The circular economy: the Italian model at Ecomondo


A model for the circular economy. The Alliance for the Circular Economy’s Position Paper was presented at the 22nd edition of Ecomondo, the leading sector fair in the Euro-Mediterranean area which took place in Rimini, Italy, between 6 and 9 November. The Alliance itself was founded a year ago and Enel is one of its most active members. During Ecomondo, which we sponsored once again this year, we also took part in an innovative project that featured a theatrical performance.   

The Position Paper, which was presented on 7 November, is the next step on from the Manifesto that hailed the birth of the Alliance a year ago and was signed by eight leading companies from different industrial sectors (Enel, Intesa Sanpaolo, Novamont, Costa Crociere, Gruppo Salvatore Ferragamo, Bulgari, Fater and Eataly). With Accenture coordinating, each Group made a contribution to developing a series of circular economy proposals designed to boost our nation’s competitiveness and turn it into a model of innovation and sustainability on the international scene. Italy is in actual fact Europe’s leader in industrial recycling with a capacity to reclaim 47 million tonnes of waste annually which, in energy terms, is the equivalent of saving 17 million tonnes of petrol. We are also in first place in terms of photovoltaic power, which accounts for 8% of the national energy mix. The European Commission has stated that, if all businesses adopted circular economy measures, consumption of raw materials could be cut by 30% by 2030 with greenhouse gas emissions slashed by 50% over the same period. This would be in addition to a 5% jump in GDP with over 1 million new jobs created. According to the Position Paper, Italy has all the fundamental requisites to be “the perfect country to become a circular economy laboratory.”  

In Pavilion D3 of the Rimini Fiera complex, our Group was also at the centre of the special “Circular Economies Stories - Gallery & Show” project which uses theatrical set-ups to explain the new green economy paradigm. Backed up by panels and videos, professional actors staged a show about the Enel circular revolution several times each day. The pavilion was divided into six themed areas (Biomaterials, Packaging, Automotive, Textiles, Construction, Innovation – Startup) in which eight actors told sustainability stories using an experimental approach that incorporated different languages: music, photography, moving images, installations, text.

Enel’s main theme was light and featured an explanation of how light evolved from being a primary source in a linear economy model (take, make, dispose) to a resource for a circular model (make, use, reuse). Narrative examples included new street lampposts with energy-saving LEDs, as well as wi-fi for connectivity, area monitoring and air quality analysis, and also electric cars with their innovative V2G technology. Examples of efficient, sustainable and, above all, circular energy use.