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Protecting biodiversity


Enel is well aware of the value of ecosystems and of the environmental services associated with such systems and is traditionally engaged in responsible management of natural resources during its operations.
Protecting biodiversity is a strategic objective of Enel’s environmental policy and is an integral part of the Group’s Environmental Management Systems (EMS). In 2016 the safeguarding of species and natural habitats involved 142 projects, for a total investment of 12 million euro, and total surface area of protected areas of 940 thousand hectares.

The projects include studies, stocktaking and monitoring plans for sensitive species, programs to reintroduce native species, reforestation, infrastructure work such as the insulation and replacement of electric cables which are dangerous for birds as well as the installation on electric cables of supports for the nesting of birds of prey and migratory species, and the construction of ramps for the transit of fish near hydroelectric plant. Interventions are planned by assigning priorities as regards ecosystems to protected areas and as regards species to those in the “Red List” of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), but local situations which may have particular importance for local communities are treated equally with the utmost attention.
In 2015 Enel drew up a specific policy to be considered as a reference point and guideline for all the Group’s initiatives to safeguard biodiversity in its electricity generation, transmission and distribution activities. The policy has been developed to contribute to the objectives of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the 2011-2020 Plan for Biodiversity and associated Aichi targets. In particular Enel undertakes to:

  • plan activities which may interfere with species and natural habitats in compliance with the principle of “mitigation hierarchy”, which above all consists of the commitment to: 
    • avoid and prevent the occurrence of negative impacts on biodiversity, and, when the impacts cannot be avoided: 
    • reduce the damage and remedy its impact; and, finally, 
    • offset the residual negative impacts; in the case of residual impacts, undertake offsetting works in compliance with the principle of “no net loss” to biodiversity and, where applicable, with a net positive balance;
  • for each new plant undertake Environmental Impact Studies which include an assessment of the effects on biotypes, on animal and vegetal species, in order to avoid operating in areas of high natural value, envisaging also the adoption of the best solutions to limit the impact on biodiversity; 
  • collaborate with local communities, research centers and environmental and local associations to identify biodiversity values and develop studies and projects for their safeguarding and valorization; 
  • monitor the effectiveness of the measures adopted in order to protect and preserve biodiversity;
  • regularly report on its performance in relation to biodiversity. 

The current projects are distributed across almost all the countries where Enel is present, with a higher number in Italy, Brazil and Spain. The technology with most associated projects is hydroelectric, followed by networks and wind, solar and geothermal among renewables.
Enel also coordinates the working group of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development on “Biodiversity Measurement, Valuation and Reporting”, created by the organization to enable companies to discuss how business can make a responsible commitment to safeguarding biodiversity in its activities. Further information on the biodiversity projects is available at: biodiversita.html.

As Pontes

As Pontes, an open coal mine in the North West of Spain, has for many years powered the Endesa power plant of Puentes de García Rodríguez, near La Coruña. In 2007 the mine was closed with the consensus of most of the population, the workers were reabsorbed into other companies and an extended program of environmental denaturalization started. The program was created with the aim of recreating the different stages of nature in the area (meadows, shrubbery, wood) so as to recreate habitats for vegetal and animal species. The recovery operations envisaged the planting of 600 thousand trees and the sowing of 130 tons of seeds, among other initiatives.
The mining area was filled naturally with the flow of rain water and with the water from the river Eume and today there is an artificial lake which is 205 meters deep and with a perimeter of 17.8 kilometers.
The physical and chemical quality of the water has been monitored since 2008 and the observations have enabled verification of the gradual recolonization of the basin by local fish species, such as the brown trout (Salmo trutta), the three-spined tickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), and the Northern straight-mouth nase (Pseudochondrostoma duriense).
The overall effect on the biodiversity of the location has been considerable: 168 animal species have been surveyed and numerous species of flora have reappeared. Among the most important in terms of conservation are the Iberian frog (Rana iberica), the little bustard (Tetrax tetrax), the European otter (Lutra lutra), and the Iberian emerald lizard (Lacerta schreiberi). The As Pontes Project is a genuine global reference point for industrial reconversion in sustainable fashion.

Rolex Award 2016 – Chile

Vreni Häussermann, since 2003 director of the Huinay science station, supported by the Catholic University of Valparaíso and by Enel, in 2016 won the Rolex Award for Enterprise, which is given to five main winners and five youth winners who have demonstrated that they have the passion, the determination and, above all, the enterprising spirit needed to make the world a better place. In particular, Vreni Häussermann is exploring the fjords of the Chilean Patagonia to document the mysterious life of the marine depths. It is a project half-way between scientific research and divulgation, which seeks to create public support for the conservation of the area with its unique and tremendously rich biodiversity.

Reference SDGs: 
Main actionsTargets
Reduction of SO2 specific emissions-30% by 2020 (vs. 2010) 
Reduction of NOx specific emissions-30% by 2020 (vs. 2010) 
Reduction of particulates -70% by 2020 (vs. 2010)
Reduction of specific water consumption-30% by 2020 (vs. 2010)
Cabling ratio74% by 2019
Reduction of waste produced-20% by 2020 (vs. 2015)
Implementation of biodiversity plan
Continuation of protection of species in the “Red List” of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in the protected areas near plants
Circular economy

Adoption of a systematic approach to the circular economy in the Group Launch of project to assess circular economy impacts Coherent application of the principles of
the circular economy to Future-e projects, considering the circular economy as a key factor in developing the projects

Sustainability Plan 2017-2019