BlueWave: Giving Staff at Every Level the Opportunity to Lead on JEDI
BlueWave is a renewable energy developer that has long prided itself on a culture that encourages staff to stand up for what they are passionate about. All team members are welcome to contribute to BlueWave’s Social Impact Committee (SIC). The SIC originally focused on charitable giving, volunteer service work, and sustainability. In 2020, after George Floyd’s murder, BlueWave recognized that it needed to engage much more purposefully on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI). Their efforts expanded the existing SIC to include JEDI initiatives led by team members. The committee additionally took on the task of developing an anti-racist action plan, which can be found here: https://bluewave.energy/bw-resources/bluewaves-anti-racist-action-plan
Any member of the BlueWave team can join the committee and everyone has access to the committee’s channel on Microsoft Teams. There are 30 active members at any given time and an average of six sub-committees. The sub-committees’ activities shift based on current events, staff bandwidth, and project needs. There is strong executive support for the committee and the executive team gives the subcommittees free range to broach various causes. BlueWave manages its open committee by keeping the work visible. The committee’s Microsoft Teams channel is always accessible to the entire company, giving insight into the types of projects the team is focused on, and allowing team members who are passionate about a topic to jump in and contribute.
One result from BlueWave’s focus on JEDI practices is taking an intentional approach to working with Native American tribes on their development projects. BlueWave works to do so by building practices directly into team goals. The 2022 Development Team’s goals include native land acknowledgements and conducting outreach to collaborate as partners with Native tribal councils to make sure they are engaged and able to provide input into their projects. BlueWave’s aim is that no harm will be done to the tribes and that they can materially benefit from the projects.
BlueWave acknowledges that climate justice and social justice need to be seen as intersectional to fight climate change. To do so successfully requires day to day work, but the energy and bandwidth employees have to accomplish this ebbs and flows. BlueWave has had success with its Social Impact Committee by having a point person for the SIC at large, and Co-Captains for each of the sub-committees. These leads ensure initiatives continue to move forward and progress is consistently made. In addition to internal leads, BlueWave has contracted with the YW, a JEDI consultant, to work with their executive team and broader company to ensure BlueWave is utilizing best practices and has an accountability mechanism. The goal of bringing in expertise is to successfully create intrinsic change at the organizational level that can expand into the industry.