In 2014, with the presentation at the World Economic Forum in Davos of the report “Towards a Circular Economy – Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains,” the concept of the circular economy appeared on an international stage for the first time. This approach is designed to revolutionize the linear economic system of “take-produce-consume-discard,” which is not sustainable, transforming it into a circular and interconnected model. It functions in a way that mirrors nature’s cycles and offers businesses extraordinary opportunities in terms of competitiveness and innovation.
The principles of the circular economy also inspire our Group and are applied to all of our business lines, in particular, Enel X, which specializes in advanced energy services and products. Now the company’s circular approach, activities and solutions have provided the basis for the Circular Economy Factbook 2020. It is a truly unique document that includes all of the initiatives, projects and innovations through which Enel X acts as an accelerator and enabler of circularity. This is not only within the organization, but also for strategic partners and clients (businesses and public administrative bodies). That’s in addition to being a promoter of the culture of circularity in society as a whole.
The circularity score
Enel X’s challenge for circularity, as described in the Factbook, starts with the Circular Economy Boosting Program, a wide-ranging approach that begins by assessing the circularity level of solutions analyzed and then identifies the best strategies to increase and improve it. The program assigns a Circularity Score, a percentage based on the methodology of Enel’s CirculAbility® Model.
In order to examine this score in an effective way, a circularity scale (from level 1 to 5) has been created. It considers to what extent the solutions analyzed respect the basic principles of circularity: recycle and reuse, extending useful life, sharing platforms, product as a service and sustainable inputs.
This form of measurement assesses the circularity not only of physical products but also combinations of products and services. It is validated by RINA, a third-party certification body that provides an independent guarantee of compliance with the associated standards.
Once the score has been established, the Boosting phase begins: this includes an analysis of the entire value chain for the solutions, followed by the exploration of applicable circular innovations and business models and the selection of opportunities capable of creating value. Once the feasibility studies have been concluded, along with the necessary fine-tuning, the chosen innovation is implemented and the score recalculated to ascertain the improvement in the circularity level.
The program was developed and applied initially to Enel X’s solutions in Italy and has since been extended to Spain and Latin America, in particular Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia.
An interesting example of the principles of the circular economy (in particular sustainable inputs and recycle and reuse) being applied to Enel X solutions is the new version of the JuiceBox charging station, which is made solely from recycled materials. In 2020, following the necessary checks on safety and resistance, we produced the first batches of JuiceBoxes made from recovered plastic. The resulting economic savings confirmed that the circular approach brings tangible economic benefits for Enel X’s portfolio of solutions.
A report for companies and public administrative bodies
The Factbook also presents the solutions that Enel X, in applying the Circular Economy Boosting Program, is able to offer its clients, for whom it has developed two specific scoring models: the Circular Economy Report for companies and another for public administrative bodies. The core of both Reports is a meticulous and precise measurement of the client’s circularity level. This is obtained by analyzing numerous indicators within the value chain: the final result is an in-depth study that highlights not only the strengths and weaknesses, but also tangible indicators for increasing the circularity of products and processes.
With the Circularity Report, Enel X also supports public administrative bodies that are committed to responding to their citizens’ needs in a new and sustainable way: from the analysis of the municipalities’ energy circularity levels concerning the management of municipal buildings to the applied quantitative study of specific sites, focusing in particular on energy sources and their use.
In addition to describing the methodology, the principles and tools that guide the solutions offered by Enel X, the Factbook also presents practical examples of applications of the innovative model developed by Enel X to promote the circularity of businesses and public administrative bodies.
Finally, the Factbook, underlines Enel X’s commitment to the promotion and diffusion of a culture of circularity, in equal measure within the organization and outside, with the creation of informative and educational content and awareness raising initiatives, in particular at schools. This is because such an innovative approach and the adoption of sustainable and circular development models both need the new generations in order to progress and to go far.