For a truly green future, the road to take follows the tenets of the circular economy and the main driver is technology that allows producing sustainable energy.
This is the bottom line of the event organised by Enel and the Kyoto Club for World Environment Day which comes at a time when these issues are front and centre on the international political agenda.
The leitmotivs of the day were the issues of decarbonisation and the circular economy which are two pillars of Enel's strategy, as explained at the opening of the event by Carlo Tamburi, Head of Country Italy at Enel.
Tamburi said the signing of a joint document on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN by six major Italian trade and finance associations on the 1st June in Milan as part of the Sustainable Development Festival was “extraordinary.”
“For some years now, Enel has been at the forefront for its commitment to sustainability: we have adopted 4 UN Sustainable Development Goals that we strive to achieve by 2020 and which are the subject of timely reporting also in communications to the financial community”
In particular, the meeting discussed the role of how companies, in tackling these challenges, are ahead of political parties and the political agenda, even though the typically Italian production fabric made of small and medium-sized enterprises is paying a higher price in terms of investment in research and technology compared to other countries.
Enel as a reference point
“Enel has become a reference point for our companies,” explains Gianni Silvestrini, Scientific Director of the Kyoto Club. “Unfortunately, Italy lacks a clear national energy strategy: today, thanks to the declining costs of technology, incentives are no longer needed and photovoltaic technology will be the queen of the energy transition.” Trump's decision? “It is a boomerang, because even US companies are in favour of the Paris Agreement. The process is irreversible. California too has decided to change gear and has set 2045 as the year for completing the transition to renewables.”
The Enel model is also cited by Edoardo Zanchini, Vice President of Legambiente, and Andrea Bianchi, Director of Industrial Policies at Confindustria, who recalled that “up to 20 years ago businesses were part of the problem, now they are the solution,” as stressed by the document in favour of decarbonisation and the circular economy signed at the B7 in April.
“Today companies are competing in innovation and are asking for common rules for competition in the transition phase: Industry 4.0 is a quantum leap in quality, but clear industrial policy decisions need to be made, for example on electric mobility”
According to Zanchini, for Italy's future, “there is no alternative to the circular economy, thanks to which long-standing Italian problems concerning energy sources and raw materials will be able to be solved. Enel's example is a value which, included in the system, is reflected throughout the entire supply chain, for example when tender specifications require categories of recycled materials.”
The new paradigm
Enrico Viale, Director of Global Thermal Generation at Enel, explained one of the applications of the circular economy model at Enel.
“Technology has allowed us to produce in an increasingly sustainable manner. With Futur-e, we are revitalising the 23 power stations that powered Italy's industrial growth: A circular economy project carried out together with communities and other partners to create shared value”
“Sustainability is not a cost but an opportunity: today the risk of not investing in green businesses and renewable energies is too high for the world of finance,” explained Anna Monticelli, Intesa Sanpaolo, while for Beatrice Lamonica, Accenture Strategy, the circular economy is not just a way to exploit waste, but it is “innovation.”
Unfortunately, Italy does not have yet a national strategy on the circular economy, unlike Austria, Germany and Finland, lamented Roberto Morabito, Department of the Production and Territorial Systems Sustainability Department at ENEA, who suggests the creation of a National Agency on the efficient use of energy resources.
“The circular economy is not only the economy of waste management: it requires rethinking production and products starting from the roots” concluded Raffaele Tiscar, Head of Cabinet of the Environment Ministry, who confirmed the approval by July of the national strategy on sustainable development by the Council of Ministers.
It is a document much awaited by all those sectors which in recent weeks have animated the more than 200 events of the Sustainable Development Festival throughout Italy. Enel included.