“Why did you decide to launch a label?” is a question that we get pretty often. And it’s a relevant one, too. After all, when Bertrand Piccard decided to launch the #1000solutions challenge following his round-the-world solar flight, his idea was to promote clean and profitable technological solutions to fight the climate crisis, showing that the transition to a sustainable world would be as good for our planet as for our economies.
We could have very well decided to build the 1000 solutions portfolio ourselves, without any exterior intervention, based on our own decisions. We would probably have reached the 1000 solutions already, but we wanted to go further and make this portfolio of solutions indisputable. We developed strict assessment criteria and an entire process of verification, including many different internal and external stakeholders, thus giving the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label a certain reliability.
First, we ask companies to submit an application with detailed answers to approximately 40 specific questions regarding the three following criteria: feasibility, environment and profitability. After a first review of the application by our team, the solution’s file is sent to a pool of two experts with extensive knowledge (minimum 5 years experience) in the solution’s industry, chosen from our community of over 300 experts (by the way, if you want to join our community of experts, it's right here). The experts must assess each of the solution’s answers, and explain their assessment - if needed, they can ask more details from the innovators. Finally, if the solution meets our requirements, they officially receive the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label and join our #1000solutions portfolio.
This is indeed an intense process, which requires hard work from many different stakeholders, but it is ultimately the only way we can make sure that every solution has been through a rigorous verification process before we promote them to big companies and governments.
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 big work is also 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 review the compliance of our process with the Standards. After assessing the appropriateness of the Standards regarding its relevance, its exhaustiveness, its reliability, its objectivity and its clarity, and reviewing the operational modalities and the tools deployed for the implementation of the Labelling Process, they verified the correct implementation of the procedures on a sample of 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.