Why Odd Couples Coming Together for Climate Solutions May Be Best Bet to Achieving Success

By path2positive

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.

The CEO and the Activist: Meet Renewable Energy's Odd Couple


By Chris Marti and Alex Nussbaum I October 11, 2015

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.

Read more



Stay connected and get updates from Climate for Health.


You May Also Like

July 22, 2021

As health care professionals, we have a unique understanding of how the health of people,  communities, and the planet are interconnected – and the stories...

Read More

July 16, 2021

In the spirit of the National Environmental Health Association’s (NEHA) Annual Educational Conference theme, “Together a Safer and Healthier Tomorrow,” we co-hosted our most recent...

Read More

July 13, 2021

Our attention spans have become more and more fleeting, and in the 18 months of sheltering in place and working from home, time has become...

Read More


Climate for Health is a program of ecoAmerica


© ecoAmerica 2006 – 2021 The contents of this website may be shared and used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 International License.