The world is currently experiencing its largest ever wave of urbanisation, a process that is already well underway and set to intensify in the coming years. Meeting people's essential requirements, such as access to energy, whilst simultaneously ensuring increased social inclusion and reduced emissions is the challenge of the future. How do we achieve that? And what does all the talk about sustainable cities actually mean?
“Pier Paolo Pasolini said that the difference between growth and progress is that progress also involves social growth, quality of life and culture. We share this vision and are convinced that cities will always play an increasingly central role in societal progress,” explained our Head of Innovability, Ernesto Ciorra, whilst speaking at the ninth edition of the Italy-Latin America and Caribbean Conference, held at Italy's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 10 October. Sustainable development was the central theme of this edition of the conference, which included participants from 38 national delegations and numerous companies from both Italy and Latin America.
Ciorra outlined the projects we are developing in Latin America with a view to the circular city model. These range from the fleets of electric buses we put on the road in Chile and Peru, to e-bus recharging terminals in Colombia and the Vila Olímpia project we presented a few days ago in São Paulo, Brazil, where we will create a Network Digital Twin that will replicate the local electricity infrastructure. The latter project is set to be South America's first ever “digital twin”. A concrete example of innovability: innovation working hand in hand with sustainability.
The new edition of our position paper, entitled “Circular cities. Cities of tomorrow”, presented during the conference, is also dedicated to the subject of circular cities. In the words of Luca Meini, our Head of Circular Economy, responsible for the creation of the above-mentioned paper, “the circular city is a model for which the eventual aims are competitiveness, environmental sustainability and social inclusion, where the circular economy is the approach to be implemented for achieving these objectives and where technology and innovation are fundamental enablers.”
More than 3,500 Italian companies are currently operating in Latin America. As Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio explained, “Italy’s leadership in the energy market and the importance of its industrial background in that region of the world give us the confidence to envisage even stronger integration” and to consider creating “win-win alliances for tackling the big issues”. This is exactly what Enel has been doing and will continue to do, in Latin America and elsewhere, in the drive towards sustainability and innovation.