Earth Day 2016, a tree for our future

Published on Friday, 22 April 2016

On Earth Day, Enel reaffirms its commitment to the environment and to defending the Planet, through strategies that are in line with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Today marks the 46th Earth Day, an event that is celebrated across the world. The United Nations launched this global event to raise awareness among the world’s populations on environmental issues and the protection of resources, one month and two days after the spring equinox on April 22. It is exactly on this day in 1970 that over 20 million Americans, led by student movements and environmentalists, gathered for the first time to protest against pollution, toxic waste, pesticides, desertification and the protection of biodiversity.

Since then, Earth day has become the most important environmental event in the world, involving up to one billion people in more than 192 Countries around the world each year and contributing to the realisation of the first UN Conference on Environmental and Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 – an event that gave way to Agenda 21, the United Nations’ commitments for the twenty-first century.

The slogan to celebrate Earth Day this year is “Trees for the Earth”. The goal of the campaign is to plant 7.8 billion trees (one for each of the Earth’s inhabitants) by 2020, on what will be the event’s fiftieth anniversary.

This year’s Earth Day coincides with the first day in which the climate agreement will be open for signatures; an agreement on the fight against climate change reached last December in Paris at the 21st UN Conference of Parties (COP21) by 195 Countries. US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be the first to sign the agreement at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The agreement will enter into force when signed by at least 55 Countries, accounting for 55 percent of global greenhouse emissions.

Enel is setting an example, thanks to its efforts to reduce emissions and its attention to local communities, through its integration of sustainability and shared value into its business strategies. Our Group’s commitment places us in the forefront in the achievement of the 17 millennium sustainable development goals set by the UN (UN Sustainable Development Goals). Enel has committed to four main areas of action: ensuring access to affordable, sustainable and modern energy (seventh goal) through the programme ENabling Electricity; contributing to the fight against climate change by reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 (thirteenth goal); guaranteeing inclusive and equitable quality education through specific educational projects (fourth goal); promoting employment and an inclusive, sustainable and long-term economic growth for at least 500 thousand people (eighth goal), through shared programmes with the communities in which we operate.

“Over the course of the 2016-2019 Strategic Plan, our Group plans to invest nine billion Euros in renewable energy, in line with its commitment to reduce emissions and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. This sends a strong message in terms of fighting climate change and integrating sustainability into business strategies,” stated Andrea Valcalda, Enel’s Head of Sustainability.

“We have developed an approach that is extremely respectful of local attributes, by focusing exclusively on small plants, creating value for local communities and paying great attention to biodiversity,” stressed Valcalda.
 
To celebrate Earth Day, we have promoted several initiatives in the Countries in which we operate to engage our customers and people on the issue. For example, in Latin America we will plant a native tree for each of our renewable plant. Additional trees will be planted in collaboration with local communities in Peru and Russia.

In 2014, our attention to biodiversity, the protection of species and natural habitats in which we operate, involved 89 projects, with a total coverage of over 55 thousand hectares and initiatives ranging from monitoring plans for sensitive species, reintroduction programmes for native species to reforestation and fauna protection.