Green Investment with the SENS ESG Standard
SENS assesses PV projects according to ESG criteria as proof of sustainability for the promotion of green investments
Photovoltaic projects have a sustainability aspect per se. But what about the processes, working conditions and supply chains behind the development and construction of the plants? Whether these are sustainable can be proven by an ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) assessment. In doing so, SENS refers to the Supply Chain Sourcing Obligations Act and the EU taxonomy, among other things. By proving the criteria with the SENS ESG standard, classification as a green investment is possible. Nothing prevents the promotion of such sustainable projects.
Environmental, Social & Governance
The three letters ESG stand for a variety of aspects that relate to the three areas of environment, social affairs and governance. These cover the sustainability of the value chain and corporate activities.
But how can this sustainability be proven? Legislation has created various regulations for this purpose, which deal with the examination of environmental, social and corporate sustainability aspects on the basis of a wide range of criteria. In addition to the EU taxonomy, which offers a uniform understanding of sustainability, the Supply Chain Sourcing Obligations Act (in German: Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz) and the DNSH principle (Do no significant Harm) also play a decisive role in the assessment.
Since 2023, companies with a size of 3,000 or more, and those with more than 1,000 employees, have been required to prepare an ESG certificate from 2024. With 350 employees, SENS is a step ahead of the legislator's requirements and from now on will audit solar projects according to its own ESG standard. The reason for developing its own standard is the lack of a generally applicable standard for this area.
The people responsible at SENS, Steffen Kalinna and Christian Franz, talk about the development and the result of the SENS ESG standard.
The SENS ESG standard
"With our ESG standard, we want to ensure that our corporate philosophy is also reflected in our projects," says Christian Franz, Global Director Operation & Maintenance, describing the intention of the project. This is because ESG-certified solar projects both promote CO2 savings and fulfil social aspects along the value chain. "We make sure that we don't just think about sustainability from the point of electricity generation, but start well before that and check our suppliers and process steps for their ESG conformity, including sustainability," Franz explains further.
Steffen Kalinna, Quality Management Officer and Sustainability Coordinator at SENS, explains what makes the SENS ESG standard so special: "In addition to checking individual criteria, we also discuss with our suppliers and partners how we can continuously improve their sustainability and corporate actions. We therefore want to optimise the standard cooperatively and continuously.”
Sustainable future with green investments
An assessment according to this standard in turn enables the classification of an investment as a so-called "green investment", which is financially supported and simplifies obtaining credit for investors.
"This makes it easier for investors to decide whether an investment in solar projects is sustainable all round. Thanks to an external expert, we can now even prove this to be the case," Franz makes clear.
Long-term compliance with the criteria is also ensured by regular updates: "The ESG standard is renewed in an annual rhythm based on updated assessment criteria", Kalinna points out.
SENS ESG label
Pilot project in full swing
The first project has already been successfully tested according to the criteria of the SENS ESG standard and a certificate proving compliance with the SENS ESG standard is available.
Inspection of a solar park built by SENS in Germany according to the criteria of the SENS ESG standard