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Francesco Starace: the value of the Assisi Manifesto today

Speaking at the meeting entitled “An economy on a human scale against crises”, Francesco Starace stressed the renewed importance of a more sustainable economy

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The Assisi Manifesto was presented on January 24, 2020, but remains “very current and topical,” to quote the words of one of its signatories, Francesco Starace. Enel’s CEO spoke at the meeting entitled “An economy on a human scale against crises”, which was held on October 3 at The Dome (Luiss Campus) in Rome by the Luiss Guido Carli University and the Symbola Foundation. What was hoped for in the Manifesto two years ago – the transition to a more sustainable economy that, starting from businesses, gets to involve people in an integral way against the climate crisis – is even more necessary today to face and overcome the new challenges caused by the pandemic and the evolution of the geopolitical scenario.

Francesco Starace opened his speech by recalling the value of some keywords emphasized in the Manifesto: “The first one that comes to mind is ‘courage’. The courage of knowing reality in its facets – both the negative and the positive ones – in our strengths and our abilities. A courage that is based on the careful assessment of the context and what the context needs to move forward together.” Furthermore, Enel’s CEO focused on the importance of ‘participation’, a word containing the commitment to remove inequalities and overcome selfishness. This is important nowadays because “in times of crisis we tend to remain isolated, and this is dangerous.

Therefore, courage and participation together “must help us to move forward,” also with regard to the path towards sustainability that Enel has been pursuing for some time. “This choice has allowed us to avoid many mistakes, we have come a long way from the point of view of economic results,” Francesco Starace recalled, while speaking of how this choice has helped to minimize the effects of the energy price rise in recent months, protecting “our customers”. The CEO mentioned some solutions that Enel has adopted in this regard: “We have proposed fixed prices, many of which are still valid.” Other “even more innovative” solutions are currently being studied, such as that of rewarding “people who save energy in the coming months with a bonus.

Sustainability is therefore a weapon “to get through the worst of this crisis”: “working on circular economy and ecological sustainability” has also proved to be a far-sighted choice, Francesco Starace explained. “We have invested a lot in networks and digitalization, allowing us today to face what is happening on the market with serenity”: there is an answer, as also shown by “the incredible growth in solar power connection requests from large, medium, and small companies, as well as from many private individuals, in order to free themselves from fossil fuels and rising costs”. Enel took this path well in advance and “proposed a special investment plan within the PNRR (Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan) for what is known as ‘hosting capacity’, that is the ability of the networks to connect and accept the many plants that are currently submitting connection requests, whose number tripled in the first six months of 2022 (compared to 2021) and is still growing. In the next six to twelve months, we will see the results of this great growth in terms of fossil fuel substitution.

“The Assisi Manifesto is more alive, topical and urgent than ever. Let’s move forward with confidence”

Francesco Starace, Enel CEO

As Francesco Starace recalled, this path includes “the large investment in the photovoltaic panel factory in Catania, thanks to which we will be able to meet the prospective demand for panels starting from June 2023, with an annual production of 3,000 megawatts of panels which will be largely absorbed by the incredible demand that will continue over time.

The value of the Manifesto and its key points is therefore reflected in the words of Enel’s CEO: “The current crisis shows us that it is not just a matter of economy. Fighting climate change is also a matter of freedom. A more circular and sustainable economy helps to make us more resilient to the situation we are experiencing. Sometimes freedom is taken for granted, but actually it is the result of choices that must be made with conscience. The Manifesto is more alive, topical and urgent than ever. Let’s move forward with confidence,” Francesco Starace said finally.

 

Enel editorial staff