Horizon Holdings publishes its first Sustainability-Based Annual Report



    
    Company is proud to be the first electricity distribution company in
    Ontario to submit to the international standard for sustainability
    reporting
    

    HAMILTON and ST. CATHARINES, ON, June 10 /CNW/ - Horizon Holdings Inc.,
the parent company of Horizon Utilities Corporation and Horizon Energy
Solutions Inc., is proud to present its first sustainability-based Annual
Report, available for viewing online under the Sustainability section at:
www.horizonutilities.com.
    As the holding company of one of Ontario's largest and best performing
electricity distribution companies, Horizon Holdings is acutely aware of the
trust placed in the company by the communities it serves. More than 230,000
Horizon customers in Hamilton and St. Catharines benefit directly from low
rates and a safe and reliable supply of electricity, as well as indirectly
from dividends paid to the company's municipal shareholders - the cities of
Hamilton and St. Catharines.
    This year, by combining traditional financial reporting with a review of
the organization's economic, social and environmental achievements, Horizon
Holdings is demonstrating its commitment to contributing to the development of
sustainable communities and a culture of energy conservation.
    "Our commitment to sustainability balances social, environmental and
economic considerations without sacrificing economic performance," states Max
Cananzi, President & CEO of Horizon Holdings Inc. "We believe that embedding
sustainable practices into our normal business routines will not only benefit
our customers, the communities we serve, and the environment, but will also
improve our economic performance and long-term prospects for success."
    Horizon Holdings' goal is to be a leader in sustainable development -
development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the
ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
    "Growing our business sustainably, improving performance, and responding
successfully to the new business opportunities presented by Ontario's Green
Energy and Economy Act are the goals we have set to be a leader in the energy
sector," says Cananzi.
    In support of this goal, the Horizon Holdings Inc. Sustainability-Based
Annual Report adheres to the Global Reporting Initiative(TM) (GRI)
Sustainability Reporting Framework, a framework that has been embraced
internationally. "We believe we are the first electric utility in Ontario to
submit to the rigorous Global Reporting Initiative," says Cananzi.
    Sustainability reports based on the GRI Sustainability Reporting
Framework can be used to benchmark organizational performance with respect to
laws, norms, codes, performance standards and voluntary initiatives;
demonstrate organizational commitment to sustainable development; and compare
organizational performance over time.
    The Horizon Holdings Sustainability-Based Annual Report outlines the
company's newly adopted Sustainability Policy (see backgrounder) and
highlights the company's activities in:

    
    -   Employee relations and development
    -   Customer satisfaction
    -   Energy conservation and demand management
    -   Recycling and waste reduction
    -   Smart growth, smart meters and smart grids
    -   Preparing for a "green" economy and "green" jobs
    -   Public education on electrical safety and energy conservation
    -   Providing economic value to communities
    -   Corporate governance

    Feedback on the report is welcomed at: sustainability@horizonutilities.com
    Hard copies may also be ordered using the same email address.

    About Horizon Holdings Inc. and Horizon Utilities Corporation
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Horizon Holdings Inc. is the parent company of Horizon Utilities
Corporation, one the largest municipally owned electricity distribution
companies in Ontario, delivering electricity and related utility services to
more than 230,000 residential and commercial customers in Hamilton and St.
Catharines.
    For more information, visit: www.horizonutilities.com.

    Global Reporting Initiative(TM) and all related Global Reporting
Initiative materials are trademarks of the Global Reporting Initiative

    
    Backgrounder No.1 - Horizon Holdings Inc. - Sustainability Policy
    Backgrounder No.2 - The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

    BACKGROUNDER No.1

                 Horizon Holdings Inc. Sustainability Policy
    
    Horizon Holdings' Sustainability Policy sets forth the company's
commitment to protecting the health, safety, environment and well-being of
employees and contractors, customers, and the communities in which the company
operates.

    Safety

    The safety of our employees, contractors, customers, and the public is
paramount. We will continually strive to meet and exceed all legal safety
requirements. We will not undertake any activity without proper safety
procedures and equipment being in place.

    Environmental Responsibility

    We will work to minimize our impact on the environment and seek to
continually improve our environmental performance. We will work to reduce
waste, emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants, and undertake
to manage hazardous materials in a manner that meets or exceeds all government
requirements. We will work with stakeholders to resolve land use conflicts in
ways that protect the environment.

    Economic Performance

    Our success depends on the success of our customers and communities. We
will return dividends to our shareholders that are consistent with ensuring
sufficient investment for the provision of ongoing innovative and
cost-effective energy products and services at competitive rates to our
customers in the communities we serve.

    Doing Business Ethically

    We will meet or exceed all applicable laws and regulations relevant to
our areas of business activity in the jurisdictions in which we operate. We
will continue to implement and maintain ethical business practices and sound
systems of corporate governance. We will not tolerate harassment or
discrimination in any of our relationships, whether with employees,
contractors, customers, or other stakeholders.

    Our Employees

    Our employees are Horizon's ambassadors to our customers and the
communities we serve. We will provide employees with development opportunities
in a safe, healthy and satisfying working environment. We will encourage the
participation of employees in the continual improvement of our health, safety,
environmental and social performance, an in the development of new and
innovative energy products and services to our customers.

    Managing Risk

    We will meet or exceed all health, safety, and environmental regulatory
requirements. We will evaluate the economic, social, and environmental risks
of our business and take precautionary actions to address them. We will
incorporate health, safety, environmental and social considerations into our
business decisions.

    Our Communities

    Our activities reach far and wide into the communities that we serve. The
supply of energy products and services represents a major contribution to the
health and well-being of our customers and their communities. We will actively
participate in the social, economic, and institutional development of the
communities in which we operate. We will engage our stakeholders through open
and transparent consultation and verifiable public reporting of our
sustainability performance.

    
    BACKGROUNDER No.2

                    The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
    
    Horizon Holdings constantly evaluates performance against specific
regulatory requirements, sector standards, business goals and best practices,
and public and shareholder expectations. The company also maintains a strong
corporate-wide performance focus on safety, reliability, social
responsibility, and employee and customer satisfaction.
    But it is clear that society is now asking for more - for companies to
practice sustainable development.
    Through Horizon's adoption of a Sustainability Policy, the company has
established a new and more robust performance requirement. With the
publication of our 2008 Sustainability-Based Annual Report, and our first
formal annual report, we believe we will be the first local utility company in
Ontario to measure and report performance under the Global Reporting
Initiative (GRI) framework. (See www.globalreporting.org).
    The cornerstone of the GRI framework is its Sustainability Reporting
Guidelines, which emphasize a triple bottom line approach to performance
reporting - meaning an examination of social, environmental and economic
factors. The aim in committing to the GRI standard is to continuously improve
business practices and bring added value to all of Horizon's stakeholders.
This provides a framework for internalizing core sustainable development
values.
    In the full GRI report - an online companion to the annual report -
Horizon has addressed all of the GRI G3 Performance Indicators, the Electric
Utility Sector Supplement Indicators, the "management approach" for the GRI
Indicator Categories, and has responded to each G3 Indicator individually with
due regard to the G3 "Materiality Principle."
    The 2008 Sustainability-Based Annual Report is a review of Horizon's
challenges and achievements in 2008. The full GRI filing is available at:
www.horizonutilities.com.

    Horizon's GRI Filing

    Following the GRI criteria, and its report application levels, Horizon
has self-declared our first GRI report filing at the "B" application level.

    
    GRI's Sustainability Metrics

    In completing a GRI sustainability report, a company needs to address this
group of issues.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    GRI Metric           GRI Issues to be Addressed
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Economic             Financial performance, market presence, economic
                         impact
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Environmental        Materials, energy, water, biodiversity, emissions
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Labour Practices     Employment, labour relations, occupational health
    and Decent Work      and safety, training and education, equal
                         opportunity
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Human Rights         Investment and procurement practices, non-
                         discrimination, collective bargaining, forced and
                         child labour, indigenous people
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Society              Community, corruption, public policy, anti-
                         competitive behaviours
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Product              Customer health and safety, labeling,
    Responsibility       communications, privacy
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    The Horizon 2008 Sustainability-Based Annual Report contains the company
vision and reporting on the three main sustainability emphases - social
performance, environmental performance and economic performance.
    The Sustainability-Based Annual Report, financial statements and the
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) filing can be accessed online under the
Sustainability section on the Horizon Utilities Corporation website at:
www.horizonutilities.com.





For further information:

For further information: Sandy Manners, Director of Corporate
Communications, Horizon Utilities Corporation, Tel: (905) 317-4707, Cell:
(905) 308-1473, Email: sandy.manners@horizonutilities.com, Website:
www.horizonutilities.com

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