A year that is changing the world
More than 700 projects are bringing electricity to 3 million people who presently live in the dark, providing education to 400,000 children and creating employment for 500,000 people. One year after the initiative was launched, we took a closer look at the stories and personalities driving Enel’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals promoted by the United Nations.
For the San Juan de Marcona fishing community in Peru, 2016 will be a year to remember. Their lives have always been centered on the traditional harvesting of algae in the waters of the Pacific Ocean: this job has been handed down from father to son for generations and is the only source of livelihood for their families, totaling almost 1,160 people.
A new hybrid solar-wind plant provides energy for the machines used to process the algae harvested; a fish farm helps preserve the marine ecosystem and, thanks to safety training courses and the sale of products, work conditions have improved and revenues are growing.
What role does Enel play? We met this Peruvian fishing community in 2015 and in partnership with them we launched a project that combines sustainability, innovation and clean energy.
The San Juan project is one of over 700 projects we have set up across the world, answering the call from the United Nations on 25th September 2015 urging companies from all over the world to directly commit to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
“By 2020 we will grant access to electricity to 3 million people, provide basic education to 400,000 children and teenagers, and promote employment and economic growth for 500,000 people.”
Francesco Starace, Enel CEO
Four goals to make the world sustainable
To date, 6 million people around the world have benefitted from our projects to provide access to energy, education or a dignified job. The call from the UN has made our commitment even more focused and wide-spread.
“In 2016 alone we invested more than €35 million in initiatives in 18 countries across Europe, North and South America and Africa.”
Of the 17 goals set by the United Nations, we have identified 4 goals where our knowledge and expertise can make a real difference.
The roadmap of our daily commitment is marked by these 4 cardinal points:
- granting clean energy and access to electricity
- promoting education
- fostering the economic development of people and communities
- fighting climate change.
A global network that keeps growing
We have developed a global network of sustainability that unites the Amazon forest with African villages, small and large cities in Italy with the barrios in Brazil, and remote communities in the Chilean deserts with classes of young students in Kenya.
Sharing is at the heart of this network, leading to specific interventions in different places in response to specific needs. Our dialogue with cow breeders in El Espinal in Mexico, for example, has led to a project to improve milk production and marketing, while thanks to the partnership with the NGO Liter of light we have brought electricity to villages in Kenya, creating self-sufficient electricity grids and turning simple empty bottles into lamps.
In Brazil, cooperating with the inhabitants of the poorest and most disadvantaged areas of Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza led to the creation of educational and work start programs for young people. The partnership also made the use of electricity more efficient, by recycling waste and providing assistance to make homes safer and healthier.
With Futur-e in Italy, we worked closely with local government, companies and communities to give a new future to the sites of 23 disused thermal plants. For Spain’s Datathon project, we work with startups and innovators to seize, via digital sharing, the opportunity to develop more sustainable and environmentally-friendly products and services.
Working together to service everyone
In Kenya and Romania, we are bringing light to villages and rural areas that lacked access to electricity. We are building small smart grids to be integrated into renewable plants, so that our technological innovations can also service the most disadvantaged people living in hitherto forgotten corners of the world.
Through our efforts with local communities in the Atacama desert in Chile, the cordilleras of Colombia or the river valleys of Peru, our plants result in both clean energy and opportunities for traditional companies as well as local employment.
“We are working to generate shared value with the communities where we are present, together creating development opportunities that will bring benefits to all.”
One year after the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals, the results achieved are extremely satisfying. Yet, every day, new needs and opportunities arise. What we have achieved so far is only the beginning of a long and fascinating journey.