Discovering circular economy

Make yourself comfortable, the trip is about to begin

What is circular economy

Circular economy is an economic model in which there is ideally no use - or in any case an extremely reduced use - of virgin raw materials. This goal is achieved by applying existing approaches and techniques, which contribute to a sustainable innovation for the environment, whose impact is strongly enhanced by new technologies and digitisation.

A path that all can share

In our study and evaluation we have involved several traveling companions, such as ENEA (the Italian national authority for new technologies, energy and the environment), Legambiente, Accenture Strategy in the creation of a Scientific Committee. We dialogue with various companies, such as Intesa Sanpaolo, because the development of a circular model requires constant collaboration between different sectors.

Sharing experiences and best practices is key to add value to each company’s efforts: success stories and methods become effective tools that favour innovation and competitiveness.

Alliance for the Circular Economy

The dialog between Enel and other companies has grown more intense, effective and focused on the concept of Circular Economy as a fundamental asset for today’s business.

From this vision, on November 29, 2017, was founded the Alliance for the Circular Economy: Enel and Intesa Sanpaolo promoted the initiative and signed the Manifesto, along with Novamont, Costa Crociere, Gruppo Salvatore Ferragamo, Bulgari, Fater and Eataly, companies that consider Circular Economy as an opportunity for development and growth, both in Italy and on the global markets.

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Towards sustainable development

By reducing the use of virgin non-renewable resources, circular economy is one of the strategically most significant models to address environmental challenges such as global warming, local atmospheric pollutants, landfills, marine waste and biodiversity protection.

The adoption of circular models is strongly encouraged by the European Union, which has placed it at the centre of its strategy. The benefits are relevant in terms of:

  • Competitiveness
  • Innovation
  • Environment
  • Occupation
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Five pillars

Circular economy is based on five principles defining its scope and application.

  • Sustainable inputs:

    maximising the use of renewable materials and, where not possible, promoting their reuse through recycling.

  • Extension of product’s life cycle:

    modular design and recurring maintenance to extend the product’s life cycle.

  • Sharing:

    users share product management to reduce the production of new goods.

  • Product as a Service:

    selling the service associated with a product to the customer rather than the product itself.

  • End of Life cycle:

    minimising waste of materials by means of a reusing/regenerating/recycling approach.

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Technology

It will be a key element of new business models based on circular criteria.

From linear economy to circular economy.
A multi-stage path where we are all central.

The role of businesses

Companies are at the forefront in the adoption of the circular model. The goal is to achieve processes with "circular maturity" involving all stakeholders (institutions, associations, entities, clients, suppliers) in order to create a favourable ecosystem for circular economy adoption and broaden its scope of application.

Stages leading to change

Businesses face a growth process ideally divided into three main phases:

  • Launching Circular pilot projects

    within one or more Business Areas.

  • Structured adoption of the Circular approach

    and its extensive application to business processes.

  • Creation of a Circular ecosystem

    with the involvement and collaboration of all stakeholders in order to set a favourable environment for the adoption of a circular model.

Success stories

Circular economy applied in different contexts shows advantages and opportunities for growth. There are many cases of Italian excellence in this field, which we enhanced by producing, together with Fondazione Symbola, “100 Italian circular economy stories”, a collection of people and businesses that have been pioneers in adopting innovative, virtuous practices and processes.

We invite you to discover a number of best practices recounted by large companies, small enterprises and Government entities.

Read the stories

A large company’s journey towards Circular Economy. After the renewable sources challenge, for Enel the strategic sustainability driver leads to the adoption of a circular business model.

Circular project

Futur-e

An all-round circular economy project, based on decommissioning 23 thermal power plants in order to find a new use for each plant, turning it into a new opportunity for the area. This important transformation process takes place through calls for tender in which the circularity of the proposals represents a key asset.

The goal is to contribute to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the entire Country.

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Circular project

Green mobility

Electric vehicles reduce energy consumption and significantly lower local emissions. If the energy used comes from renewable sources, the vehicle produces no environmental impact.

Our goal is a true e-Mobility Revolution, aiming to bring the circular model on our roads, each and every day. For this reason, we are committed to the development of an ecosystem that will favour e-mobility's adoption: from the innovative V2G technology to the National Plan for the installation of electric cars' charging stations, up to the EVA+ project, whose green travel options between Italy and Austria are making a European Electric Highway a dream come true.

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Transversal project

CirculAbility Model

It is important to measure circularity, because only what can be measured may be managed. Data analysis is key to compare different projects, set targets and improve performance. Enel has developed a circular measurement model that tries to take into account all five pillars of the circular economy: the goal is to define an indicator that provides a synthetic value of the circularity of products, services and assets.

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Transversal Project

Circular Procurement

A company’s effective approach to achieving a circular economy cannot be limited to its direct area of operation, its model must also involve its suppliers.

This is why Enel’s Global Procurement has launched a procedure that tracks incoming and outgoing purchases, in order to gain a deep knowledge of the flows in terms of components, environmental impact and product recyclability.

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The journey continues

Discovering the circular economy is a continuous process: we have taken a look at projects, technologies and goals, but much remains to be explored.

Visit us again to find new topics, updates and a renewed vision of our future.

Circular news