A dialogue on sustainability, energy transition and new competencies

On September 30th, Bocconi hosted a hybrid event in collaboration with Enel Foundation on the occasion of youth4climate and Pre-COP 26 held in Milan, welcoming an array of fascinating speakers. This was the first event in which the SEG Team participated after an entangled academic year of online living, where experts, top managers, and academics discussed about equal distribution of wealth, energy transition, and climate change and the impact on a more incorporated sustainable tomorrow, engaging the generation that will lead the sustainable development of the future.

In the opening kick-off, the Chairman of Enel Group, Mr. Michele Crisostomo, waltzed the audience through the importance of educating the generation of the sustainability natives that are already generating discussions evolving around this essential global issue of climate change. He went on to express a dose of solicitude about the lack of knowledge and commitment to realizing and finding the solutions to this matter such as energy transition and its three pillars; decarbonisation of the energy generation through the development of renewables, the distribution of the energy produced through renewable sources through digital grids, electrification of the energy antique uses. Mr. Crisostomo laid the foundation of the event, which built on the idea of energy transition and the triangle of pillars which he considers to be at the base of fighting against the climate change and at the basis of a new revolution. He also recognized the challenge of improving the effectiveness and unlocking the investments for the energy transition governance, as well as decreasing investments in fossil fuels and rapid development of local technologies to incentivize change and unlock job opportunities. Despite the efforts for transitions and commitment to change, Mr. Crisostomo brought our attention to one resource that is an essence, time.

Following Mr. Crisostomo’s speech, Professor Stefano Pogutz introduced Mr. Livio Gigliuto, the Vice President of Instituto Piepoli, who went on to comment on the easy flow of information among new generations thanks to social media, which skyrocket the sense, curiosity and will for a greener future in youngsters more than in millennials. Mr. Gigliuto studies newer Italian generations and their duality, and states that they are confident but also frightened about their future. Overall, however, they have a greater desire to go digital and pay attention to sustainability and the environment.

The third-panel speaker, Chief Economist of Sace Mr. Alessandro Terzulli, explained the everyday political risks that companies are faced with in this new era. He briefly talked about the risks of internationalizing a company and the risk of foreign investments losing their value. Mr. Terzulli went on to highlight the fact that we now have some additional climate change risk indicators, which are computed by risk generating events, that need to be considered in the field of policymaking.

All speakers agreed on the fact that the field of sustainability is new and a topic that ought to be addressed, given companies’ dependence on the climate and their ties to natural resources. Climate change has the potential to disturb every aspect of the world economy and international trade, and this is what makes it a crucial factor in decision making. We know that from a certain perspective time is the key, it’s a key to win the climate emergency challenge, but struggling to harmonize different views, regulations, reforms, policies, to quantify them, inhibits any type of transition towards a more sustainable future.

Every day the demand for energy transition and new competences exponentially grows and we are in a greater need for the outcomes such as the ones of “Giovani e Futuro” research developed by Istituto Piepoli in collaboration with Enel Foundation on the future trends of Millennials and Generation Z tackling such pivotal questions. We need more people addressing issues such as the relationships between sustainability and finance, highlighting the importance of time to win the climate emergency challenge and questioning how we can speed up the technological revolution.

In the times to come, if we wish to continue living at our current pace, policymakers need to act promptly because even though that “we have been studying the issue of sustainability since the end of the 19th ct.”, as Mr. Gianmario Verona stated in his opening commencement, the pace of change in the nature of the climate has never been this rapid. This stage is vital because it is a part of the broader framework of minimizing the gaps pushing for all the activities that are going on in the world but we are raising a generation of benevolent, aware people even in the streets of Milano who are taking action because the future that we are doing all this change for, is their future.

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