Sustainability for a new energy

Sustainability for a new energy

Enel’s CEO, Francesco Starace, tells about the sustainable future and green energy at the 2017 Shared Value Leadership Summit.


Climate change, changing political and economic scenarios, innovation and corporate equity. Is shared value creation in such a complex scenario a feasible path or an impossible challenge?

According to the more than 400 representatives of institutions, organisations and companies who met on the 9th and 10th of May in New York at the 2017 Shared Value Leadership Summit, these global challenges can be tackled with a sustainable approach and an open vision.

During the event, the experiences shared by the leaders of large corporations who have embraced sustainability and shared value creation as business strategies testify to this.

Enel CEO, Francesco Starace, was one of them. In his interview with Mark Kramer, co-inventor with Michael Porter of the theory of Creating Shared Value (CSV, described for the first time in 2011 in an article published on the Harvard Business Review), he explained how an energy utility like ours is shaping a new energy paradigm. It is a new way of competing on markets for a utility which is the subject of the Business Case that the Harvard Business School has chosen to write about the Enel Group.


Renewing and innovating

“The Future of Energy” was the title of the panel in which Enel's CEO explained how, by applying the CSV concept, our company is committed to decarbonising and converting 100% of all our plants to renewables by 2050.

This path was started by completely changing the approach, setting sustainability and innovation as prerequisites and foundations of our business and shared value creation for all our stakeholders as an objective.

“Experience has taught us that progress fuelled by innovation can only be so if it is inclusive and open to all: for this reason, Enel has chosen to radically change its approach and the very way of producing energy used in the past. And to do so, we had to integrate the paradigm of innovation and sustainability into our organization, putting the legacy of the past aside,” stressed Starace.


“The point is not where you have been, but where you are going. The greatest difficulty is to leave the past behind”

Francesco Starace, Enel CEO


Bringing energy, capturing innovation

To bring sustainable and affordable energy to over a billion people who do not yet have access and to make its use more efficient in urban areas and in industrial production, it is necessary to develop innovative technologies that allow an ever-greater penetration of the renewable energy sources into energy systems.


“Sustainability must drive innovation. There is no alternative. In a utility, innovation without sustainability is worth nothing”

Francesco Starace, Enel CEO


The challenge of decarbonisation is also the challenge of climate change. As our CEO recalled, Enel is committed to gradually phasing out further investment in coal, boosting renewables, energy efficiency, smart grids, e-mobility and storage systems.


“E-mobility forms a major part of the solution for the transition to renewable energy since they can provide a smart solution to store renewable electricity into the car’s battery when it is available and then retrieving it when production is lower”

Francesco Starace, Enel CEO


Research and development of innovative technologies are crucial to achieve the objective of decarbonisation. Hence the need to seek innovative solutions by opening up to the outside.

One example pointing in this direction is the Vehicle To Grid (V2G) system which allows the use of electric cars as storage systems to support the grid. In this perspective, Enel has launched the first Vehicle-to-Grid commercial hub in Denmark. It allows electric cars to become real “batteries on wheels.”


“Ideas can come from anywhere. Open Innovation is our way of doing business”

Francesco Starace, Enel CEO


Starace stressed that, to innovate in a sustainable way, creating a virtuous value circuit for the company and the ecosystem of innovative small enterprises, it is necessary to put oneself to the test, accept the risk of making mistakes and watch carefully beyond one's fence. It is the concept of creating shared value applied to innovation which becomes Open Innovation.