Efficient Solution Label

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An assessment tool for clean and profitable Solutions

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The Label

Protect the environment in a profitable way

One of the first labels for positive impact businesses bringing together protection of nature and financial viability through a strict assessment process made by a pool of independent experts. In collaboration with renowned institutions, solutions applying to the label must go through a neutral and certified methodology.

Why?

The Solar Impulse Efficient Solution label is designed to shed light on existing solutions that are both clean and profitable and have a positive impact on quality of life.

How?

A decision as to the attribution of the label will be made by the Solar Impulse Foundation following a rigorous assessment based on a verified methodology and against several criteria performed by external independent experts.

Each time I speak of protecting the environment to heads of state or government officials, they tell me that it is too expensive. This label is a strong message to them: solutions exist and represent the biggest market opportunity of our century. An opportunity which cannot be missed.

Bertrand Piccard.
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Note:
Please note that only the Standards here are considered as valid information for the Label.

Section 02

The eligibility scope of the label

To be considered for the Solar Impulse Label’s assessment, a solution must meet the following eligibility conditions:

  • A. Membership The company need to be a member of the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions;
  • B. Type of Innovation The solution is a physical product, a technology, an industrial process, or a service;
  • C. Commercialization The solution is already commercialized or aimed for commercialization;
  • D. Maturity Stage The solution has reached the technical maturity of a prototype at scale 1:1 in a test environment – corresponding to TRL 7-8.
  • E. SDG’s of Application The solution contributes to the achievement of at least one of the following five Sustainable Development Goals:
    SDG 6
    Clean Water and
    Sanitation
    SDG 6 icon
    SDG 7
    Affordable and
    Clean Energy
    SDG 7 icon
    SDG 9
    Industry, Innovation
    and Infrastructure
    SDG 9 icon
    SDG 11
    Sustainable Cities
    and Communities
    SDG 11 icon
    SDG 12
    Responsible Consumption
    and production
    SDG 12 icon

Section 03

The selection criteria of the label

All solutions that fit the eligibility conditions will be sent to experts to be evaluated under 5 criteria covering three main topics of Feasibility, Environmental and Profitability.

  • A. Feasibility The solution is already commercialized on the market or is based on a resilient technology or concept and is deemed to have the potential to be deployed and scaled-up in the real world vs. in a laboratory environment;
    • Criterion 1 – Credibility of design
    • Criterion 2 – Scalability
  • B. Environment The solution has a direct positive impact on the environment compared to a reference, without any significant negative impact transferred over its entire lifecycle.
    • Criterion 3 – Environmental Benefits
  • C. Profitability The solution provides economic incentives for its clients to buy it and has potential to be sold profitably at a price for which there is a demand in the market - regardless of competitors, novelty, marketing and human resources aspects.
    • Criterion 4 – Client’s economic incentive
      • Case 1) The solution has the same or lower purchasing price than a reference case;
      • Case 2) The solution created a return on investment over the lifetime of the solution despite a higher purchasing price;
      • Case 3) the solution creates an economic incentive (value for money) for the client which is not directly related to savings;
      • Case 4) the solutions can become cheaper than the reference after a change in regulation that is reasonably foreseeable in the next five years in the targeted region(s) and sector(s) of implementation.
    • Criterion 5 – Seller’s profitability

Section 04

The selection process of the label

  • 1. Submission and pre-screening of the application
  • The only requirements for an application to be sent to experts for assessment are the following:
    • a. The company whose solution has been submitted has to be registered as a member of the World Alliance;
    • b. The member must have created a solution on its online account, read and agreed to the Submission Rules and Conditions text and signed an agreement;
    • c. A list of relevant information must have been uploaded or filled in on the Solar Impulse platform and linked to the applying member’s account in the format of the Solutions submission form;
    • d. The Efficient Solutions label team must have reviewed and deliberated about:
      • i. The eligibility of the solution;
      • ii. The relevance and completeness of the information provided.
  • 2. Assignment to experts
  • An expert is assigned to a solution based on both her/his online profile completed at registration and the areas of application (SDGs, sectors and tags) selected by the Member when submitting the solution online, with the following principle applied:
    • a. The expert must have 5 years of academic or professional experience in one of the SDGs of application of the solution and 3 years in one of the relevant sector(s).
    • b. Amongst several experts matching conditions (i), the experts assigned will be the one who is available currently, matches the expertise at tag level eventually and shows the most specialized profile related to the solution.
    • c. Experts who come from … the solution.
    • d. Experts coming from organizations that were identified as competitors by the Member and thus “blacklisted” online when submitting cannot be assigned the solution.
  • 3. Experts assessment
    • a. Assessments are performed online via the Solution Assessment Form (SAF). Each SAF needs to be completed and sent back to the World Alliance within two weeks after the expert was officially assigned the solution;
    • b. For each of the 5 criteria, experts answer a YES/NO question that target specific aspects to be analysed, they are then asked to justify their answer. A minimum of characters is expected for each justification field to ensure enough in-depth explanation of the YES/NO decision. Detailed questions asked and instructions can be found in the Assessment Guidelines for Experts;
    • c. Each assessment made by an expert is then evaluated and characterized as usable or unusable by both the Efficient Solution Label and the Experts team members.
  • 4. Deliberation
  • Once usable assessments from 2 (or 3) Experts (depending on the need to reach a consensus for some of the criteria) are collected by the Solar Impulse Foundation on each of the five criteria, the Solar Impulse team can apply the following deliberation rules.
    • a. Labelled directly
      • i. If the solution received a minimum of two “YES” answers from 2 different Experts on all the five criteria.
      • ii. If the YES is given at criterion 4 of the SAF (see page 8 and 9) on client’s economic benefits are justified by case 1 a or case 2 by both Experts involved in the evaluation, it is officially labelled.
    • b. Presented to SIF Chairman to confirm rejection
      • i. If the solution received two “NO” answers from 2 different Experts on the same criteria: 1. Credibility of design, 2. Scalability, 3. Environmental benefits, 4. Client’s economic incentive and 5. Seller’s profitability, it is proposed to be rejected and presented by the Efficient Solutions Label team to the Solar Impulse Foundation Chairman directly. This step is used as a final verification that the procedure was well-followed by the different teams and stakeholders involved before rejecting officially the solution.
    • c. Presented to the Internal Deliberation Committee for vote
      • i. If the Solution received two “YES” answers from 2 different Experts on the criterion 4 of the SAF on client’s economic benefits that are justified by Case 3) or Case 4) by at least one of the Experts involved in the evaluation.
      • ii. Received a majority of “YES” to the criteria, 1, 2, 3, and 5;
    • It will be presented in front of the Internal Deliberation Committee who will debate on whether the solution has an indirect positive economic impact for society or not and whether it should be given the label.

Section 05

Date and duration of the label

The label has no expiration date, but rather is linked to the month and year of its attribution. For example, if a label is attributed on 24 June 2019, it is labelled June 2019.

With that in mind, it is to note that labelled should always be viewed through the lens of the version of the standards for its month of attribution. For example, a solution labelled on 24 June 2019 will remain labelled by the April 2019 version of the standards even if it was submitted and prescreened in October 2018.

There is no plan to automatically review solutions that have already been labelled a Solar

Impulse Efficient Solution. It is the member’s voluntary responsibility and decision to resubmit, or not, their solution at any given point. Finally, if the solution provider loses its member quality within the World Alliance, it’s label will also be withdrawn, with immediate effect.

Section 06

External audit of the labelling process

While building an entire labelling process was a challenge, with a number of internal documentation materials (expert recommendations, flowchart, etc.) and computer tools (project submission platform, follow-up file of assessments, etc.), the real work is actually to implement it. Indeed, the relevance of the Solar Impulse Label depends directly on our capacity to complete the process in accordance with our Standards for every single solution application we receive.

This is why we asked EY, one of the world’s largest consulting firms, to audit and review our process. After assessing the appropriateness of the Standards regarding its relevance, its exhaustiveness, its reliability, its objectivity and its clarity, and reviewing the various tools deployed for the implementation of the Labelling Process, they tested a sample of 10 solutions that had been through the whole process and concluded that the Labelling process was implemented in accordance with the principles and operating rules described in the Standards.