Two facts demonstrate the success of the first year of our corporate volunteer programme. The first was the external recognition received in the form of the Areté Prize for Responsible Business Communication awarded during the Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Innovation Fair in Milan, the leading Italian event dedicated to the theme of CSR and sustainability. The second, which is perhaps even more significant, was the number of internal employees that signed up to take part: the dedicated online platform received 1,950 requests for 700 available places. This confirms that volunteering is a resource that deserves to be increasingly encouraged and supported, as our company is doing as a leading investor in the sector in Italy.
From April to December, the 700 volunteers actively participated in projects launched with four non-profit associations.
“Clean the World” in nine cities
The “Puliamo il mondo” (Clean the World) project with Legambiente involved the greatest number of volunteers, 509, who gathered over 10 tonnes of rubbish and green waste in nine cities, differentiating it for recycling at the relevant municipal depots. More than one hundred members of staff participated in the launch project on 1 April in Rome, and initiatives continued in eight more cities: Milan, Bologna, Turin, Venice, Cagliari, Palermo, Naples and Florence.
“Look out for the rubbish!” to safeguard biodiversity
An environmental clean-up operation, focussed on two areas of coastal biodiversity – the beach in Santa Severa (Rome province) and the protected marine reserve of Torre del Cerrano (Teramo) – was also the aim of the “Occhio ai rifiuti!” (Look out for the rubbish!) project in collaboration with the Marevivo environmental association. One hundred volunteers gathered 65 kg of waste (mostly plastic and microplastics), which they differentiated and delivered to the local authorities. In both settings, the Marevivo operators took time to educate our volunteers about the issues threatening the marine ecosystem, the actions that every one of us can take to protect it and how companies can reduce their environmental footprint by focussing on sustainable innovation.
“Let’s light up the tables” for disadvantaged families
The “Illuminiamo le tavole” (Let’s light up the tables!) project unfolded in the Milan hinterland, specifically the neighbourhoods of Corvetto and Ponte Lambro, in collaboration with the association Quartieri Tranquilli. The initiative focuses on economically disadvantaged families, identified by the association with the municipality of Milan, who receive tangible support in the form of food. Our Group has supported the project since 2015 with volunteer activity and logistical assistance concerning the collection of the fresh and packaged foods donated by Ortomercato and other large businesses in the food sector. This year, the volunteer programme sent 60 volunteers who prepared packages and distributed them to 118 families. A total of 6 tonnes of food were delivered, with zero emissions thanks to the use of five electric vehicles from the company fleet. The year’s activities concluded with the “A Natale illuminiamo le tavole” (Let’s light up the tables at Christmas) initiative during which seven volunteers delivered approximately 500kg of food to 25 families on 16 December.
“Enel Ambassadors against cyberbullying” in schools
The fourth initiative was “Ambasciatori Enel contro bullismo e cyberbullismo” (Enel Ambassadors against bullying and cyberbullying), in collaboration with Moige (the Italian Parents Movement). Our 31 volunteers worked alongside Moige experts and psychologists in schools, supporting them in the organisation of an information campaign about safe and appropriate use of the internet and digital tools to prevent cyberbullying. In all, 1,425 high school students in seven locations benefitted from the project: Andria, Sala Consilina (Salerno), Varese, Legnago (Verona), Satriano di Lucania (Potenza), Locorotondo (Bari) and Brindisi.
In search of a cure for rare diseases with Telethon
The approach of Christmas marked the opportunity to activate a fifth volunteer project, in addition to the original four: “A Natale mettiamoci il cuore” (Let’s use our hearts at Christmas), the social initiative launched by Fondazione Telethon, a seasoned supporter of research into rare genetic diseases which today affect more than 2 million people in Italy, 70% of whom are children. Our 10 volunteers contributed to the distribution of Telethon Christmas chocolate hearts by setting up seven fundraising stalls outside five Enel offices in Rome and two in Milan.
Environmental and social sustainability at heart
Our Group’s volunteer programme is a way of providing a solid contribution to the communities where we work and is part of the focus on sustainability that we have adopted, integrating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into our corporate strategy. The 2019 projects support SDG #11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) in particular, but also contribute to many others: SDG #1 (No Poverty), SDG #2 (Zero Hunger), SDG #3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG #4 (Quality Education), SDG #10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG #12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), SDG #14 (Life Below Water), SDG #15 (Life on Land) and SDG #17 (Partnerships).
There are also other important benefits: the pleasure of sharing an experience of social cohesion, creating new relationships and consolidating existing ones, strengthening a sense of belonging and improving the workplace environment. This goes some way to explaining the huge demand to take part in the programme. Next year’s launch is already being prepared in order to ensure that the programme is always, and increasingly, brimming with human solidarity, participation and awareness.