This provides an opportunity to address the issues of global relevance alongside the priority areas for the business, identifying common strategies and making available human, technological and financial resources to create shared value.

“Talking about Sustainable Development today means embracing a new vision of the world around us, a holistic approach that pays attention to three dimensions: economic, social and environmental. Every time we address a challenge, such as access to food or energy, we must do so from these three angles. Although it is not easy for current political and economic systems to think and work in this way, a big effort by all the players to build an innovative model for Sustainable Development is today more necessary than ever. And based on these three dimensions it is fundamentally important that the public and private spheres start to plan, co-finance and work together.

The energy sector is ideal for this new approach, which abandons the concept of “business as usual”. Energy is a key factor for every economy and access to energy is a vital driver for growth in developing Countries. Bringing together public policy targeted at improving the capacity for technological innovation and the efficient management of resources by the private sector, it is possible to build a transitional path towards Sustainable Development that caters for energy efficiency through a gradual reduction in the use of coal and oil in favour of natural gas and the progressive use of alternative sources. We are at a crucial moment in this transition.

We are about to enter the era of the Sustainable Development Goals due to be adopted in September 2015, which amend and add to the Millennium Goals adopted in 2000 by the United Nations. These Goals have another fundamental value, which is their ability to inspire people and to give them an idea of the future that everyone should be aiming at and the steps required to realize that future.

In the Post-2015 era public awareness will be essential to keep the attention focused on the Goals and make them a reality”.

Adapted from the lecture by Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs at the Eni Enrico Mattei Foundation, entitled “Feeding the Planet - Energy for Africa”, 6 December 2013.