“ We want to unite energies and make a difference ”
A year ago the EDF joined the circle of Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games premium partners for a period of five years. For Pierre Viriot, the group’s Internal Communications, Brand and Image Director and Director of the EDF-Paris 2024 project, this partnership was logical, in the light of the event’s social and environmental ambitions.
EDF’s Internal Communications Director
Director of the EDF-Paris 2024 project
Why did the EDF become one of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games’ premium partners?
PV: It was logical to take part in the Paris 2024 adventure. This partnership is in line with our commitments. EDF has been playing a leading role in sport for more than 30 years, either by supporting athletes (through our Team EDF scheme) or through our four partner federations (the French Canoe-Kayak, Swimming, Football and Disability Sport federations). This commitment is highly regarded, since the EDF brand is the third most associated with sport. It is a real asset for the group.
In any case, we fully share the Paris 2024 vision, particularly the determination to make these Olympics a turning point at the environmental level. Their aim is to be carbon neutral for the first time in the history of the Olympics and Paralympics. This fits in perfectly with our raison-d’être, which is “to build a net zero energy future with electricity and innovative solutions, to help save the planet and drive wellbeing and economic development”. In concrete terms, we are targeting three objectives with this partnership:
- To show the EDF’s strengths, its capacity for innovative low-carbon solutions. As the official electricity supplier for the Games, we will be offering innovative solutions to supply all the sites with renewable energy (solar panels, electric recharging points, green hydrogen stations etc.)
- To boost our brand. We are keen to continue to make EDF a legacy brand in its time, by developing the concepts of innovation and attractivity and also by displaying our climate commitment.
- To boost our employees’ commitment, by giving them the chance to experience something unique. Commitment to sport is a key aspect of our group, and we will be relying on the power of the Games to enhance this feeling of belonging.
“Making sure all our actions have an impact on society and the environment”
What impact do you think the Games can and should have on society?
PV: Sport is a lever for social and environmental change. We know that sport can be used as a driver for wellbeing, inclusion, and for mobilising individual and group performance. It gives meaning to the idea of accessibility, because it can reach every sector of society and bring them together. Paris 2024 will be the first truly equal games in history. It is an event that will touch all French people, so we need to use it to remove obstacles and combat prejudice.
This is also true for environmental issues. Sport is not proof against these issues. Many people are already involved, in public bodies and amongst the athletes themselves. This is a major concept for the athletes in Team EDF. The organisation of the Games will be exemplary, but their added value lies in their capacity to bring about changes in behaviour.
How does the EDF fit into this?
PV: EDF has a slogan: “Be the Energy for Change”. We are going to apply this slogan to sport, with the will to combine energies and make a difference. Our aim is to ensure that all our communications have an impact on society and/or the environment.
In January we are launching an application so that everyone who does sport in any form can use trackers in their smartphones to collect energy points, which can be changed into donations to support environmental or social causes. We will be giving concrete help to the actors involved by getting the maximum number of people on board for these great causes, using individual and team challenges, games, competitions and rewards.
“An application to be launched in January 2021”
Are you going to measure the effectiveness of these schemes?
PV: Yes, of course. We can’t get involved in a project aiming at exemplarity unless we are exemplary ourselves. We want to measure the impact of each of our schemes. That is why we decided to work with your Think Tank, to measure knowledge about the app, how often it is re-used, who uses it, and so on, and also the social schemes linked to it. We want to know how this type of tool can contribute to reaching the objectives we set ourselves in raising awareness and changing behaviour. It needs to give an objective basis for our contribution and account for what we are doing. We expect a lot from these schemes.
A lot has been said about a different world following the first lockdown. Has the period we are living through changed the commitment from economic players to the sport sector?
PV: We are at a turning point, and although things are changing, I do not think that all sponsors today are acting with society and the environment in mind. The degree of maturity in these subjects varies a good deal. Moving the lines may be the main strength of Paris 2024. Right from the beginning there has been a very clear view of what the Games can contribute to society, which goes beyond simply doing sport and the performance of the athletes, so it is easier for the partners to get involved in this direction.