By Sandi Briner, VP, Corporate Communications
At EDF Renewables, open, transparent communication is how we do business. We’re committed to having honest conversations with our stakeholders: employees, customers, suppliers, industry peers and particularly communities where we develop and operate our projects. Sharing what we are doing and why it matters is vital to the long-term sustainability of our company.
Traditionally, the field of marketing and communications focused on product, price, and promotion, and once a marketing plan was put into place it lasted some time before needing to be reinvented. Today, customers evaluate more than just product and price and the constant need to have accurate information readily available on the internet means we must be vigilant.
As such, although brand reputation has always been important, it is now critical.
Our stakeholders have ample opportunity to talk about EDF Renewables and the clean energy industry. Managing our corporate identity requires taking part in these conversations and having the capability to positively influence messaging and debunk misinformation.
I’m fortunate to be surrounded by brilliant people at EDF Renewables who are experienced at solving complex problems. The Communications team must be able to explain these complexities and nuances in ways that are interesting and accessible to our stakeholders. Our mission is to simplify, showcase and share to engage with our audiences; invoke interest and provide an opportunity to be heard.
The diversity of our audiences, which range from market participants to the general public, can make this challenging. These audiences have different needs and varied interests, and our challenge is to maintain a “through line” that weaves together the continually evolving messages and stories.
As EDF Renewables has grown, we’ve increased our product offerings and our audiences have changed. From an initial focus on providing operations and maintenance services to third-party wind project owners in the late 1980s, we have expanded to developing our own grid-scale wind, solar and storage facilities for utility offtakers. In recent years, we’ve added distribution-scale solar and storage for our in-front-of-the-meter customers, some with environmentally sensitive sites such as landfills and brownfields. Our latest offering is tailored onsite solutions that incorporate behind-the-meter solar, storage, EV charging and microgrids to meet the unique needs of our commercial and industrial customers.
One area of increasing importance to our stakeholders is Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. Many of our customers have ESG or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments. Heightened external scrutiny means that our offtakers and partners want to ensure that they are teaming up with a reliable entity. As part of our customers’ supply chains, we have a responsibility to ensure that the products and services we provide are grounded in sustainable business practices, which includes navigating social, political, and international issues.
Given the diversity of our stakeholders, we use a wide range of channels to reach them. In addition to strong internal communications, we reach external audiences with digital resources like our website, social media, podcasts and email. We promote our expertise through blogs and employee profiles, and our team members regularly present at conferences and webinars. Our project development teams are proactive about community outreach and frequently attend local meetings as well as host open houses to share information about our projects with the community.
Working for EDF Renewables is extremely fulfilling. The work we do supports an important mission and serves a greater purpose. I believe that transparent, accurate communication is critical to the long-term success of our company. Talking about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it is essential if we are to influence the public dialogue about clean energy, climate change, and sustainability. I’m proud to work in the renewable energy industry with so many talented individuals and contributing to a brighter future for all.