Impact Stories

The value of sustainability at ENEL

The impact

Never before has the growth of a business been so intertwined with the social and environmental issues our planet is facing.  So this calls for a commitment to tackle sustainability and energy transition with the use of clean technologies, the key paradigm in recent years driving Enel’s global mission.  

In keeping with this spirit, the Enel Sustainability Farm was set up in 2019, thanks to a collaboration between SDA Bocconi and Enel Global Power Generation (GPG) - the company in the Enel Group that operates in the sector of renewables. This training program, now in its third edition, has seen the participation of over one hundred managers and aims to extend the sustainability philosophy and related skills to the entire Group. 

With the topic of climate change as the baseline, the course explores several pertinent social and economic issues: from planetary boundaries to resource scarcity, from poverty to human rights, with special attention to the water-food-energy connection in Africa, a continent where the geopolitical aspects of the energy transition are plainly visible. Course participants also get the chance to reflect on how to create a more sustainable business model, with a particular focus on strategies for upgrading the entire value chain.  

“With the Enel Sustainability Farm, we’ve launched a high-level training course dedicated to our managers,” says Giovanni Tula, Head of Sustainability at Enel Green Power (EGP). “The goal is to raise awareness of the intrinsic value of a sustainable company, engaging and educating our management on the items on the UN 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Thanks to this program, created with SDA Bocconi, we will empower our managers to become ‘sustainability ambassadors’ within the Group.” 

The numbers behind the story


Company: Enel

Foundation: 1962

Industry: electricity and power production

Revenues: €64,985 million (2020)

Employees: 65,000

Locations: direct presence in 31 countries on 5 continents

Users: 74 million globally (26 million in Italy alone)

The story

The Enel Sustainability Farm is just one of the many links connecting SDA Bocconi and the Enel Group for over ten years. This long-term partnership encompasses a wide range of topics, models and learning goals, in recent years all revolving around the question of sustainability.   

SDA Bocconi is currently committed to cultivating the managerial development of Enel’s talents and top managers with four additional flagship programs: the School of Business Development, now in its sixth edition; the School of Planning and Control, third edition; the School of Engineering and Construction, second edition; and the Supplier Development Program. 

The School of Business Development is a 15-month training course designed for Enel Green Power business developers. The project was created in 2016 as a response to the need to consolidate and standardize the vision and managerial training of business developers, and to prepare people to take the lead on one of the most critical innovation fronts: renewable energy development.  The current count of participants stands at 224 business developers from all over the world, and the program covers the most salient topics relating to this activity (Tender Management, Electricity Market Design, Partnering Strategies & Options) while shoring up the basics of management, finance, and economics.  

The School of Engineering & Construction was designed to hone professional and managerial skills of Enel personnel in these areas, and to enrich and refine their technical background. The program has an international scope, and each edition consists of nine modules offered over a year and a half to 40 participants. Indispensable notions are underscored, such as project management in Enel’s global context, and an understanding of the external environment in order to predict dynamics and scenarios (especially in light of the Covid-19 experience and the new safety requirements pertaining to power plants.)  

The School of Planning & Control is a two-year program dedicated to strengthening and standardizing managerial competencies of the leaders in Accounting, Finance and Control; attendees at this school already number over 100. 

The Supplier Development Program is an ambitious training path covering five areas (general management; finance, administration & control; digitalization; internationalization; and sustainability), which aims to shore up the entire Enel value chain, creating the conditions for growth, business development and competitiveness among suppliers in line with the sustainability goals and values of the Group. The objective of the program is to educate SME partners on the most critical business management topics and to promote a path to growth and sustainable development to make Enel’s supply chain more solid, innovative, and effective. The program, which Enel offers to suppliers that meet certain requirements, can host other Italian companies as participants.  

Beyond these training programs, the partnership between SDA Bocconi and the Enel Group also involves a number of research activities. To name just two: Res4Africa, a foundation whose mission is energy transformation on the African continent; and Open Africa Power, providing high-level training for students in various African counties taking Master and PhD programs in areas such as engineering, law, or economics. In addition, SDA Bocconi has recently finalized a long-term research project for Enel Foundation on the new geopolitics of renewables, in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Milan. 

Enel Foundation also partners with two SDA Bocconi projects that center on sustainability issues. The first is the Monitor for Circular Fashion, an initiative established in 2021 with the aim of offering a precise, dynamic representation of the state of the circular economy in the Italian fashion sector. The second is the ESG Lab at SDA Bocconi, whose primary purpose is to generate and disseminate knowledge and managerial skills pertinent to questions of sustainability and governance for SMEs

What now?

The new editions of the training programs and advances in research initiatives are the lifeblood that connects SDA Bocconi and the Enel Group. 

In September 2021, the first edition of the EPS Procurement began with the participation of 27 professionals from Enel’s procurement function. The course, which will include two more editions in the next three years, is structured in such a way as to address both topics specific to the function, and questions such as sustainability, leadership and innovability.   

The challenges of the post-pandemic world are forcing companies to seriously rethink the way they do business and how they design their training activities. In light of this, 2020 saw the advent of a new leadership model for Enel, championed by Guido Stratta, Director of the Group’s People and Organization function: “kind leadership.”  Moving beyond function-focused training, the Group has asked SDA Bocconi to evolve projects to hone competencies and foster behaviors which will be increasingly essential for business development in the coming years. To do so, programs are in the works that will serve to identify, map and understand the evolution of the labor market with regard to green issues; other initiatives will center on more effectively onboarding newly-hired managers in the company.  

As Guido Stratta points out, “The main objective that we set for ourselves as a company is to make our young people employable, and to tap the talent pool as a whole. Our partnership with SDA Bocconi is fundamental to foster the development of new skills that serve to grow our entire Group.”  

The value of sustainability at ENEL