Type 1: Commercial partnership

Sector of the company/organisation

Energy & Utilities

Name of activity/project (or solution offered)

Give a tree to your City

Relevant urban sustainability topic

climate (mitigation, adaptation,…)
biodiversity (biodiversity, ecosystems, landscapes,…)
lifestyles (sustainable consumption, recreation, leisure,…)

Start year


End year


Brief project summary

Opting for the online bill instead of the paper bill means taking important environmental action. Hera has decided to promote the use of the e-bill with a raising-awareness campaign which involves customers and municipalities, and which will lead to 100,000 new subscriptions and to the planting of 2,000 new trees.

Short activity description

The campaign to promote online bills that involves the planting of new trees in participating towns in Emilia-Romagna started in November 2012 and was expected to finish by the end of 2016; however, the 100,000 subscriptions target was achieved two years earlier than envisaged. Each Municipality receive a number of trees proportionate to the residents: the trees will be around 3 meters high and, therefore, able to give a new and upgraded look to the urban environment chosen by the municipal authorities. The project involve also schools and other local associations. The results is monitored periodically to assess the overall increase of the subscriptions. Information about the campaign will be widely disseminated on the specifically created web channel

Achieved impact

Forty-four Municipalities were awarded, for a total of 73 green areas in which 2,000 trees will be planted (1 every 50 subscriptions) corresponding to the final objective of 100,000 subscriptions. 570 trees have been planted in 19 Municipalities, leading to the creation of 20 green areas; by the end of the year, the number of trees is estimated to reach 2,000. Alongside having a positive impact on urban décor, 2,000 trees are able to absorb 200 tons of CO₂ every year, in addition to the annual 44 tons of CO₂.

Is this project a best practice? Why?

This project is a best practice because by promoting the use of on-line bills Hera takes an important environmental action and at the same time involves different stakeholders (municipalities, schools, etc.) that can benefit from it.
The campaign was very successful among citizens as confirmed by the results achieved in no less than 8 Municipalities which exceeded the 10% threshold of electronic bills. This is an important goal that is evidence of a widespread sensitivity that is capable of turning into practical gestures.

What are the main lessons learned during implementation?

It is important to include in the project the different stakeholders (e.g. Municipalities. schools, etc.) and to continue monitoring the progress.

More information on the project


Director of Corporate Social Responsibility