” The solar power industry has a duty to mitigate and manage its complete series of ecological and social effects, which consist of respecting the human rights of workers, making sure that the rights of neighborhoods and other stakeholders are appreciated, and making company operations safe and environmentally accountable.”.
SEIA Solar Supply Chain Protocol.
ESG is having its day in the sun. Is your solar company as sustainable as it needs to be?
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing is having a watershed year, and for the solar industry, this momentum is fantastic news. However solar companies may need to up the ante by themselves sustainability efforts.
( This post is part one of a two-part series on sustainability for solar business.).
As more organizations face the day-to-day truths of climate influence on their operations, supply chains, and eventually, their bottom lines, ESG investing is at an all-time high. Covid-19 seems to be contributing to this trend. According to a current survey by CoreData, 60% of fund selectors worldwide have become more focused on ESG since the start of the pandemic.
At the same time, states, companies and cities are making net no promises as never before. More than 700 cities in 53 nations worldwide have actually devoted to cut in half emissions by 2030 and reach net absolutely no carbon emissions by 2050.
Picture Credit: Woody Welch.
Fulfilling environment commitments will include a quantum energy shift unlike any weve seen in our life times.
Achieving net absolutely no targets is much harder than setting them, and doing so in a method that considers every social and environmental ramification is even more challenging, as recent claims of required labor in the Chinese solar supply chain confirm.
The solar sustainability conundrum.
Solar and sustainability would appear to go together, but thats not always the case. For several years, solar companies– from international manufacturers to local installation companies– have actually put ESG on the back burner, in part due to the fact that the very product theyre offering is viewed as inherently sustainable. The brand-new focus on sustainable supply chains suggests thats merely not enough.
” It is a truly big offer when, for an energy technology that is supposed to be clean, there are headlines about filthy procedures, waste or bad labor relationships,” states Dustin Mulvaney, a professor at San José State University and author of a number of books on solar and sustainability, in a recent PV Magazine post. “Headlines like this might actually dissuade individuals to adopt and support solar– and solar depends to some level on public assistance.”.
Numerous solar companies, nevertheless, are taking leading functions in sustainability and ESG. SunPower was among the very first panel producers to focus on ESG. SunPower Maxeon DC panels were the markets first to become Cradle-to-Cradle Certified, an independent certification that ratings an items social and environmental performance across 5 important sustainability classifications: product health, material reuse, renewable resource and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.
Maxeon Solar, the SunPower spinoff now accountable for its making websites outside the U.S., is suffering forward with restored focus on all areas of ESG. Both companies are signatories to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and both recently published their 2020 sustainability reports (see SunPowers here and Maxeons here).
Aligning Your Solar Business With Your Customers ESG Strategies.
Organizations with robust ESG methods make perfect customers for solar companies. Theres no need to encourage them of the advantages of solar from a financial, environmental and social viewpoint. Theyre currently focused on the best objectives.
Many solar companies have a hard time to put the same focus on sustainability that brings industrial clients to them in the very first place.
Image Credit: Woody Welch.
Over the past 3 years alone, the U.S. solar market has doubled, in spite of the pandemic. Solar had a record-setting Q1 2021, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, with every sector– residential, utility-scale and business– growing considerably year over year.
With that sort of development, solar business ought to expect to reserve a part of their spending plans to construct, determine and assess sustainability programs. Making sure your solar business has an ESG method in place will avoid any sustainability concerns as your consumers implement supply chain requirements.
Go Into the Solar Supply Chain Traceability Protocol.
The Solar Energy Industries Alliance (SEIA) just recently introduced the Solar Supply Chain Protocol to help solar business make sure the sustainability of its products. While not extensive, the protocol offers solar companies something that was sorely doing not have until now: a roadmap for both determining the source of a products material inputs and tracing its movements throughout the supply chain.
Solar and sustainability would seem to go hand in hand, however thats not always the case. For years, solar business– from international producers to regional setup companies– have put ESG on the back burner, in part because the very product theyre offering is seen as naturally sustainable. Many solar companies, nevertheless, are taking leading roles in sustainability and ESG. Organizations with robust ESG methods make perfect customers for solar business. Theres no requirement to persuade them of the benefits of solar from a financial, social and ecological viewpoint.
ESG for Solar Companies: Where to Start.
A sound ESG technique includes more than just ensuring a sustainable supply chain– although this is a significant effort. It involves every aspect of a business– from environmental practices to neighborhood involvement to employing practices and social equity efforts.
Developing an ESG strategy starts with engaging stakeholders, including workers, consumers, partners, financiers and providers. Doing so enables the material issues a business requires to concentrate on from a sustainability point of view to “bubble up” who have a real stake in the business.
Required assist with your ESG technique or a sustainability communications strategy? Get in touch. CPMG offers tactical sustainability consulting services in addition to B Corp Certification help.
In our next post, well walk through the process of establishing an ESG strategy. Stay tuned!