When you cannot measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers, it is only the beginning of knowledge, explained Lord Kelvin, one of the fathers of modern physics. This is true not only in the case of science, but also when it comes to data regarding the operations of a large industrial group. And it is especially true in terms of data on sustainability, which lies at the heart of our corporate strategy and on which we try to develop tangible knowledge.
Operating in a world of constant change and interdependency is one of the greatest challenges that multinationals face today. Searching for shared value for the company and its stakeholders provides an opportunity both to encourage competitiveness and create long-term social value.
One of the pillars of Enel’s Strategic Plan is the creation of responsible relationships with local communities. Enel is committed to respecting the rights of communities and to contributing to their economic and social progress. In this way it can engage on a daily basis with a wide range of stakeholders, develop new strategies, innovate in processes in order to scale up the solutions adopted in the countries where it operates.
Enel implemented 1,210 sustainability projects in 2017 (a 30% increase on the previous year) and these directly benefited 9.4 million people: over 50% more than in 2016. These numbers speak for themselves, showing our consistent commitment to growing business in a sustainable manner that creates a positive and measurable impact in the regions where we are present.
These projects are mainly carried out through partnerships (over 600 in 2017) with international and local organisations to promote the development of local areas through innovative and tailored actions. It is an “Open Innovability” approach in which sustainability, innovation and openness to dialogue are at the heart of relations with partners.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
We have adopted the categories created in 2015 by the United Nations with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. This is in order to catalogue our actions for sustainability.
We are particularly committed to specific goals, with precise targets and timelines. SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy is relevant to our core activity of providing clean energy and making it accessible to the greatest number of people possible in the most sustainable of ways (our target is to reach 3 million people mainly in Africa, Asia and Latin America). SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth for us means supporting social economic development and creating jobs in the places and countries where we operate (our target 3 million people, and we have already increased it twice). In working towards SDG 4 – Quality Education, we concentrate on encouraging access to education, especially in emerging countries: the education of young people is the basis for more equitable and sustainable development – and a better future – for everyone. "Quality Education" means activating initiatives that promote inclusive and innovative school environments (Our target is to reach 800,000 people by 2020 and that means doubling our initial commitment).
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
We have set up various projects to provide clean, accessible energy, and these have (as of 31 December 2017) reached approximately 1.7 million beneficiaries in those countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America where Enel has made a specific commitment. The first step is to facilitate access to electricity: considering that over 1 billion people in the world, especially in developing countries and isolated areas, go without it. Thanks to decentralisation and training, access to modern energy services can be guaranteed, energy efficiency can be improved and the use of renewable resources increased. To do this, we implemented rural electrification projects (in Alta Guajira in Colombia and the El Médano community mini-grid in Chile). We have joined forces with Liter of Light, a strategic partner with whom we teach the community to make small solar plants out of plastic bottles and other recycled materials: this is a way to electrify rural areas and take care of the environment and climate, while also reinforcing the community’s capacity building. In this way we can promote the scalability of best practices and the creation of long-term shared value.