Odd couples happen. You've been to your high school reunion and have probably seen evidence of this. Sometimes, the unexpected relationships become the stronger ones because they're based on a mutual need for each other. This happens to be the case for the "odd couples" across sectors that are focusing on climate solutions. The health sector is no exception. We've seen examples of how well health professionals can partner with businesses, faith-based groups, municipalities and higher education. Of course, environmental organizations have overlaps with all of these sectors when it comes to climate change. As Bloomberg reports below, the head of Greenpeace International and the chief of Italy's largest utility went from worst enemies to fast friends. How did this happen? They both recognized the dire need for partnership in order to have success. “We have to acknowledge that the climate clock is ticking and time is of the essence," said Francesco Starace, chief of Enel SpA's coal plants. "Conventional fossil fuels and nuclear power plants are “a trap,” he said. “A trap for companies to die." To avoid the trap, we must work together. Join us to connect to other climate leaders.
One wears an impeccably tailored navy blue suit. The other sports a giraffe-print dashiki shirt.
Meet the renewable-energy odd couple, the environmental activist and his onetime target, the chief of Italy’s largest utility.
A year ago, Kumi Naidoo, the head of Greenpeace International, and Francesco Starace were sworn enemies, after the group said Enel SpA’s coal plants were killing people. Now, they’re drinking orange juice together at the Four Seasons in New York, discussing the urgent need to fight global warming.
“We were not only not talking to each other, we had legal claims against each other," recalled Starace, who took over as Enel’s chief executive officer in May 2014. He’s expected to discuss the company’s shift to renewable energy during a keynote address Monday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit in London.
“We thought that what Enel was doing was critically necessary and that we needed to acknowledge and encourage it,” Naidoo, 50, said during a joint interview with Starace at the Manhattan hotel. “It was a first, and we welcomed their actions."
The dispute dates to 2012, when Greenpeace introduced a publicity campaign to draw attention to Enel’s coal plants, which it said were belching enough pollution to kill 1,000 Europeans each year. Rome-based Enel responded with a lawsuit, demanding Greenpeace take down part of its website and withdraw the assertions.
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