and Tunisia. The 2020 revenue of €1,188 million was linked to a business portfolio of over €15 billion. Aqualia is the end-to-end water cycle management company of the citizen services group FCC (51%) and the Australian ethical fund IFM Investors (49%).