Social Boat Camp, on the vave of sustainability

Published on Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Enel, a strategic ally of the first Social Enterprise Boat Camp, to create economic and social value and promote innovation

From boot camp to Boat Camp. The pun is simple and it takes on a completely different meaning when the “training programme” is for social entrepreneurs, using a ship as a gym and a four-day trip in the Mediterranean, from Civitavecchia to Barcelona and back.

The first Social Enterprise Boat Camp, held from 28th to 31st May, was promoted by the ACRA Foundation, in collaboration with Gruppo Cooperativo CGM - Consorzio Gino Mattarelli and Opes Impact Funde with Enel as a strategic partner.

The objective of the initiative, which is dedicated to training young sustainability professionals and cooperation practitioners, is to bring together players from the corporate world, finance, civil society and social enterprise to share and define sustainable and innovative high-impact business models together.

During the trip, the 400 young social entrepreneurs and cooperation practitioners from Italy, India, Kenya and Uganda who participated in the Boat Camp, worked in seven social entrepreneurship projects that were selected as case studies by the organisers.

The sea voyage allowed participants to disconnect from the digital world to which we are accustomed today. According to Lord George Byron, “when you're at sea your mind is clear, free from any confusion, you're focused. Suddenly the light becomes sharper, sounds are richer, and you are invaded by the deep powerful presence of life.”  The quote was chosen by the organisers, focusing on the objectives to prepare for the creation of a more equitable, sustainable and innovative economic model.

The conference was held in Barcelona on May 30th  at the CaixaForum and divided into three panels on Technology and Development, The Challenges of SDGs (the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals), and Impact Investors and Social Entrepreneurs.

Among the participants of the sustainability and innovation conference were Illac Diaz, founder of the Liter of Light project (in partnership with the Enel Group) to teach communities without access to electricity how to build solar lamps with recycled material (plastic bottles and electric cables). The debate on the challenge to achieve the 17 sustainable development objectives defined by the United Nations saw the participation of Maria Cristina Papetti, Head of Enel Sustainability Projects and Practice Sharing.

In her speech, Papetti stressed the importance of bringing the Group’s expertise and training to local communities, in order to create a virtuous circle of shared value, both for the communities and for their businesses.

Our Group, she added, is committed to these priorities and has embarked upon a path to integrate sustainability into its business model – a new model where the creation of social value has become a means to create economic value. Thus leading to the formal commitment made by CEO Francesco Starace to contribute to the achievement of four of the United Nations 17 SDGs: ensuring access to affordable, sustainable and modern energy (the seventh goal), fighting climate change by achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 (the thirteenth goal), ensuring inclusive and quality education (the fourth goal), promoting employment and sustained and inclusive economic growth for at least 500 thousand people (eighth goal).

The final day of the Social Enterprise Boat Camp, from Barcelona to Civitavecchia and back, saw some 400 young experts actively participating in innovation and sustainability community management. Among those who took upon the challenge of training participants in sustainability and teamwork, was Mauro Berruto, former coach of the national volleyball team and current CEO of the Holden School of Storytelling and Performance Arts founded by Alessandro Baricco.