UNESCO Sites and responsibilities: the case of ENI

We often wonder about the practical effects of UNESCO status. There was a very lively debate about this in the Dolomites on the eve of our recognition, and before the positive effects emerged in terms of a greater range of visitors, coordination in management policies and conservation activities, and a growth in heritage awareness among the local people. However, learning how to best exploit our international status as a Natural Heritage Site is still a lengthy process, and involves everyone assuming a certain amount of responsibility, including those companies that operate in the area.

ENI, a model to learn from

For this reason, we would like to draw attention to the case of Eni, which seems to exemplify the growth in awareness that should follow on from UNESCO recognition. On October 24th, the Group made a formal commitment not to carry out exploration and development activities in any of the Natural Sites on the World Heritage List.

In its press release, Eni stated that this decision is consistent with its new corporate mission, “inspired by United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.” In the words of managing director, Claudio Descalzi: “This commitment reflects our ambition to help find solutions to the challenges the world is facing and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

In the same announcement, Eni also referred to its commitment to conserving Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES): According to the Group: “Eni operates in a variety of environmental contexts around the world, with different ecological issues and different regulatory systems, and we apply our BES management model when approaching the issue of biodiversity. This model has been developed over time, partly thanks our long-term collaboration with various international organisations that play a leading role in biodiversity conservation.”

Food for thought

Perhaps one should not draw too many parallels between the global strategies of a large multinational company and the economic management of a complex but contained area such as the Dolomites. However, they can cause us to reflect on the question of how to translate our recognition in terms of responsibility: a recognition that is not a brand but a shared commitment for the future, to protect the uniqueness and integrity of a World Heritage Site.

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