Case StudySolar Stewardship Initiative

Business Challenge

The challenge was to create a solar-specific supply chain assurance scheme that would further develop confidence in how, where, and by whom, solar products are manufactured.

The scheme would help ensure the energy transition is just, inclusive and upholds human rights, while enabling businesses and consumers to trust that their solar products comply with international environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards.

TDi Sustainability is proud to announce the launch of critical work we have carried out to support SolarPower Europe with the creation of the Solar Stewardship Initiative (SSI). 

The SSI is a solar-specific supply chain assurance scheme being designed to further develop confidence in how, where, and by whom, solar products are manufactured. This will mean businesses and consumers can trust that their solar products comply with international environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards.

 TDi Sustainability was tasked with facilitating the design and implementation of the SSI project – from initial research and strategy development, through the creation of standards, code of conduct, pilot study, assurance system, grievance mechanism, and with ongoing support through the independently verified third-party assessor approval process. Our ESG and governance expertise have been harnessed alongside our core capabilities in Strategy, Research, Audit and Communications to create the robust foundation that underpins the finished product – solarstewardshipinitiative.org – executed by the TDi Digital team. 

Work began on SSI in February 2021, in partnership with SolarPower Europe and Solar Energy UK, and the project was officially launched in September 2022. It is now publicly endorsed by over 40 solar companies, spanning the full value chain. All participants share one mission to ensure that the energy transition is just, inclusive and upholds human rights. 

A new roadmap sets out the next steps of the Solar Stewardship Initiative, from the pilot stage in October 2022, through multi-stakeholder consultation, to the full roll-out of the SSI assurance scheme in December 2024. The initial pilot stage will test the consultative SSI Code, which, when final, will be a comprehensive corporate sustainability standard. 

Building on a foundation of international standards and guidelines, the SSI will recognise existing credible and equivalent third-party standards systems in order to avoid redundancy, audit fatigue, and to promote the use of such programmes. SSI supporters have been implementing a range of sustainability standards and frameworks in their own value chains, several of which are already being assessed for recognition by and alignment with the SSI Code.

The SSI’s ambition is to enhance transparency, sustainable development and responsible production in the solar supply chain. Hearing from and incorporating the views and perspectives of stakeholders is key to the success of the Initiative, a collaborative philosophy that is fundamental to our work at TDi Sustainability. 

Our work is powered by the core belief that individual success is intrinsically linked to our society’s success. The collective approach taken by the solar industry through the Solar Stewardship Initiative is an excellent example of the strength and progress that can be achieved when individual organisations join together to ensure the highest possible standards are upheld for the mutual benefit of a whole industry.

Discover the Solar Stewardship Initiative at solarstewardshipinitiative.org now.

If you’d like to learn more about the creation of the SSI, we highly recommend watching the programme’s launch webinar in which our CEO, Assheton Stewart Carter, outlines some of the key elements that need to be taken into consideration when creating successful standards: solarstewardshipinitiative.org/media