The path to sustainability
Discover how Enel Green Power is implementing sustainability in every aspect of its
To keep our natural ecosystem in balance, we have to renew the pact between humans and the planet. We must overcome the challenges of reducing harmful emissions and fighting pollution, with the help of renewables.
When we talk about environmental sustainability, we have to keep one crucial point in mind: this is a topic that concerns the very existence of the planet we live on.
It’s no surprise that the idea of environmental sustainability has evolved so much that it overlaps with the concept of sustainable development. From a purely ecological perspective, we’ve moved on to recognize its broader significance, which must take social and economic implications for the environment into account.
Ensuring environmental sustainability means keeping our natural ecosystem in balance. Fighting pollution, taking drastic measures to reduce harmful emissions and waste, triggering positive and innovation-driven economic cycles as drivers to optimize, recycle and reuse resources. An ecosystem of behaviors for a single, great goal.
Pursuing environmental sustainability means, above all, facing our number one enemy: pollution. And we shouldn’t only think of a city congested with traffic and covered with a hood of smog here. That symbolic image refers to atmospheric pollution alone: only one form of pollution that can assault processes of environmental sustainability.
Exhaust gas, combustion of natural and artificial gases, waste treatment systems, chemical agents used for agriculture and industry, CO2 emissions from ventilation and heating systems. These all entail various emissions of harmful vapors and gases – including dioxin and carbon dioxide – that negatively affect the composition of the air we breathe. When emissions reach excessive concentrations, it’s not enough to alternate license plate numbers that can drive on a given day: our bodies and the environment itself can’t get rid of the residues.
From the sky to the earth: the fight for environmental sustainability must also try to control soil pollution. Harmful human activities, like the use of chemical products and fertilizers, the dumping of non-biodegradable waste, the discharge of dirty water and solvents in unsuitable areas – all alter the natural chemical composition of the earth.
Last but not least, water: water pollution contaminates seas, rivers and lakes in an increasingly alarming way. From illegal sewage dumping to garbage of all kinds: domestic, industrial and urban. One of our greatest battles, to reduce plastic use, is motivated by water pollution: since 2000, plastic waste in the Atlantic Ocean alone has tripled.
The goals we must pursue to maintain the balance between humans and the environment all lead back to one word: reduce.
Energy production from conventional sources is one of the industries that contributes most to pollution. The CO2 from burning coal alone is responsible for 81% of greenhouse gas emissions and is the main cause of global warming. To reduce carbon dioxide emissions, we must accelerate the energy transition to renewable sources, in order to drastically lower CO2 levels and lend a helping hand to the future of our planet.
While the Green Economy points global markets – from the producer to the consumer – toward the generation and use of green energy to combine energy savings and reduced pollution, the Blue Economy does not simply aim to reduce: it aims to eliminate.
The concept of the Blue Economy was conceived for the first time in 2010 by Gunter Pauli, a Belgian economist and entrepreneur. The blue economy sets the goal of zero harmful waste to our planet and greater profits with less investment of capital at the same time. Utopia? Blue thinking bets everything on technological innovation and the transformation of substances that were once wasted into profitable goods: in other words, recycling and reuse.
Specifically, the Blue Economy proposes new solutions for activities linked to oceans (fishing, aquaculture, the food processing industry, shipbuilding and related activities). The European Commission is ready to allocate 6.14 billion euro in the 2021-2027 EU budget to this potential. The goal is to create a Fund for investing in new maritime markets, technologies and services, like marine energy and marine biotechnology.
At stake is a new form of economic development with unlimited prospects. Millions of jobs, new life for traditional sectors of the economy as well as emerging sectors. Not to mention the safeguarding of marine ecosystems. All this, obviously, is even more than sustainable.