The ASviS Festival: time to act to ensure a sustainable future

The ASviS Festival: time to act to ensure a sustainable future

Sustainability. It’s time to act.” The Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS) chose a call to action as its rallying cry for the fourth edition of the Sustainable Development Festival, from Sept. 22 to Oct. 8, following a rescheduling due to the Covid-19 emergency. The title was an explicit invitation to achieve the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and had an eye to Next Generation EU, Europe’s plan to kick-start the economy. Enel has supported the Festival since its very first edition and it has now become a point of reference at national level that is increasingly open, inclusive and participatory. With more than 270 adherents and 200 associates, ASviS is Italy’s largest home-grown civil society network.

The 2020 Sustainable Development Festival

This year the event, which as usual was held over 17 days (the same as the number of SDGs), took place with new format and content, also to comply with measures adopted to respond to the health emergency. Thanks to Rome City Council, for the first time the Festival enjoyed a fixed venue, broadcasting more than 600 national events via live stream from the Macro Museum. Another new feature of this edition was the partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation which, through its diplomatic network, extended the initiative around the world. An opportunity to gather examples of good practices from beyond Italy’s borders and to promote the work done in Italy to achieve the SDGs before taking over the G20 presidency next year.

The event program, recognized by the UN as an example of best practice at international level, was presented on 17 September during a press conference. This included speeches by Enrico Giovannini and Pierluigi Stefanini, respectively spokesman and President of ASviS; Marcello Foa, President of Rai and Fabrizio Salini, its chief executive; as well as Maurizio Rastrello, Director of Bilancio Sociale, together with representatives of the Festival’s partner companies, including Carlo Tamburi, Head of Enel Italia.

The Festival’s values are our values

The energy transition, climate action, technological innovation, the creation of shared value, infrastructure and sustainable mobility are just some of the priorities that we share with the Festival. “We continue to support ASviS because we believe in the goals of the 2030 Agenda and we have placed them at the center of our operating strategy”,stressed Tamburi.

Our Group has made a formal commitment to the United Nations, setting specific targets concerning the SDGs. These include ensuring access to clean energy for all (SDG7), building resilient infrastructure (SDG9), developing innovative solutions for sustainable cities and communities (SDG11) and making a genuine contribution to climate action (SDG13).

The 2020-2022 Strategic Plan consolidated our Group’s commitment to an increasingly sustainable business model, upping the pace of work to decarbonize our energy generation mix. “We have concrete goals,” explained Tamburi “that we intend to respect. Our central issue, the cornerstone of the 2030 Agenda, is decarbonization. The reduction of greenhouse gases at a European level to the target of 55% requires a large expansion of renewables.” A goal that can be achieved only through unity, coherence and agreement between everyone concerned.

Protecting the future together

On Sept. 22 the Macro Museum hosted the opening convention, “From the crisis to recovery: transforming Europe and Italy in the name of sustainable development.” This was an event that involved the participation of representatives of institutions and managers of large companies, including our CEO and General Manager Francesco Starace. There was also a live link-up with Italy’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations on the occasion of the 75th UN General Assembly and the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda.

The Next Generation EU plan represents “a historic opportunity” to lead Italy onto a pathway of sustainable development, according to ASviS spokesman Giovannini. In order to avoid missing out on this opportunity, it is necessary to “align national policies with European priorities and adopt a systemic vision.” The energy transition is the transition of an entire economy towards sustainability, pointed out Starace, underlining the importance of achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda and the European decarbonization targets. “Next Generation EU confirms Europe’s intention to speed up the process of decarbonization,” said the CEO. “What’s positive is that the financial markets are shifting towards investments linked to sustainable development.” What is required in order to continue on this path is a constant and shared commitment at European level to the electrification of final consumption and the digitalization of infrastructure, both of which are crucial factors for decarbonization.

Powering the recovery

Also at Macro, on Oct. 1, the second event tackled the topic of “The provinces as an engine of sustainable development,” with ministers, regional administration presidents, mayors and business leaders. Finally, on Oct. 8 at the Farnesina, the Italian Foreign Ministry, the Festival’s closing event, Italy and the Sustainable Development Goals, took place. This included a speech from Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and representatives of European institutions.

Among the events dedicated to specific goals of the 2030 Agenda, on Oct. 7 the Macro Museum was the venue for the convention “Climate and energy in the Green Deal for the reconstruction of Italy”. This involved discussions of the role of SDG17 (clean and accessible energy) and SDG13 (climate action) in the implementation in our country of the European Plan for resilience and recovery, which is set to assign the majority of resources to the implementation of the Green New Deal. Investments in renewables and energy efficiency, the speakers stressed, will be crucial for reducing CO2 emissions and kick-starting the economy, creating new jobs and contributing to significant growth in GDP. “The crisis has prompted the mobilization of significant investments in renewables, electrification, infrastructure and transport, all areas that create employment”, said Daniele Agostini, our Group’s Head of Low Carbon&European Energy Policies. From this perspective, it is important that companies are open to change, ready to innovate and interact in a transparent way with all of the actors concerned. “A closely-knit system is required,” concluded Agostini, “a truly effective team that works to make this happen. At Enel we work as a system with all of our stakeholders to multiply opportunities for innovation.”