Snam’s engagement system is present at all levels of the business. The Company regularly collaborates with investors, government authorities, institutions and companies with the aim of offering a service which is consistent with local and national needs and growth plans and makes available its expertise to foster the development of activities to ensure ongoing improvements in the reliability of plants and the quality of services offered, while placing a priority on the health and safety of its employees and contractors.
Since listing on the stock market in December 2001, Snam has been known for the transparency of its relations with investors and the financial community, and provides detailed reports of its objectives and results to enable shareholders and the financial market to assess all the ways in which the Company creates value.
Based on assessments expressed by the financial community, Snam is a company with a limited industrial and financial risk profile, operating in a stable and transparent regulatory environment which guarantees visibility over its future earnings and cash flows.
Best practice benchmarks are adopted every year which enable shareholders and the financial market to thoroughly assess the Company’s drivers of value creation. In 2013, 11 road shows were conducted to meet shareholders and institutional investors in the major financial centres of Europe and North America. In total, management held one-to-one meetings with 100 investors, and there were also 30 group meetings and 8 industry conferences.
In 2013, there was also an Investor Day when the Company presented its foreign strategy to the financial community and gave a group of investors the chance to visit the infrastructure of Interconnector UK (in which Snam has a 15.8% stake) in the south of England.
The year also saw extensive communication with Snam bondholders and credit market analysts, with management taking part in dedicated conferences (three during 2013) and organising numerous one-to-one meetings and conference calls.
At the same time, we also communicated with the rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, retaining an investment grade credit rating (BBB+ from Standard & Poor’s and Baa1 from Moody’s) which reflects the Company’s financial soundness and structure.
This section also features some periodical publications, such as the “Financial Market Review” that offers a monthly analysis of the financial markets and the stock market performance of Snam, its competitors and the utilities sector in general, and “News&Facts”, a quarterly publication for individual investors.
Since 2010, the Investor Relations section of the website has featured the “Shareholders’ Guide”, including an interactive version, which is updated weekly and aims to provide a summary of useful information which will enable all shareholders to play a more active role in their Snam investment.
2013 saw the launch of “Sustainability. Creating a shared value”, an annual publication summarising the sustainability policies that dictate Snam’s relations with its stakeholders.
Communities and local areas
In keeping with the principles of sustainable development and its strategic growth plans, Snam arranges social and cultural events. The Company is involved in ongoing positive discussions with the local communities where it operates. It cooperates with local and national authorities, participates in the work of several associations and committees and provides its commitment and expertise to encourage improvements in the area of corporate social responsibility.
Following the signing in 2012 of a memorandum of understanding with Federparchi providing for joint projects on conservation to further strengthen environmental biodiversity and protection, an implementing agreement was signed in 2013. This implementing agreement established a working group, comprising specialists from Snam and Federparchi, with the aim of implementing environmental protection and conservation measures in infrastructure construction zones, and of conducting surveys aimed at acquiring direct knowledge of the techniques used by Snam in its environmental restoration programmes.
Every year since 2002, Snam has supported the environmental “Clean Up The World” volunteer initiative, organised by Legambiente, and Clean Up The World’s Italian campaign, a great global event for volunteer environmental action in which volunteers spend three days cleaning our country’s beaches, squares, gardens, parks and rivers. By means of an internal awareness campaign, Snam encourages its people to participate in the event.
During the year, institutional meetings continued with representatives of local government agencies and local governments with the aim of greater sharing and the participation of local stakeholders in the Company’s strategic decisions.
Customers and the Electricity and Gas Authority
Snam has always placed special emphasis on its relationship with customers, with a view to satisfying the diverse needs resulting from the evolving gas market. This is done by monitoring the needs of customers and identifying, and then introducing, tools and procedures which facilitate access to our services.
Operating and commercial activities are carried out using increasingly advanced computer systems with applications which can even be migrated to web systems and enable a high degree of automation in managing various contracts. These systems are implemented from time to time to improve customer communications. In this way, we also comply with Resolutions issued by the Electricity and Gas Authority which regulates our services.
In 2013 we worked on the IT software and related web interfaces with the users of the transportation portals, making sure that we always involved and discussed things with our clients, to improve balancing operations by enabling management of the second balancing session.
We also introduced functionalities which, based on the information provided by distribution companies, enable Snam and its transportation users to measure the ‘adequate capacity’ so they can better monitor their own balancing position with a view to safeguarding the gas system.
In 2013, the transportation segment conducted a feasibility study on the creation of an online portal to support the disconnection and opening of redelivery points on the transportation network. From 2014, the portal will simplify related activities for users by using a single, clear channel of communication and monitoring request statuses in real time. Meanwhile, as part of the default transportation supply service, the Company held a public call for tenders to select three users to provide the service in line with the provisions of the Electricity and Gas Authority. It has also completed the digitisation of all activities related to this service, enabling the nominated users to fulfil the obligations laid down by the Electricity and Gas Authority in a straightforward manner thanks to the new functionalities available on the Capacity and M-Gas portals.
The storage business is still involved in making changes to the IT systems with a view to continually improving the quality and fluidity of the service, partly in light of regulations issued by the Electricity and Gas Authority. Specifically, the Stogit capacity portal, which covers all information exchanges between Stogit and its customers in line with the provisions of the Storage Code, has been further enriched by the implementation of the strategic storage service, enabling customers to communicate their imports and production figures on a monthly basis, and of the new auction process. The SAMPEI system, which is used for managing new contracts, the various storage sites of users and the new delivery methods, has also been updated.
The relationship with the Electricity and Gas Authority plays a key role for those operating in the energy business. Over the years, Snam has established a constructive relationship and worked effectively with the Electricity and Gas Authority by continually maintaining an advisory role and providing substantial information to support changes in the regulatory environment in the natural gas sector. In particular during the consulting phase, it has always made a significant contribution to the preparation of resolutions and provides support in response to all of the Authority’s requests for information, including in the form of round table discussions and specific technical meetings.
Snam has adopted a procurement procedure based on transparency, impartiality and responsibility in compliance with the principle of free competition, and continues to achieve operating and performance targets over the short and long term.
Results are achieved based on the strategic planning of procurement activities and the preparation of a long-term procurement plan. The plan will be used to identify procurement targets, to maximise operating efficiency and to guarantee a high level of service, adhering at all times to the sustainability principles which Snam has adopted.
Our activities have always emphasised the respect and protection of human and labour rights, environmental protection and the search for a sustainable development model. It is our wish to share these values with all our counterparties.
In this respect, we ask suppliers to adopt Model 231 and to observe the principles of Snam’s Code of Ethics, to comply with legislation on occupational health and safety and with environmental laws, and to adhere to international standards regarding labour laws.
Snam supports the Global Compact, an international initiative launched in 2000 by the United Nations to support ten universal principles concerning human rights, employment, the environment and anti-corruption. Snam Group companies share the ten principles of the Global Compact with all their suppliers through their contractual documentation, with the intention of disseminating the values contained therein.
Snam is guiding its suppliers through a process of improvement and optimisation of the procedures which govern subcontracting, entailing greater subcontractor accountability while at the same time ensuring the growth of the supplier and improving the quality of work carried out for the Company.
As part of efforts to spread Snam’s culture of sustainability, a workshop was staged in July 2013 for companies involved in contract work for gas transportation activities. The workshop, which was entitled “Make comparisons to prevent and improve”, was an important opportunity to discuss workers’ safety and the protection of their day-to-day environment. It was a follow-up to “My safety is your safety”, held in 2012.
Several new initiatives developed by Snam to make the supply chain even more efficient were unveiled at the event. These included: the new vendor rating model for recording the quality of services provided; the creation of the “Safety Trophy” for contractors who invest in safety and deliver exceptional performance; and the supplier portal, a new online platform serving as a one-stop shop for creating a more efficient computer networking system, sharing good practices and exchanging expertise with a view to establishing common values in supply chain processes.
During 2013, Snam employed more than 1,000 companies and entered into over 1,600 supply contracts worth a total of around €1.35 billion (€1.24 billion in Italy), covering goods, works and services.