Published on Thursday, 16 July 2015

"Make a quality leap". This is the call for action that Enel CEO Francesco Starace reads in the words of Pope Francis who, with his encyclical Laudato si', has urged "every person who lives on this planet" to "take care of our common home."

In a video-interview released by The Guardian, Starace identifies a demand for change, an invitation to a shift from 'me' to 'us,' from a personal commitment to a shared and common responsibility that also involves Enel "because we are part of society, and now we have an even greater commitment, consisting in following with determination our path towards sustainable development and the creation of common values in all the societies in which we operate."

"Sustainability is an ethical value, but it is also based on strong tangible and practical motivations," Starace explained, recalling that the activity of a Group such as Enel and the infrastructure it builds across the world "have a visual and material impact on the lives of people around us." For this reason, and because of Enel's longstanding presence in the regions where its plants are located, "it's unthinkable to operate, as was done not so long ago, without continuous exchange with and involvement of the communities most directly in contact with our infrastructures."

According to Starace, the lack of dialogue and exchanges with local communities "is a mistake that is paid for over time and sometimes is also the cause of missed opportunities." Enel's CEO is certain, thanks to his experience, that "interesting points, ideas - which otherwise we would not have had - can come from listening to the communities that live around the infrastructures we are planning to build".

"We work to stay, to create value over time," said Starace, emphasising a vision that is the basis of the Creating Shared Value model that Enel has applied throughout its business chain and in all the areas of the world in which it operates. Building energy infrastructures means creating tools for development." How can one expect to do this against the interests of the people who work and live alongside us? The consent and involvement of local communities are essential conditions for "working together towards a common goal".

"Climate is a common good belonging to all and meant for all," writes the Pope in his encyclical. And Enel's CEO emphasised that" by now, all energy operators have understood that climate change is not make-believe, it's a reality". Now that the COP 21 conference on climate, which will be held in Paris at the end of November, is only a few months away, this widespread awareness justifies hopes that the international community will make a realistic and tangible commitment to improving the environment in which we live and, above all, will reduce the impact of emissions on climate change.

Enel's contribution to the fight against climate change is already being expressed tangibly, and Starace summarised how by providing some data. Indeed, "around 47- 48 percent of the energy the Group generates is from sources that do not produce CO2 emissions, and we have also committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050." This commitment is unwavering and will continue over time because Enel "will keep on leveraging all our most advanced and sustainable technologies," those that exist already and those that will rise in the future, "to accelerate the process of carbon reduction over the next few years."