Enel believes that the 17 SDGs and an ambitious long-term perspective are fundamental to sustainable development globally and to its own strategy, which is why the company has decided to put sustainability at the core of its corporate culture. With this vision, Enel designed and spread its sustainability model throughout its entire value chain and translated the strategy into concrete actions. Innovative and sustainable solutions are pursued in order to meet customers’ needs, foster access to energy, promote energy efficiency.
The world is currently living through significant and sudden changes to the global outlook, characterized by the technological and digital revolution, by growth in the population and in its expectations, by climate change and by pressure on the use of natural resources. This rapidly evolving scenario - with an ever greater penetration of electric vehicles and the gradual replacement of fossil fuels - offers the energy sector new challenges and opportunities. Global energy consumption is increasing, not only in percentage terms, but also in absolute terms, while over 1 billion people still have no access to energy, or have it to only a limited extent. Renewables are the energy source seeing the greatest growth, while the other sources remain constant or are falling slightly. Given this significant penetration by renewables, electricity grids and their digitalization, in both transmission and distribution, are becoming increasingly important, attracting various industrial sectors and creating new opportunities and competitive challenges.
Enel’s business model considers sustainability and innovation as an inseparable pairing, which creates value for the Company and for all its stakeholders and enables new opportunities to be taken. Sustainability is an integral part of the way of doing business, and drives us to constantly seek out new solutions to reduce the environmental impact of our activities, to grow together with the communities of which Enel is part, to increase the safety of our colleagues and our suppliers. Listening to and actively involving all stakeholders, together with rational use of resources, enable the promotion of synergy between economic and social progress.
In order to respond in a sustainable and flexible way to this context, Enel has designed, tested and spread sustainability model throughout our entire value chain, from business development to operations. This translates the group’s strategy into concrete actions reflected in a precise, challenging and agreed Sustainability Plan, integrated into the group’s Strategic Plan.
The whole plan was developed taking into account references, direct or indirect, to the 17 SDGs. Enel has publicly committed to the SDGs and has set clear and ambitious targets for four specific SDGs (4, 7, 8, 13) in order to provide a significant contribution and make the difference. In particular:
- SDG 4 (quality of education). 300 thousand beneficiaries reached, against the goal of 400 thousand beneficiaries by 2020;
- SDG 7 (clean and affordable energy). 1.2 million beneficiaries involved, compared to the goal of 3 million beneficiaries by 2020 (mainly in Africa, Asia and Latin America);
- SDG 8 (dignity of labor and economic growth), the beneficiaries currently number 1.1 million, given the new target (compared to the initial 500 thousand) of 1.5 million by 2020;
- SDG 13 (combating climate change), the grams of CO2 /kWheq have fallen to around 395, compared to the goal of achieving a level below 350 grams by 2020.
Moreover, beyond the four goals that Enel publicly committed to, the company also contributes to other SDGs through all its processes. Companies that adopt the SDGs in their business strategies gain the advantage of a clear roadmap to shape the decision-making process which will generate value for shareholders and all stakeholders.
The essential point in this approach is the introduction of environmental, social and governance sustainability indicators across the whole value chain, not only to report on performance at the end of the year but most importantly to manage performance during the year and to achieve better decision-making, strengthening a proactive attitude rather than a reactive one.
Since 2012, Enel has conducted materiality assessments to identify priorities for stakeholders and for the company. Last year, SDG-related criteria were integrated into the materiality analysis. As a result of this analysis, climate strategy and responsible relations with communities where Enel operates emerged as priorities.
The integration of sustainability into the strategies and operating choices of the business in the various stages of the value chain passes also through new ways of managing and developing projects. In 2016 Enel, with over 900 projects and initiatives and over 6 million beneficiaries in the various countries, contributed in concrete terms to social and economic development and growth of the local areas, from the expansion of infrastructure to education and training programs, from initiatives aimed at social inclusion to projects to support cultural and economic life. An essential lever to undertake these projects is the use of partnerships, according to SDG 17 that allows us to promote the development of the local area through innovative and tailored interventions, sometimes literally putting the technology in people’s hands. In particular Enel contributes to SDGs 4, 7, 8 through specific projects to promote:
- Access to energy: to create a new business model linked to access to energy, aimed both at people who live in isolated rural areas and those who live in the peripheral areas of large urban conurbations.
- Socio-economic development of the communities: concerning activities related to the development of labor and infrastructure; transfer of skills and manufacturing knowhow to the local population; support for entrepreneurship in the community.
- Support for local communities– support for education: financing local events; support for families and social services; promotion of culture and sport; promotion of diversity, health and safety; protection of the environment and biodiversity) specific activities are undertaken relating to education.
An example is the project “Cadena Productivas” focused on defending existing business and open new job opportunities favoring the social and economic development of the communities in the country. The program, developed in Colombia, promotes the development of the local agro-industrial sector in cocoa and coffee. In addition, the project aims to strengthen local administrative, associative and commercial organizations and provide technical assistance as well as equipment and tools. In particular: promoting sustainable farming, knowledge and technology transfer, encouraging working in partnership and generating public-private partnerships. Through these activities, stakeholders improve cultivation techniques, strengthening the marketing of products and increasing the local disposable income and the company promotes job opportunities in order to reduce the emigration to other more productive areas. A clear example of co-creation.
Enel is a company that pursues growth based on sharing - internally and externally - ideas, innovation, concepts and areas for improvement, of which sustainability is an integral part, since it is an important driver for innovation. Given rapidly changing scenarios, and with everyone’s collaboration, Enel wants to write the future of the world of energy: a world in which old power plants acquire a new life, connections travel faster, smart homes are a reality, smart meters facilitate the dialogue between homes and people, and electric vehicles travels ever further.
Finally, all the projects, activities, performances and main results, including progress against the SDGs, in line with the SDG Compass, are presented in Enel’s Sustainability Report – Seeding Energies. The journey to achieving the highest sustainability standards and the inclusion of SDG commitments have been rewarded with the interest of socially responsible investment funds, which continue to grow.