The Giro d’Italia of Sustainability

The Giro d’Italia of Sustainability


From Udine in the North to Cosenza in the South, from November to May – ten stages promoting sustainability and social innovation. The sixth edition of the Salone della CSR has promoted its very own Giro d’Italia to bring together universities, enterprise networks, companies, NGOs and organisations involved at a local level to work towards a more effective sustainable business culture. Taking centre stage again this year was Enel; for some years, in fact, the Group has been working to integrate sustainability into all its activities.


From diversity to clean energy 

The activities we presented at the various venues ranged from diversity to clean energy. In Rome on 8 March Patricia Navarra, Sustainability Innovation and Stakeholder Engagement Manager of Enel, focused on the theme of Diversity & Inclusion, explaining how these values are mainstays of the company’s corporate culture. The Group launched its initiatives with its human rights policy in 2013, a development that was followed by the inclusion of a special driver in the Strategic Plan for managing human capital. “Highlighting the value of people in their diversity is a cultural and strategic factor,” said Navarra, emphasising how respect for these values within the company is monitored at three-monthly intervals using key performance indicators (KPI) at Group level.

In Perugia, Alessandra Di Genova, spoke on behalf of Sustainability projects – Central Area from the Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Italy division, describing Enel’s commitment to innovation. Di Genova placed special emphasis on the “Sustainability plan for Abruzzo and the seismic areas”, which involves the donation of 65 uninterruptible power sources for earthquake-hit towns in the region to use during emergency situations (for example, blackouts caused by unforeseeable events). She also spoke about the crowdfunding campaign for repopulating livestock farms that Enel is developing with Legambiente.

Our CSR journey also took in Genoa with Piera Savino, who outlined the work of sustainability projects – Northern Area from the Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Italy division, describing Enel’s commitment to clean, affordable energy. This relates to Sustainable Development Goal no. 7. One of the examples described the district heating project in the Tuscan geothermal region, where surplus heat is used to warm homes and companies, generating significant savings, new jobs and lower CO2 emissions. Another important initiative described by Savino was the e-mobility project involving a public/private partnership, Life for Silver Coast.” Over the next few years the project is set to develop an innovative system of alternative, eco-compatible transport links on the island of Giglio and in the municipalities of Monte Argentario and Orbetello. The project, which will be fully operational from summer 2019, will involve the use of exclusively electric vehicles (e-cars, e-bikes, e-boats) to make areas that are currently not served by public transport more readily accessible, especially for tourists.

The next stop was Florence, Renata Villa, representing transversal projects from the Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Italy division, presented the “Incontri di Prossimità” project, a series of public meetings launched two years ago in partnership with ANSE (National Association of Enel Senior Citizens). This initiative has so far involved over 1,200 people, and many local voluntary organisations, Universities of the Third Age and law enforcement agencies have also taken part. The project consists of a cycle of seminars dedicated especially to senior citizens and families experiencing financial difficulties, explaining how to read and understand the “bolletta 2.0” energy bill, how to access the energy bonus and guard against fraud in the energy sector.

In Cosenza, Elisa Remoli from the Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Italy division described Enel’s approach towards Creating Shared Value, focusing attention on priority issues and inclusion projects for the South of Italy, in particular the initiatives currently being developed in Calabria. One of these is a project to repurpose the former Rossano power plant in the province of Cosenza, with the direct involvement of all stakeholders. Remoli also described the joint commitment with the LIPU organisation in the town of Rende to encourage the return of the white stork to Calabria through the use of artificial nests made from large circular wooden platforms that, thanks to Enel technicians, are installed on electricity poles and pylons identified by LIPU. The first results are very encouraging: there were 73 new hatchings in 2017, 15 more than in 2016.

Finally, to Verona, where Piera Savino once again presented one of Enel’s key commitments, on this occasion concerning the circular economy, identified by the EU in 2016 as one of its strategic priorities to increase competitiveness. For example described projects to recover the packaging from solar panels in order to make furniture and handicraft products in South Africa and Latin America, and to turn used plastic bottles and old kerosene lamps into solar lights in developing countries, in partnership with the NGO Liter of Light.

Enel has launched many more projects to create shared value in the short, medium and long term, combining business opportunities, environmental awareness and the inclusion of local communities. The final stage of this particular Giro d’Italia will provide an opportunity to present an overall view and compare experiences with other companies. This, the most important stage, will take place at the Salone nazionale della CSR e dell’Innovazione Sociale, due to take place on 2 and 3 October, once again at the Bocconi University in Milan. Stay tuned.