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Standards Development Process

The SSI follows a concise but collaborative process when considering and implementing new standards in accordance with the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance Standard-Setting Code.

1. Initial Development

SSI expert analysts and advisors work together with the Stakeholder Advisory Group and the SSI Members’ working groups to craft innovative and impactful standards that reflect the latest advancements in solar technology and environmental stewardship.

The SSI Secretariat meticulously researches and analyses industry trends, emerging technologies, and best practices to ensure our standards set the bar for sustainability in the solar sector. The initial SSI ESG Standard was developed by the SSI Sponsors Group and supported by a public consultation period in 2023.

2. Pilot Audits

Once SSI Standards take shape, the Secretariat initiates the piloting phase. This step involves real-world testing of our standards. Through comprehensive audits, we evaluate the practicality and effectiveness of the standards in diverse operational scenarios.

This hands-on approach allows us to refine and optimise SSI Standards based on actual industry conditions, ensuring they are not theoretical ideals but actionable guidelines that positively impact solar companies, products, and projects.

3. Public Multi-Stakeholder Consultation

For the SSI, inclusivity is paramount. The public consultation phase opens the floor to stakeholders, including civil society, academia, industry professionals, environmental advocates, and the public at large.

This transparent and collaborative process invites valuable feedback, suggestions, and insights. We believe in the power of collective wisdom, and your contributions play a crucial role in shaping the final process.

4. Regular Reviews

It is the intention of SSI regularly to review its Standards for continued relevance and effectiveness in meeting its stated objectives.

The development of the SSI ESG Standard

The SSI ESG Standard began its life as the draft SSI Code, and was developed with the support of supply chain and experts across environmental, social, and governance disciplines, and is based on internationally recognised standards and guidelines.

Prior to publication in October 2023, the SSI ESG Standard underwent review, pilot testing, and public multistakeholder consultation. The resulting Standard is intended to act as a one-stop-shop for solar companies to evaluate their ESG compliance, through independent assessors.

Pilot assessments were conducted in Q1-Q3 2023 by TDi Sustainability, at 11 sites in Europe and China. The public multistakeholder consultation ran from 17 May 2023 until 12 July 2023. You can read the anonymised results from the pilot and consultation here.