“The ASviS Festival allows us not only to find out more about the associates across Italy who are already implementing projects in line with the 2030 Agenda, but also to give them the opportunity to work with others and reinforce their commitment on a countrywide scale. Their number continues to grow because of the increasing desire to work together with tangible ideas and proposals”
The “goals” of the Festival
Enrico Giovannini, ASviS spokesperson, sees a growing awareness of sustainability amongst committees, associations, businesses, universities, municipal administrations and citizens. The events of the Festival reached almost 4.2 million Italian citizens through social media, were reported in 500+ media articles and, this year, were also covered by the ASviS news show broadcasting through the event website. The call to action “#WhatAreUdoing?”, which was launched in the run-up to the second Festival to encourage all Italians to adopt sustainable practices and ideas, received 1,000+ contributions.
A new online platform that aims to raise awareness of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals was presented on Earth Day. And the youngest, for their part, were involved with the themes of the 2030 Agenda thanks to a competition organised with the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR), which attracted approximately 260 participants and awarded prizes to 13 schools.
Another important new feature of the 2018 Festival was the launch of the Siena Summer School on Sustainable Development in May. The Enel Foundation contributed to its establishment with the aim of preparing executives who will be responsible for meeting the goals of the 2030 Agenda.
“Today other countries are investing in sustainability and Italy risks losing ground in comparison, although we have the right resources to play a leadership role in Europe. This is not just an environmental issue but a question of Italy’s competitiveness. We either take a leap towards sustainable development within the European framework or it is fanciful to imagine a country heading in this direction on its own”
The three pillars of sustainability
ASviS identifies integration, universality and participation as the fundamental principles that Italy must build on in order to increase the country’s commitment to sustainability. Unless there is a shift towards an integrated approach, placing the environment and the economy on an equal footing for example, society as a whole will be at risk, not only from epochal events like climate change, but also from unsustainable inequality. Between 2008 and 2014, the number of wealthy individuals in Italy who alone own double the capital of the poorest half of the population increased from 2% to 10%: a sharp regression in view of SDG 10 (reduce inequalities). Intergenerational inequality persists, while gender imbalances have intensified (Italy dropped from 50th to 82nd place out of 144 countries in 2017 according to a study of gender inequality), which is why ASviS has proposed the establishment of a High Commission on Gender Equality policies. The Enel Group has made a firm commitment to the same aim: in celebration of International Girls in ICT Day, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) professions were promoted to girls, at a double event at Enel headquarters in Rome and the Endesa offices in Madrid.
No less worrying is Italy’s progress concerning the other Sustainable Development Goals. Results linked to good health and wellbeing (SDG 3) have deteriorated: a poor Italian in Southern Italy lives on average 10 years less than an Italian citizen in the North of the country. There is also room for improvement when it comes to production of renewable energy (SDG 13) and access to clean energy (SDG 7), sectors where the Enel Group is a global leader: ASviS has asked Parliament to approve the National Climate Energy Plan which outlines actions for energy saving and carbon capture.
ASviS also proposed the creation of an Interministerial Committee for Urban Policies, which would provide Italy with a national strategy for cities for the promotion of electric mobility and to combat traffic pollution (60,000 deaths annually are caused by pollution).
To encourage habits of responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), representatives of ASviS asked the new government to widen the use of non-financial reporting, which the Enel Group already produces in its Sustainability Report which is made available to all through a free app.
The proposals formulated by ASviS during the Rome event will be collated into a report for presentation by the end of the year to the Chamber of Deputies, before they are systematically distributed across the country.
The second ASviS Festival succeeded not only in providing an accurate picture of the many pieces of the country that are actively working towards a new model of sustainable development for Italy, but also in encouraging the highest institutions to follow in that direction. In spite of difficulties and delays, increasingly coordinated action is taking shape across all levels of society. And, thanks in part to Enel, the chances of a breakthrough soon are now much higher.