The Red List, which is drawn up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), provides information on the conservation status of various species.
|GRI indicators||Projects||Species involved||Habitats affected||Number of threatened species|
|304-1||304-2||304-3||304-4||Number||Of which voluntary||Mammals and bats||Birds||Fish||Amphibians and reptiles||Flora||Terrestrial ecosystems||Aquatic ecosystems||Wet zones||Critically Endangered (CR)||Endangered (EN)||Vulnerable (VU)||Near Threatened (NT)|
Protection of biodiversity is one of the most important ways to measure a Company’s sustainability. Preserving ecosystems and species equates to respect for life, the natural world, and community spaces and symbols.
Enel is mindful of the value of ecosystems and biodiversity and is traditionally involved in the responsible management of natural resources during its operations.
The protection of biodiversity is a strategic objective of Enel’s environmental policy and is an integral part of the Group’s EMS. In 2017, initiatives to protect species and natural habitats numbered 158 projects, with a total investment of 10 million euro and a total of 1.94 million hectares of protected areas.
Mainly affecting the renewable-energy plants (especially hydroelectric and wind power) and distribution networks, the projects included studies, surveys and monitoring plans for vulnerable species, programs to reintroduce native species, reforestation, and infrastructural interventions such as isolating and replacing electrical conductors dangerous for bird life. They also included the installation on power lines of supports for the birds of prey and migratory species to stand and nest, and the construction of access ramps for fish fauna near hydroelectric plants.
The initiatives are planned by assigning priorities for ecosystems based on protected areas and for species based on which of these are on the “Red List” of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Specific local issues that may be particularly important for the local communities are also treated with the utmost care.
In 2015, Enel drew up a specific policy to be used as a benchmark and guide for all of the Group’s biodiversity protection initiatives in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, adding to the principles of the Group’s environmental policy (https://www.enel.com/investors/biodiversity).
Breakdown of projects by technology (%)
The aim of the policy was to contribute to meeting the objectives of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the 2011-2020 Biodiversity Plan and the associated Aichi5 targets. In particular, Enel undertakes to:
- plan activities that may interfere with species and natural habitats, while respecting the “mitigation hierarchy” principle, which involves a commitment to:
- avoid and prevent the occurrence of negative impacts on biodiversity, and if they cannot be avoided;
- reduce the damage and remedy its effects; and lastly
- compensate for residual negative impacts; for minor impacts, by carrying out compensatory works in line with the principle of “no net loss” of biodiversity and, where applicable, achieving a positive net outcome;
- conduct Environmental Impact Studies for each new plant that include an evaluation of the effects on biotopes, on animal and plant species, in order to avoid operating in areas of high natural value, also planning the adoption of the best solutions to limit the effects on biodiversity;
- collaborate with local communities, research centers and environmental and local associations to identify biodiversity values and develop studies and projects for protection and enhancement;
- monitor the effectiveness of the measures taken to protect and conserve biodiversity;
- regularly report its biodiversity performance.
The projects currently underway are distributed in almost all the countries where Enel operates, but mainly in Italy, Brazil and Spain. Hydroelectric technology has the greatest number of associated projects, followed by wind power and networks.
5 See the reference website https://www.cbd.int/sp/targets/.
Enel and IUCN
In September 2017, IUCN and Enel signed an annual validity agreement to support the Company in identifying opportunities to enhance the biodiversity around its sites and raise awareness on the best management practices in the energy production sector.
The work is organized around three areas of activity:
- assessment of the risks and opportunities associated with biodiversity around infrastructural sites, through the use of the integrated biodiversity assessment tool (IBAT);
- identification of biodiversity best practices for the implementation of the mitigation hierarchy for energy infrastructures;
- definition of new indicators for biodiversity reporting at the company level.
Four Enel sites were visited as part of the agreement, selected based on the technologies involved and characteristics of the biodiversity in the surrounding areas: in Italy (Porto Corsini, thermal generation - CCGT), Chile (Tarapacá, thermal generation - coal), Mexico (Villanueva, solar generation) and Brazil (Apiacás, hydroelectric generation). The aim of the visits was to get to know current practices for avoiding and reducing the impacts on biodiversity related to energy infrastructures, as well as mitigation actions and any compensation mechanisms used.
The project involves IUCN developing a series of recommendations to further strengthen the Company’s biodiversity contribution.
The “Teodora” power plant at Porto Corsini
The “Teodora” power plant is a modern combined gas cycle and has an EMAS certified environmental management system since 2006.
In the nearby wetland the “Pialassa della Baiona” there are 1,800 hectares protected by the Ramsar Convention, Special Protection Zone for Birds and Site of Community Importance.
In order to minimize the impact due to the thermal discharge and to protect the high biodiversity value of the area, Enel has started collaborations with all the stakeholders present on the territory for several years and forums with the local associations for the protection of the wider system of wetlands of Porto Corsini, an extensive fluvial-marine transition environment relevant for biodiversity (e.g. Greater noctule bat - Nyctalus lasiopterus, European pond turtle - Emys orbicularis, Black tern - Chlidonias niger).