2014 represented a real turning point for all of us. In the first year of post-merger operations, we achieved the assigned growth objectives and defined the new corporate entity and organization, further consolidating our ability to implement complex projects in the most diverse and challenging contexts in the world, ensuring the highest levels of quality, safety and environmental sustainability.
We are endeavouring to preserve all the main assets of our legacy whilst developing a shared corporate culture for the new Salini Impregilo Group, thereby offering the delivery of long-term value in financial, environmental, social and ethic terms.
We firmly believe that contractors are pioneers and key contributors to economic growth.
As a principled business we aim to strengthen society by pursuing strategic issues such as energy security, water scarcity, urban growth and mobility through our business activity, investments and supply chains.
Some of our ongoing projects embody this approach. The two mega hydroelectric projects under construction in Ethiopia are destined to drastically change and improve the quality of the daily lives of Ethiopia’s 99 million inhabitants. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, as the name suggests, represents the renaissance of this nation.
The same principle applies to several of the metro lines currently under construction in many major cities around the world, relieving urban traffic and shortening distances. The Cityringen new metro line in Copenhagen for example will introduce 17 new underground stations connecting key areas of the capital city since 85% of all homes, workplace and institutions of higher education will be within 600m of a metro station. This again represents an improvement in the daily lives of the estimated 130 million passengers per year.
Through our projects worldwide, we have succeeded in viewing sustainability also through a local lens thereby continuing to generate direct positive value for local stakeholders. A first example is in the employment sector and job creation: our Group has over 34,000 direct employees and about 17,000 subcontractors’ employees, totalling about 51,000 people employed in our projects, not considering the jobs created in related industries. Job creation and recruitment represent key issues for our Group so much so that in 2014 we launched a recruitment programme that will create 15,000 jobs worldwide in the business plan’s period.
We have maintained excellent working and living standards for our employees and we are proud to be able to assert that our commitment has become a benchmark in countries like Qatar, where local authorities and international trade unions have recognized the excellent work done. This is an example of how our actions affect others and the wider environment.
This success follows the signature of an important agreement last October with national and international unions to promote the best working practices in all countries where we operate, confirming the commitment towards our employees and our policy to treat everyone equally. We are fully aware that people are the real driving force of our company.
Besides protecting people’s rights, we have also invested increasing resources in our workforce’s development. Indeed, we are aware that our work does not end in the pure construction of infrastructures but must also contribute to the social development of communities, especially considering that about two-thirds of our workforce is employed in countries with emerging economies, where access to basic services - water, energy, health, education - is not guaranteed for all.
In these areas, from Asia to Latin America and Africa, we have invested significant resources in vocational training to strengthen the technical expertise of thousands of employees. This huge effort has also enabled us to improve our global safety performance (-21% for Injury rate and -46% for the Lost day rate) and to reinforce the safety culture among our people, contributing to raise the general labour standards in these areas, thanks to the creation of a pool of workers, suppliers and contractors that are increasingly aware and competent.
We have continued to stay close to our communities, supporting them both in everyday life and in extraordinary events. At our project sites located in rural and remote areas, our medical staff has continued to provide free health care to local communities, treating over 23,000 cases in Ethiopia, Colombia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, mostly involving children, women and old people. We also supported the population in Genoa affected by the flood last October, donating to the city the project design for safety measures along the Bisagno River, which will guarantee to realize this important project in a faster way and prevent inconveniences caused by possible future natural disasters.
We have improved our environmental performance by increasing the recovered and recycled amount of raw materials, water and waste. We have continued to develop innovative solutions to reduce our energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases, such as tri-generation systems and the totally carbon-neutral camp under construction at the metro project of Red North Line in Doha.
We are proud of all these important achievements and I hope that our example will inspire other companies, clients and institutions to align core business activities. The results reached represent an incentive for us to do even more. We want to continue to create value for our clients, investors, employees, partners and local communities, in accordance with our ethical principles and those of the Global Compact on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
In presenting the Sustainability Report 2014, I want to thank all of our 34,000 employees who, with their daily commitment around the world, made it possible to achieve these incredible results.