At Enel, the management of environmental issues, the fight against climate change, environmental protection and sustainable environmental development are key factors in the conduct and development of all Group activities. Environmental sustainability is, in fact, one of the foundations of our sustainability and business strategy and it is essential to consolidate our leadership in energy markets.
An orchestra for safeguarding the environment
Thanks to a widespread organization in our business lines and divisions and coordination through a holding structure, environmental governance is pursued through a common and integrated approach. In particular, the staff functions coordinate the management of their environmental issues, while the operating units deal with the specific aspects of the various industrial sites.
“The overall financial commitment for the protection and preservation of the environment amounted to €1 billion. All our activities (production plant, networks, services, property, sales, etc.) are subject to internationally recognised Environmental Management Systems (EMS)”
Seeding Energies - Sustainability Report 2016
Since 1996 our Group has had an Environmental Policy in place.
It is based on four fundamental principles: protect the environment by preventing impacts and pursuing the efficient use of natural resources; improve and promote the environmental and sustainable characteristics of products and services; create value for the company; systematically meet legal compliance obligations and voluntary commitments undertaken, going beyond mere regulatory compliance. Moreover, it pursues ten strategic objectives in a development perspective based on the “Circular Economy.”
These range from the adoption and application to the entire organization of internationally recognised Environmental Management Systems (EMS), transparent communication of activities for the safeguard of ecosystems and responsible use of natural resources, to the reduction of environmental impacts by applying the best available technologies and best practices.
This commitment also involves the promotion of environmentally sustainable practices among suppliers, contractors and customers.
These activities, in turn, go hand in hand with Enel’s commitment to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the UN 2030 Agenda, linked to the main environmental issues: sustainable use of water (#6), responsible consumption and production (#12), fight against climate change (#13), protection and enhancement of biodiversity, both terrestrial and aquatic (#14 and #15).
Protecting the environment: not just CO2
Enel has linked its industrial strategy to the pursuit of ambitious objectives for the protection of ecosystems. Our environmental policy includes the progressive decarbonisation (reduction of CO2 emissions) of our production plants by 2050.
“The Group has set the target of achieving by 2020 the targets for reduced atmospheric emissions assessed on the basis of the results achieved and the Business Plan for the next three years, which will see the mix move towards renewables and a reduction in generation from fossil fuels through a change in the scope of production plants”
Seeding Energies - Sustainability Report 2016
Besides CO2, the main pollutants associated with thermoelectric power production include sulfur oxides (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate.
Our objective for 2020 is to reduce our emissions of sulfur and nitrogen oxides by 30% and particulate by 70% compared to 2010 levels through a strategy that combines technological innovation and sustainability.
The 2016 results confirm the commitment toward these objectives, with a reduction, compared to 2010, of SO2 by 15%, NOx by 11% and particulate by 58%.
The Enel Group is engaged also in the planning, construction and upgrading of plants through the use of the best available technologies at an international level. Once again, our objective is to ensure technological development and increase the efficiency of plants, also through innovative research projects that are tailored to our needs.
Less waste, more recovery
The waste disposal throughout the Enel Group is carried out at authorised sites depending on the type of material, which, when possible, is recovered. In particular, this is the case for materials that can be employed in construction, such as gypsum and ash from combustion, regenerated, such as oils and batteries, or recycled, such as some types of metals. Our goal is to increase even more the percentage of waste sent for recovery and to reduce, by 2020, waste production by 20% compared to 2015.
A target to be achieved also by adopting circular economy solutions, which combine competitiveness and environmental sustainability with initiatives such as Futur-e, the project promoted in Italy for the requalification of 23 thermoelectric power plants. A case study cited in the “CEO Guide to the Circular Economy,” the document published by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) which aims to encourage companies to adopt a “circular mentality,” signed, among others by Enel’s CEO, Francesco Starace.
The protection of biodiversity is an integral part of the Group’s environmental management systems (EMS). Last year, the activities to protect species and habitats covered 142 projects and protected areas covering a surface of 940,000 hectares.
In 2016, the director of the Huinay scientific station in Chile, supported by the Catholic University of Valparaiso and by Enel, won the Rolex Award for Enterprise, which acknowledges those who have proven to have the passion, determination and above all the spirit of initiative necessary to make the world a better place.
Water and energy
Last but not least the protection of blue gold. We have set 2020 as our target year for the 30% reduction of specific water consumption compared to 2010. And we are drawing closer to our target: in 2016, total water consumption was equal to approximately 150 million cubic metres, down by about 15% compared to 2015 (175 million m3).
We want to produce energy in a sustainable way, in harmony with the environment. The Sustainability Plan shows us the path and the Sustainability Report measures whether we have achieved the various goals.