By: Anna ILLARIONOVA | Sustainability Projects & Practice Sharing at Enel | May 2nd, 2017

Enel Russia (Enel Group’s company in the Russia) is one of the leading Russian wholesale producers of power and heat with headquarters in Moscow and has four production branches: thermal power plants in the Urals, South and Center of Russia with total installed power capacity of 9.5 GW. Conventional power plants in the country have a long history of community relations mostly based on donations or philanthropic initiatives. However, Enel Russia began to work on the traditional social responsibility approach trying to shift it into a self-sustained CSV model.

Through a materiality assessment, sustainability colleagues in Enel Russia were able to identify the most relevant activities that addressed both local needs and business objectives supported by a more in depth selection of face-to-face meetings as well as on-line surveys (more than 1,000 people participated in the survey and more than 50 local organizations). This helped identify initiatives to be developed with local social centers (that deal with home violence, work with children coming from families in difficult situations and people with disability, etc.) aimed at producing very interesting and sophisticated goods and original pieces of art that can be exposed to a wider public. These goods are sold at a price that cover the material costs, make profit for the center as well as cover the companies’ demand in exclusive corporate gifts and greeting cards for stakeholders at a moderate price. This is how Enel Russia began a mutually beneficial cooperation with local centers in the plant of Konakovo, in Tver region (“Novaya Korcheva” and “Konakovo Society of People with Disabilities”), the plants of Ekaterinburg and Asbest, in Sverdlovsk region (“Aistenok”; “Asbest polytechnic college”) and finally the power plant of Nevinnomyssk, in Stavropol region (“Youth School of Art”).

These local social centers have also been invited to Enel Russia’s events like “Open Plants” held in the summer and the New Year Fairs during winter. These are part of the traditionally stakeholder engaging events that put together local community and authorities, employees and their families, representatives of shareholders and media. The event represents an opportunity where stakeholders can know more about company’s activities, buy exclusive hand-made presents at a good price and participate in master classes on beading, painting on wood, ceramics, embroidery, etc. All the money collected from the sale of hand-made works are used for the development of the social centers mentioned above. This avoids donations to local centers that do not have a direct impact on the company’s business, instead this kind of initiative makes the company benefit from organizing the entertainment activities at a low cost. At the same time it helps the local community attract other partners and scale well their social entrepreneurship model.

Starting from last year Enel Russia has been also actively involved in the projects dedicated to the reuse and recycling of materials. The company found an inspiring partner (young social entrepreneur) – the NGO “Charity Shop” – that helps engage the company’s employees in a program focused on the reasonable use of resources. The NGO collects unnecessary children, women, men clothes, accessories and shoes in good condition, sorting them in a special manner to distribute them to local families in need located in the regions where the company operates. They also promote the improvement of the conditions of pet shelters and recycling the materials that are in poor condition. Some of the items are sold in the “Charity Shop” magazines to sustain the social company activities where people with disabilities and that are others with difficult life situations work. Thanks to the partners of this project (large companies of home furniture and appliances, big department stores, etc.) Enel Russia managed to address local community needs by creating job opportunities for people living in difficult situations and reinforce the collaboration with local centers that also provide additional services for the company upon request (master-classes, decoration of the power plant territory, etc.). This was achieved with zero costs for the company.

This collaboration is fully in line with the Group’s commitment to the UN SDGs among which there is a particular focus on promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all (Goal 8). For sure the journey from social responsibility to shared value is a complicated one, it requires both the company and the local stakeholders to see a competitive advantage where previously only a social burden and obligation was seen. However, if both parties manage to overcome this phase, with synergy to create win-win solutions, it completely changes the relations between them rendering them equal partners that receive benefits by being good.

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Savings in communication and donation budgets, fostering a culture of lean consumption, fund raising for the community without many internal costs. Promote the development of corporate volunteering among employees, developing art skills for them and their families. Work on the engagement with important stakeholders in line with the implementation of the Group’s UN SDGs commitments.


Developing social entrepreneurship skills, self-sustained business models and additional jobs. Attract new partners and clients through zero-cost advertising, fund raising, assistance to people in need/with disability, creating networking opportunities.

Slides of the projects on social entrepreneurship.pdf