One of the most overlooked, but perhaps most valuable incentives for corporations to adopt Solar in their portfolio are the newly coined terms Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental Social Governance (ESG).

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has gone so far as to address issues related to ESG disclosure and reporting with rulings and guidance documents related to ESG, including climate change, human capital, diversity and inclusion.

In 2020, the SEC issued interpretive guidance providing guidance on how public companies should disclose and report ESG performance and initiatives and communications related to the disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related risks. The SEC has also taken action against companies that have made misleading or false statements about ESG. Overall, these demonstrate a continued focus on the importance of ESG disclosure and reporting with a highlight on transparency and accuracy.

In addition to the fact solar energy can help a business to reduce its carbon footprint, mitigate the negative environmental impacts of traditional fossil fuel use as well as generate top line revenue through savings, incentives and write-offs, it can be particularly important to show a commitment to sustainability and reduction of ecological impact to those who are most important to them…their customers.

CSR and ESG can, and will, improve a company’s reputation as well as demonstrate its commitment to those they serve. So much so the SEC decided to get involved. This is extremely attractive to consumers, employees, and other stakeholders. Transitioning to solar energy can also help a business to meet regulatory requirements and comply with ESG reporting standards.

Businesses that have made the transition to solar energy should (…and often do) market this to their customers as a way to differentiate themselves, improve their reputation and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. This can be very attractive to consumers, employees, and stakeholders. By highlighting the fact that they’re using clean, renewable energy, businesses appeal to a growing market of those who are interested in supporting environmentally friendly products and services. Additionally, the cost savings associated can be passed on to customers in the form of lower prices and/or investments in other areas of the business.

While many of the above may be considered “soft dollar” returns on the investment in solar, proper investigation reveals them to significant nonetheless…and in today’s impetuous economic climate, once known, tracked and realized…the above are more than well worth it.

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