Supporting the transition towards a low-carbon economy

Published on Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Enel is among the top 193 companies worldwide to be included in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) "2016 Climate A List", a ranking of the leading companies in the implementation of low-carbon strategies and the fight against climate change.

Fulfilling the Paris Agreement commitments on climate change, as laid out at the COP 21 climate conference in December 2015, and transitioning to a low carbon economy, means fostering development, growth and an innovative business model that is more sustainable, without sacrificing profitability.

This is the key concept employed by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) – an international non-governmental organisation that since 2003 has served as a benchmark for investors to evaluate the environmental performance and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by businesses around the world – in order to draught the Climate Change Report 2016, presented on October 25. In the report, CDP experts evaluate thousands of companies around the world, ranking them on a scale of A to F, where A represents the best performance.

Only 193 of the companies (9 percent of the total) were included in the Climate A List – a list of the world’s corporate leaders in the creation of concrete strategies to contrast climate change and achieve the Paris Agreement objectives. Enel is among these companies, having been recognised for its significant results along with seven other Italian companies at the CDP Italy Climate Leadership Awards and Report Launch 2016, during a ceremony in Milan.

"This is a further reminder for the business world", said Enel CEO Francesco Starace, "that a company’s sustainability strategy sits in close alignment with its industrial ambitions: in our case, technology innovation, development of renewables, increased efficiency in thermal generation business and digitalisation of the grid, also speak directly to tackling climate change”.

According to the CDP, the development and promotion of renewable energy sources is essential to achieving the objectives defined by the Paris climate agreement. Our group’s business plan focuses on green energy and on the promotion of a business model that is in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals developed by the UN.

At the end of 2015, 45% of Enel's power generation came from zero-emission sources, thanks to generation facilities powered by renewable sources with an approximate worldwide net capacity of 37,000 MW. This has allowed us to produce over 89 TWh from renewable sources last year, avoiding the emission of about 58 million tonnes of CO2.

In order to obtain such results, we took up a challenge: the “science-based target”, an initiative promoted by the CDP, the UN Global Compact (UN-GC), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the WWF to encourage companies to set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets that are in line with the request to limit the increase in the average global temperature to 2° C. We therefore examined our strategy and set ambitious new targets that include plans to close 13 GW of installed capacity from fossil fuels in Italy (project Future-E).

This will allow us to increase our specific CO2 emission reduction target from now to 2020 (compared to 2007 values) from -18 percent to -25 percent, to produce specific emissions below 350 gCO2/kWheq by that date. The 2020 target represents a medium-term objective in view of the even more ambitious objective of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, a challenge that is in line with the commitment made at UN headquarters to implement the 13th Sustainable Development Goal, which addresses the fight against climate change.

The Paris climate agreement offers a major opportunity for our group to contribute to the transition towards a global economic model that respects the environment and is able to foster synergic development with local regions, supporting communities and their diversity.

The possibility to transform low carbon strategies into new business models will be a central theme which Enel will promote at the World Climate Conference (COP 22), to be held in Marrakesh on November 7 to 18.