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A strategy focused on circularity

The transition towards a circular economy is an opportunity for change.

by Eni Staff
19 March 2020
4 min read
byEni Staff
19 March 2020
4 min read

Always seeking solutions

The circular economy model represents the replacement of the linear development model, based on the production and consumption of energy and natural resources, where products become waste at the end of their life cycle. The evolution towards a circular economy model is an opportunity for change which, while safeguarding natural capital, pursues sustainable development towards a low carbon economy and is capable of adapting and responding adequately to an increasingly complex socio-economic-environmental context. Eni's circularity is integrated into the strategies of all its business units. The goal is long-term business sustainability, which can only be achieved through full efficiency from an economic, technical-operational and environmental point of view. Eni research plays a key role with its sustainable and usable products and process innovations on an industrial scale, as can be seen from its patents. 

The pillars of the circularity strategy for Eni are: 

  • sustainable raw materials: i.e. to work less with virgin inputs and move towards the use of materials of biological origin or those coming from production process waste; 
  • reuse, recycling and recovery: through processes which recover raw material from waste products and the reuse of water and land, as well as the recovery of waste; 
  • extending useful life: giving assets new life from a sustainable perspective. 

This area includes, for example, initiatives to convert refineries into bio-refineries, which reintroduce locations and skilled workers into production processes, which would otherwise be lost from the market. 

It is essential that our response is oriented towards a new paradigm of development that makes us move from linear to circular growth [in order] to reduce waste, transform waste and give new life to what already exists.

by Claudio Descalzi

Circularity begins Downstream

With its Downstream platform, Eni is in optimum position to take advantage of the circular model thanks to its own existing conversion plants, consolidated skills in the industrial sector, technologies, innovative research and the geographical distribution of its assets. For Eni, a transformative attitude and the circularity platform are the basis for reinforcing a change already founded on long-term relationships with local stakeholders, with attention to countries' unique aspects, and on listening to and including stakeholders in the promotion of new development models. Eni's transformation began with the refining sector, with the first conversion in the world of a traditional refinery into a bio-refinery in Venice, through the use of its own technologies, followed by the transformation and start-up in August 2019 of a second traditional refinery into a bio-refinery in Gela. The latter followed the pattern of the first example, improving on its sustainability performance, making it the most innovative plant for the production of biofuels in Europe, which will be able to use feedstock of up to 100% of second-generation raw materials. Further actions have been developed in the sector for converting waste into new energy products, with Eni technologies such as Waste-to-Fuel. In the chemicals sector, Eni has created new processes and products which, through the recycling of polymers, use waste plastic materials transforming them into secondary raw materials and which, through the diversification of feedstock and eco-design, maximise resource efficiency in all life cycle stages. 

In this perspective, the development of synergies with countries where the company operates is increasingly of central importance, in order to minimise and optimise the use of products, materials, water and energy to promptly identify the opportunities and needs for technological innovation and new cultural models, which are crucial for ensuring lasting and sustainable development. 

This includes the Protocols and cooperation agreements for the development of the circular economy in Italy with various companies for the collection of used cooking oils and the supply of HVO biofuel, such as those agreed over the last two years in Rome with AMA, with Veritas in Venice, with Hera in Modena and with AMAT in Taranto. In 2019, Eni signed over 20 circular economy and sustainable mobility protocols with leading players in the Italian and international socio-economic fabric.