Sustainability and resilience: an Agenda for the recovery

Published on Friday, 18 September 2020

The pandemic has raised awareness among the public, the business world and institutions of the importance of sustainability for the future of the country. Now, with the peak of the emergency seemingly behind us, it is necessary to transform the recovery into an opportunity for sustainable development. This is also in light of the new agenda outlined by the European Commission in the “Next Generation EU” recovery plan.

This theme was in fact the focus of the event “Sustainable development, Italy and the goals of the 2030 Agenda,” which was held on September 15th in Rome, in the evocative setting of the Centrale Montemartini museum.

The event, was organised by Ansa with the support of the Rome municipal council and the contribution from our Group as main partner, as part of the initiative of the Ansa2030 portal dedicated to sustainability and the goals of the 2030 Agenda. It brought together experts, managers, scientists and representatives from institutions and civil society. The discussion, which was chaired by the Editor-in-Chief of Ansa Luigi Contu, involved: Carlo Tamburi, Head of Enel Italia, Virginia Raggi, Mayor of Rome; Federico Testa, President of Enea; Donatella Bianchi, President of WWF, Enrico Giovannini spokesperson for ASviS; Giulio Anselmi and Stefano De Alessandri, respectively President and CEO of Ansa. There were also video contributions from the President of ARERA (Authority for the Regulation of Energy, Networks and the Environment) Stefano Besseghini and Filomena Maggino, President of the steering committee on Italian wellbeing at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

As Anselmi explained in his welcome address, there are two fundamental factors that have moved sustainability to the top of the agenda: the first is the “rebellion” being driven by young people and the second is the growing awareness among businesses that sustainability is key to survival and success in the long term. As Tamburi emphasised, “It isn’t a cost but rather an investment for our future that offers rapid returns for businesses in terms of reputation and is appreciated by investors and final consumers alike.” Tamburi also pointed out that our Group’s long-term aim is the complete decarbonisation of our energy generation mix by 2050, underlining that it is necessary to act with a shared approach based on three fundamental keystones: getting renewables to account for up to 55%, which can also be achieved through greater storage capacity: resilient, digital infrastructure that is accessible to all; and the electrification of consumption, from mobility to energy efficiency, in addition to the virtuous behaviour of final consumers, businesses, and local and national government authorities.

To this end, as Besseghini explained in his video message, it is important that the energy transition is accompanied by inclusion and a fair distribution of the costs because “sustainability can only truly be achieved if it is capable of embracing everybody.” The pandemic, Giovannini argued, has helped many people understand that sustainability is not only an environmental issue, “but also an economic and social matter because it is not possible to be healthy in a world that is unwell.” In order not to miss out on the opportunity of the recovery, Giovannini added, it is necessary nevertheless to keep sight of resilience, the other fundamental keystone for which the EU has granted funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Indeed, all of the most recent reports indicate that the capacity to resist environmental, economic and social shocks is a strategic factor for tackling the challenges of the future. On the topic of the post Covid-19 recovery, Giovannini announced out that this will be the theme of the fourth edition of the Sustainable Development Festival, which will be taking place from September 22nd to October 8th all over Italy, and as of this year, also abroad.

The themes of the 2030 Agenda and sustainability, explained Father Enzo Fortunato, Director of the Press Office at the Holy Convent of Assisi, will also be at the centre of the new encyclical “Fratelli tutti” (“We are all brothers and sisters) that Pope Francis will sign on October 3rd, during his visit to the shrine. Furthermore, Paolo Glisenti, Commissioner of Expo Dubai 2020, has confirmed that sustainability, in the form of technology and innovation, will be the centrepiece at the Italian pavilion at the event scheduled for the beginning of October.

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