"Sustainability is not advertising, and it is not public relations. It is part of the way in which we develop our business. It means respecting local communities, listening to them and understanding what we can do for them. We're using their land and their natural resources, so we need to create real shared value that’s about social, cultural, and environmental growth, as well as economics." This statement was made by Enel's Head of Innovation and Sustainability Ernesto Ciorra, who was interviewed by The Guardian as part of the editorial partnership between the British newspaper and the Group.
Technology, wellbeing and development characterise a combination of innovation and sustainability, which , according to Enel's vision, brings together the company and the local areas in which it operates, its business and the improved quality of life of people and communities. The close relationship between sustainability and innovation, which Enel has confirmed by establishing a single corporate department comprising both, originates from the evolution of markets, of technologies and of a widespread awareness that today’s consumption and growth mustn't jeopardise the future. Quoting Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ciorra reminds us that we need development for all, not progress for a few. And he emphasises that, while up to a few years ago innovation was applied in order to stand out from one’s competitors, today it’s essential to remaining competitive and does not exist without sustainability, just as the latter is not possible without the former.
Startups and open innovation are keywords within Enel's vision. For a long time the Group has worked to identify 2.0 companies in the energy sector, with which it can develop cutting-edge energy-related projects. Its participation in programmes such as the Startup Europe Partnership, the accelerator promoted by the EU Commission's INCENSe programme, or the recent initiative that the Group launched in Brazil with Energy Start "demonstrates that we want to innovate alongside startups, making the most of their passion and dreams, not just in the countries in which we operate but all over the world, because energy innovation can help lay the foundations for a better future."
Sustainable development today means "creating value not only for the business but also for society and the environment," and the Group is carrying out several projects that will achieve this double aim that has now become a single objective, said Ciorra. The best example is given by Ollagüe in Chile, where Enel Green Power is bringing electricity to a remote village in the Atacama desert with the help of technological hybridisation achieved through renewable plants (small wind and solar PV) to be incorporated into the existing co-generation system and integrated into a stand-alone and self-sufficient distribution grid, by means of storage devices that will bolster and ‘smarten up’ the project.