Changing the World Through Sustainability and Innovation

In This Podcast
Show Notes
Maria Cristina Papetti
E 87

In This Podcast

  • How to bring about change through sustainability and innovation
  • The importance of embedding sustainability into business and creating a new culture
  • How a utility company can better the world we are living in
  • Why we all have a purpose
  • Innovation can make your business more sustainable
  • Open power
  • Why young professionals need to be curious
  • It is important that you live the life you are here to live
  • There is no Planet B

Maria Cristina embodies the passionate purpose that the company she works for, exists to fulfill. Enel, a global Italian utility company believes that ‘sustainability will not develop without continuous innovation and for us innovation is meaningless unless it is oriented towards sustainability.’

Show Notes

Changing the world through innovation and sustainability with Maria Cristina Papetti

If you want to change the world, instead of fighting the system from the outside where it’s easy to rant and rave, try getting inside the system and changing it from the inside out. Yes, it’s more challenging, but according to Maria Cristina Papetti, “it’s great, because when you get results and you see people changing and embracing a new vision and a new perspective, that’s really amazing.”

Maria Cristina is Senior Executive CSV Sustainability Projects and Practice Sharing

 at Enel, the global Italian utility company that provides access to energy to more people around the world, through new technologies and new sources of energy. 

Enel asks: ‘what’s your power?’ Because they believe that every one of us has the potential to fulfil an ambition, a dream. And supplying electricity is just the first step to getting people on their journey. 

Maria Cristina is incredibly passionate about this ambition, for her, her job is so much more than just what she does at work, it is who she is, what she values and what she strives for each and every day – to better the world we are living in. And that isn’t just Enel’s purpose, it is Maria Cristina’s purpose and vision too. 

Of course it helps that Maria Cristina is actively rethinking the way we all innovate, to really disrupt the utility industry, and that Enel as a company are leading this energy transition in the world. Because they understand that we are living in a kind of energy paradox – that there is a growing demand in terms of energy consumption, but because of climate change, we need to find ways to lower emissions. 

“I strongly believe in connecting the dots. I think that nothing happens by chance in your life, we are all here because we can do something, that we have a talent, we have a purpose. I don’t know why this is something that always happens in my life, I always meet people at a certain point, we match and we do something together to improve things. It’s as if the universe opens so that you can meet and you can do something together.”

The Ecosystem Approach

Maria Cristina is a firm advocate of the idea that everything is interconnected, that when we learn, when we work together, when we match with other people, magic happens. And that is what she is working on with Enel, to match them with other global companies that are leading the way to improve the world, to better it for the generations to come. But it isn’t just the big companies that can change the industry: 

“In Italy, we need to again connect the dots, there are a lot of small companies that can really change the socio-economic development of this country. Italy is really made up by a lot of small companies at the local level, that can play a great role for the people.”

And one way to create this great ecosystem is through the idea of Open Power

Open Power

“Open power means to be really frank and transparently open to the world, open to technologies, open to opportunities, open to new ways of managing and generating electricity, open to give access to electricity to more people.”

Maria Cristina believes that open power is something that is sustainable, although she is not hugely keen on using that kind of language. For her, the most important thing is to walk the walk too. 

“The best way to achieve your purpose is it to be open and to listen to the world outside the corporation. Because if you don’t listen, you don’t understand what the needs are. And what’s going on around you.”

And what’s going on around the world is that more than 840 million people don’t have access to electricity on one hand, on another there are people in emerging markets who do have access to electricity, but no means to pay the bill, and then in mature markets, people are rethinking capitalism. How do you meet the needs of such a broad spectrum of consumers? This is the challenge facing the global utility industry – how can you solve the issue of need whilst catching a new business opportunity?

If the talk resonates with you, we’d recommend you listen to this episode too: Harish Hande