The ASviS Festival: let’s take charge of our future

The 2019 Sustainable Development Festival

This third edition of the Festival will feature hundreds of initiatives across Italy over the course of its 17-day run (17, as in the number of the SDGs). Conferences, seminars, workshops, exhibitions, shows and sports events make up a rich and varied calendar designed to raise awareness and involve civil society, the business world and the institutions with regard to various sustainable development themes.  

The programme was presented at a press conference on May 2 at the RAI (state television and radio) headquarters in Rome. ASviS spokesman Enrico Giovannini and ASviS president Pierluigi Stefanini, Pietro Gaffuri, director of RAI’s Social and Sustainability Report, Marino Sinibaldi, director of Rai Radio 3 and several other representatives of partner companies all made addresses.  

Three institutional events. The first was the “Per un’Europa campionessa mondiale di sviluppo sostenibile” (Making Europe’s the Sustainable Development World Champion) conference, which took place on May 21 at the Parco della Musica Auditorium in Rome. Both the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the Governor of the Bank of Italy Ignazio Visco took part, along with a large number of Italian and international experts. 

On May 28, Milan’s Assolombarda Auditorium played host to the ASviS secretariat’s second event, which had as its theme “Le imprese e la finanza per lo sviluppo sostenibile. Opportunità da cogliere e ostacoli da rimuovere” (Businesses and Finance for Sustainable Development. Opportunities to Embrace and Obstacles to Overcome). The third and final event took place on June 6 in the Italian Chamber of Deputies (the Parliament’s Lower House) and saw the presentation of the results, ideas and proposals that had emerged over the course of the 17-day programme.  

“The Festival,” declared Giovannini, “is an extraordinary opportunity to reiterate to politicians, managers and executives that the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is the framework for planning the future of both our own country and Europe.”

“The overwhelming majority of citizens are demanding sustainable development from politicians because they know it is the only way to guarantee growth and well-being”

– Enrico Giovannini, Asvis spokesman

With over 200 member organisations, ASviS is the largest civil society network ever to exist in Italy and works to promote the culture of sustainability, which is becoming an increasingly central theme on a global scale, on all levels. This is demonstrated by the growing public awareness of the issue and the attention being given to it by the institutions, with the European Council’s vote establishing environmental sustainability as the new paradigm for all the EU States’ future policies being especially emblematic.

The Festival’s values are our values

Energy transition, the battle against climate change, technological innovation, shared value creation, sustainable infrastructures and mobility are just some of the priorities that our company shares with the Festival. “We need to act inside the threshold outlined by the UN through its 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” explained Carla Quatrana, of Enel Italy’s Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Planning and Performance Management Unit.

“Since 2015, we have adopted targeted commitments relating to four specific Goals and we were among the first in the world to integrate sustainability into our company’s strategic plans”

– Carla Quatrana, Head of the Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Planning and Performance Management Unit, Enel Italy

Our company made a formal commitment to the United Nations by setting itself specific targets for achieving some of the SDGs. The latter include ensuring access to “Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG7), promoting “Decent Work and Economic Growth” (SDG8), supporting projects for “Quality Education (SDG4), and integrating targeted actions to achieve zero emissions generation by 2050 (SDG13: “Climate Action”). Since 2018, however, that commitment has broadened to include two other goals: SDG9 (“Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure”) and SDG11 (“Sustainable Cities and Communities”).

Quatrana reminded her audience that a concrete example of our commitment is the Futur-e programme “which aims to give a new lease of life to 24 sites no longer used as part of our energy system by following circular economy drivers, i.e. using without demolishing, injecting new life into local areas without resorting to further land consumption.” The project featured as a best practice at the “Circular Economy, Innovation and Work” event that took place on June 5 at the Università Federico II in Naples. On that occasion Futur-e coordinator Lorenzo Valeri highlighted our experience in redeveloping decommissioned facilities in collaboration with local areas and communities. 

The university sustainability e-book

You can also read more about the Enel Group’s support and commitment in the “Sustainable Development Goals” e-book published by the Enel Foundation in collaboration with ASviS and Treccani Scuola. This is a digital handbook in which professors from various Italian universities and researchers from the Siena Summer School on Sustainable Development 2018 describe how sustainability strategies and good practices can help contribute to achieving the 17 SDGs.

The e-book, which already contains a first section, is interactive and open: undergraduates, deans, doctorate students and researchers can all submit contributions using the specially-created online platform. The volume is a testament to the commitment to sustainable development made by the heads of some of Italy’s most prestigious universities and young innovators alike.  

Committing to change

“The focus on sustainability as a result of the recent student climate strikes strikes,” stressed Presidente dell’ASviS Stefanini, “has reminded decision-makers of their responsibilities and achieved impressive media coverage. Now no one can ignore it. The moment has come to implement change.”

The Festival format is unique on a global scale and was selected as one of the finalists for the United Nations Secretariat’s “SDG Action Awards”, which aim to support innovative and impactful initiatives stimulating change in society to achieve the SDGs.

So, now all we have to do is get involved and take charge of our future to help build a sustainable, inclusive world.  

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