Financial performance is no longer the only way of measuring competitiveness when managing a growing business. In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): the long-term sustainability of the global economic development model has become a central issue for governments, businesses and individuals.
The expertise developed by the Enel Group during its more than ten years of CSR experience has led it to being ranked among the sector's global leaders. In recent weeks, Enel was given the prestigious 'Gold Class' classification in the 2015 edition of RobecoSAM's Sustainability Yearbook. The publication, which is now at its twentieth edition, assesses the sustainability of the world's largest companies, and according to its ranking, Enel is among only three 'Gold Class' companies listed in the Electrical Utilities category worldwide and among only four 'Gold Class' companies in Italy, while the Group's Spanish subsidiary Endesa was listed among the 'Silver Class' companies in the Electric Utility sector.
The Gold Class classification is yet another demonstration of Enel's commitment to CSR, which had already been admitted to major world indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the Dow Jones Europe Index, the STOXX Global ESG Leaders Index and the FTSE4Good Index Series.
Notwithstanding these important results, there is still much to be done to ensure the sustainable development of the global economy. Enel's Head of Country Italy Carlo Tamburi stressed this during an international conference sponsored by Enel in collaboration with the Global Compact Network Italyand the Italian Business Reporting Network (NIBR) called, The European Directive on Non-Financial Information.
During the event, Tamburi said that despite the efforts of many companies and international organisations such as the UN there is still a long way to go. Several studies also state that while issues such as economic and corporate social sustainability are the key element to long term success, existing regulations and the market (which is more often than not focused on short term goals) do not send the signals that enable the investments needed for a change of tack that will be crucial to obtaining sustainability goals.
As such, the 2014/95/EU Directive on the inclusion of non-financial information in business reports offers an opportunity to turn CSR into a strategy that focuses on growth and sustainable innovation.
If implemented and applied correctly, the regulation will help push businesses and investors towards genuine CSR – not just slogans and greenwashing. During the conference, RobecoSAM's Head of Sustainability Services Edoardo Gai stressed the importance of the non-binding guidelines being drafted in Brussels, which aim to standardise regulations among Member States. The goal, he explained, is to promote 'a Europe-wide action plan, otherwise the Directive is likely to become a one-legged policy. And it's a struggle to walk with one leg'.
Stefano Zambon, Secretary General and President of NIBR WICI Europe, also agreed that the directive and guidelines that are being defined will have a great impact on corporate behaviour.
Finally, Jan Noterdaeme, Senior Advisor CSR Europe, urged the business community to consider the new sustainability reports not an obligation but an opportunity for innovation and creativity, as well as a chance to reconsider business communications.