By Megan Beauregard
Megan is Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of Enel North America, Inc., responsible for all of Enel’s legal interests in the United States and Canada, and Head of Policy and Regulatory Affairs for all of Enel’s US and Canadian holdings. She advises the company on a wide range of legal and business issues, including contract negotiation, mergers and acquisitions, financings, and dispute resolution. She is also responsible for all aspects of corporate governance.
Climate Week ignites a powerful energy that I find both insightful and inspiring, and Climate Week NYC 2023 was no different. This year’s “We Can. We Will.” theme was a reminder that we hold the keys to making impactful sustainability progress. And it got me thinking around the need for leadership to spearhead the charge forward.
At our very core, Enel is committed to sustainability and fighting climate change. This is built into our DNA and resonates across the company so that we are one team working toward a single mission. This is only possible, however, through our leadership who supports, promotes, and drives that mentality.
It’s our own personal why that will drive us through the good and bad days. For myself, and many others, we do not commit to building a better tomorrow simply because of stakeholder or financial pressure – we are in these roles and show up every day because the work is meaningful, and we want to leave a legacy of good.
We must integrate sustainability into every facet of our strategies
Sustainability must be at the core of any business strategy. At Enel, we have a longstanding path in sustainable business. While we are proud of the work that we have done to this point, we know that there is still more to be accomplished.
In respect to my personal experience in my Chief Legal Officer role, cross-functioned collaboration between legal and sustainability teams is indeed vital for achieving sustainability goals and meeting the evolving stakeholder expectations. We are well beyond mere compliance – it is about creating a sustainable future in line with stakeholder and investors’ expectations.
In many organizations, the integration of sustainability strategies across functions and teams is essential for achieving sustainable development goals, but it can be complex. At Enel North America, we are simplifying this complexity. Our integrated approach accelerates our customers’ net zero plans by capitalizing on value stacking both front-of-the-meter and behind-the-meter solutions. This approach is not only aimed at promoting clean electrification but also at creating safe, accessible, and sustainable energy systems.
We need to accept the disruption of balance
As we announce and execute plans that we’ve honed to drive the energy transition forward, we must acknowledge that things will change. It is not a matter of if, but when we will need to refocus and adapt. The last few years are testament of this.
It is undeniable, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have significantly tested our resilience and adaptability. It’s further highlighted our need for global cooperation and diplomacy. All the while, the climate crisis lingers in the background of these new challenges and, as it worsens, is causing potentially irreversible damage to our planet’s ecosystem. For example, CO2 emissions rose by 6% in 2021 and by 15% in 2022.
Beyond the paramount and devastating impacts to the health and happiness of all of us, both crises have demonstrated the need to speed up our effort to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development laid out by the United Nations. To do so, we must work together.
We cannot work in a silo
It’s hard to appropriately put into words the impact that the UN Global Compact (UNGC) has on solving some of the world’s biggest problems. Among participating leaders there is a collective effort and trust to forward as a unified front. We know we’ve come far, but there is more we must tackle.
We as companies and leaders have an obligation to work hand in hand with our stakeholders, both internally and externally. I have no doubt that if we do not invest in multi-stakeholder partnerships, we will not be able to reach the 2030 Agenda objectives. Working with organizations outside your own allows you to share best practices, learn from each other, and ensure everyone is working toward the same end game. It is critical to ensure we are sharing best practices and helping one another.
Enel has been an active, vocal player in the UN Global Compact. They provide a global community to ensure we are all working together to help reach critical climate milestones. I was humbled and awed to offer my perspective on “Leading Amist Global Crises” among distinguished global executives, and represent Enel in this important conversation, at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit with Climate Week as a backdrop.
Let’s be clear, we must work together because if only a few of us reach net zero while others do not, we will still lose.
Climate Week NYC reinforced that now is the time for us all to take action on addressing climate change and accelerating the clean energy transition.
Want to evaluate your organization’s progress? Check out Enel’s recently published decarbonization navigator toolkit. I hope you find it useful as you chart your next steps forward.
We can. We will.