Energy, development, education: creating measurable shared value

Published on Friday, 16 November 2018

As for the economic sustainability of energy, Enel has helped to improve the situation in vulnerable areas. Some families in the Ferentari district of Bucharest, for example, are living in difficult socio-economic conditions. Here we used an approach learnt in Brazil which consists of a series of initiatives that bring together social services, education projects and safeguarding of the environmental conditions, in order to improve the quality of life for residents. This programme enabled us to reduce the company’s economic losses while increasing the loyalty of clients in the area and bolstering relationships within the community. The initiative was later adopted in another region of Romania, Valea Jiului, which was previously a mining area.

Energy efficiency is key to long-term sustainable business and in this respect we are active on many fronts: from working to promote awareness in the companies that we partner with in Spain to the incentives offered in Peru for the use of electricity-efficient appliances.

A good understanding of energy use on the part of the general population is essential to sustainable development. For this reason we organise awareness-raising events at our power plants throughout the world, (global projects such as Open Plants and Play Energy) and more. In Argentina, we meet clients to provide information on the economic aspects and responsible use of energy, while in Italy we hold informational seminars for the most vulnerable groups in order to explain how to read the “transparent” full-information invoices.

SDG #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Approximately 1.5 million people have benefited (according to data from 2017) from our social development and employment projects. These include the development of fishing near our thermo-electric plant in Civitavecchia, Italy and the introduction of industrial techniques for the processing of nuts to the Pehuenche community which lives near the Pangue and Ralco hydroelectric plants in Chile.

Other initiatives are designed to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. In Russia and Peru, we work to facilitate access to the job market for women, who often lack the means and the awareness that can help them get involved. In this way we are taking creative ideas forward and creating social impact in the area.

Social and environmental sustainability meet in our circular economy initiatives, such as the furniture production projects in various countries where Enel has a presence (in North America, Latin America and Africa) that use recycled materials (Wood waste recycling with a social purpose). In Colombia, we support employment with a people-centred “Sirolli” approach, to promote their ideas, passions and resources. This is in line with our “What’s your Power?” campaign.

SDG #4: Quality education

Our education and training projects benefited 600,000 people in 2017. We offer scholarships in various countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Russia, United States) to facilitate access to education (from primary schools to professional institutes) and we also contribute to the training of teachers with innovative didactic methods in Colombia.

We not only take care of people, we also think about infrastructure: we installed a photovoltaic plant in a primary school in Peru to guarantee the electricity supply and support a circular economy programme in Romania for the reuse of computers no longer needed by the company, thereby also creating opportunities for our social partners and local NGOs.

In order to help reduce social inequality in Argentina, we support a school attended by foreign students who are struggling financially: we made furniture for the refectory from recycled materials in order to create a sustainable environment. In South Africa, we work with a local NGO to ensure that unused quality food is distributed to schoolchildren.

We are involved in a vast range of different types of project all over the globe. They all work to bring together sustainability and innovation as part of a strategic plan that unites all stakeholders in a virtuous ecosystem. The aim is to create long-term shared value and to make tangible plans to reach the 2030 Agenda goal of a sustainable future for all. The numbers prove that it can be done.