Circular Economy


The great social and environmental challenges that the world is facing require a radical overhaul of the conventional development model. The circular economy offers a new paradigm, which is gaining traction at every level and in every geographical setting, as a realistic solution that combines market competitiveness and environmental sustainability through innovation.

Ideally, the use of virgin raw materials in businesses built on circular models is zero or, at most, extremely reduced. This process is achievable thanks to approaches and techniques that contribute to creating environmentally sustainable innovation, the impact of which is significantly boosted by new technologies and digitalisation.

Applying the principles of the circular economy requires a cultural change to rethink the way we use raw materials and energy: from the design phase to production, from product use to management of so-called “waste”.

What is the circular economy?

The circular economy is founded on 5 pillars that define the areas and methods of its application:


Circular inputs: production and use models based on inputs from renewables or from previous lifecycles (reuse and recycle)


Product as a service: a business model in which the client acquires a service for a limited amount of time, while the company retains its ownership of the product, thereby maximising both the use factor and its useful life


Sharing platforms: shared management systems accessed by multiple users of products, goods or services


Life extension: an approach to the planning and management of an asset or a product that intends to extend its useful life, for example, through modular design, simplification of repairs and predictive maintenance

End of life: in synergy with the other principles, all the solutions that aim to preserve the value of a good at the end of its lifecycle through reuse, regeneration, upcycling or recycling.

Enel's commitment

“The circular economy could be the solution to the planet’s environmental emergencies. At Enel, we are implementing this approach systematically through the use of technological and business innovation, collaboration with the outside world and assessments based on precise metrics”

– Luca Meini, Head of Circular Economy at Enel


A business model based on circularity requires maximum collaboration between stakeholders: this is why we believe it’s essential to foster dialogue with those who share this vision, to involve the supply chain and promote shared initiatives to protect natural resources and boost competitiveness nationwide.

Alleanza | Alliance

Enel launched the Alleanza per l’Economia Circolare (Alliance for the Circular Economy) in 2017, signing a manifesto with leading “Made in Italy” businesses from various industrial sectors. Together we drafted a position paper that aims to accelerate the transition towards a model of sustainable growth.

Download the 2020 Position Paper

Circular excellences

From A for Armadio Verde to Z of Zero Waste: one hundred stories about examples of the circular economy in Italy are gathered in this report, compiled together with Fondazione Symbola, which aims to give voice to the country’s most innovative side. A journey of discovery through the circularity of the companies associated with the Made in Italy brand.

100 Italian circular economy stories


We create networks and work with all those committed to encouraging the application of this model in financial, social and environmental settings, nationally and internationally. Find out more:

Platform ICESP
CE 100 Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The cities of tomorrow

The circular economy can play a key role in cities, where most of the world’s population is concentrating, and consuming the lion’s share of resources. Creating a new development model for the city means imagining one for the entire planet. Find out about our strategy:


More information

Enel is working every day to continuously drive forward sustainable innovation together with our partners and the most respected national and international stakeholders. Find out more:

Circl-e: from decommissioning to regeneration

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