Helping companies achieve their sustainable energy objectives

Internal and external engagement

The success of any strategy often boils down to how engaged people are in achieving its targets. This includes people from within and outside the company, including your suppliers, customers and other stakeholders from across your value chain.

What you should be aiming for:

  • An engagement plan that involves people or groups who have a high degree of influence or impact in the integrated energy strategy development and implementation;
  • Driving energy sustainability through your value chain by prioritizing suppliers and customers.

Learn from EDP about engaging key stakeholders to build an integrated energy strategy

Build an engagement plan by mapping the influence and impact of stakeholders

Empowering and motivating people to contribute to the targets of the integrated energy strategy might be challenging, but is often the most cost-effective way of achieving it. Engaged stakeholders that understand how they can personally contribute to the strategy will see it as a priority and help to accelerate progress by identifying and pursuing new opportunities.

An effective stakeholder engagement program will:

  • Create ambition and commitment by communicating with the right people in the right way;
  • Make your integrated energy strategy a priority, give it urgency and keep it on the agenda through regular communication;
  • Encourage behavior change by providing people with new knowledge, capabilities and motivation.

Stakeholder mapping is a vital tool to identify the key people to building and implementing your strategy. Identify internal and external stakeholder groups and evaluate the extent to which they can:

  • Directly impact energy use and/or GHG emissions;
  • Influence other people and indirectly impact energy use or GHG emissions.

Spend more time working with stakeholders who have a high degree of influence or impact. These individuals could come from within your company, from across your value chain or from other external stakeholder groups like investors, industry bodies or policymakers. Internally, one of the key stakeholders will be your sales teams, who receive requests from customers to demonstrate their energy and climate credentials and improvement plans.

To create your engagement strategy, answer the following questions for each of the stakeholder groups you’ve identified and evaluated:

  • What do they know now, and what do they need to know to contribute to your strategy?
  • What do they do now, and what do they need to do to contribute to your strategy?
  • What information do they need to fulfill their role, and what’s the best way of engaging with them?

Drive energy sustainability through your value chain by prioritizing suppliers and customers

An integrated energy strategy looks beyond a company’s own operations and defines how the company will work with upstream and downstream stakeholders to improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions. You should determine who to engage with by evaluating your most significant suppliers (and/or procurement categories), and customers (and/or markets) against your strategic vision and targets.

Start assessing your supply chain by using information on how much your company spends annually in each procurement category and with each supplier.

Similarly, request revenue data that’s broken down by sector and customer. Then prioritize your most significant suppliers and customers by evaluating:

  • The magnitude of the risk of this supplier or customer preventing your strategic vision and targets from being achieved;
  • The magnitude of the opportunity of this supplier or customer contributing to the achievement of your strategic vision and targets;
  • Scope for improvement;
  • The leverage you have over that supplier or customer.

When analyzing your supply chain and your customer base, it’s important to understand your company’s position in that market and the leverage it has. If your company has a high degree of influence in a certain market and a high degree of ambition, there’s a real opportunity to create change. Conversely, demanding ambitious sustainability requirements from suppliers when your company has little leverage over the market can lead to significant price increases.

  • Undertake stakeholder mapping based on an individual’s or group’s impact on GHG emissions and ability to influence others. Target stakeholders with the greatest impact.
  • Define what each stakeholder group needs to know and do and what their needs are. Use this understanding to develop relevant communication and engagement initiatives.
  • Identify and prioritize customers and suppliers to engage with based on the impact they can have on achieving your strategic vision and targets.
  • Run pilot engagement initiatives that are quick to deliver results – this will help to build confidence and support for what you’re trying to achieve.
  • Regular communication is key, otherwise it can feel like progress has stalled or priorities have changed.

  • Do stakeholders agree with the strategy’s vision and understand the practical steps that they can take to contribute?
  • Is your strategy being communicated in the appropriate way to different audiences?
  • Do you regularly inform stakeholders of past successes and planned projects?

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