Working together to build a sustainable future
With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the United Nations has set out an ambitious long-term vision to fight poverty, inequality and disease and to ensure a better future for generations to come. Partnerships between the public and private sector will be a key factor in this process. For some time now, the most advanced companies in the world have been called upon to form an alliance to promote sustainability and social progress in the territories in which they operate. Enel was the only Italian company and the only utility in the world to be included in the United Nations Global Compact Board, the organisation that coordinates and directs the alliance.
Our CEO Francesco Starace participated in the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2016 in New York, an event that brought together representatives from the political, financial and academic worlds to discuss how the private sector can help promote a new sustainable development model. The meeting was opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who highlighted the importance of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement (COP21) to combat climate change, as well as the creation of cross-sectoral partnerships on these issues.
Francesco Starace participated in the How to Change a Mindset panel, along with Adena Friedman (President of NASDAQ), Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu (Founder and Executive Director of soleRebels) and Mads Nipper (Chief Executive Officer of the Danish company Grundfos).
"We want to change the world, starting from ourselves, and we believe we can. Over the next three years, our goal is to shape and strengthen all the initiatives launched as part of the Global Compact. The New York summit offered an opportunity to help create a strategy," observed Starace, who then pointed out that, "there is much talk about Africa, but we should also be talking about South America and Europe. We forget that much of our lack of sustainability is at home, where we have significant pockets of inequality, as well as social, cultural and economic difficulties".
Today, more than one billion people live in extreme poverty and still lack access to electricity. We believe that energy is a right and not just a privilege, and we must do our part to ensure that everyone has access to clean, modern energy sources, in order to achieve real sustainable development. That is why our company is committed to contributing directly to the achievement of four of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. "One of our medium-term objectives for 2020 is to provide access to electricity to 3 million people who today still lack power, providing basic education to 400 thousand children and young people, and contributing to the employment and economic growth of an additional 500 thousand people, to help create an economic and social fabric that is self-sufficient and that can benefit from our facilities," declared Starace. "Enel is committed to becoming a carbon neutral company by 2050, by completely eliminating CO2 emissions from all of its production activities".
At the New York meeting our Group - which operates according to an Open Power strategic approach - once again emphasised the importance it gives to placing environmental, social and economic sustainability at the heart of its corporate culture, using it as a guiding concept for its business strategies. Our company's role as a global leader, present in four continents, urges us to go beyond the mere production and distribution of electricity. We are therefore called upon to make inclusive decisions, involving all stakeholders, starting with local communities. In fact, we firmly believe that being sustainable today means being competitive, both today and tomorrow, and that the strong connection between innovation and sustainability is an essential tool to help overcome some of the most important challenges the world is facing through our daily activities.