What are ESG factors, why they are important and how solar thermal can help your company improve its performance.

The ESG (Environment – i.e. Environment, Social and Governance) factors are three fundamental parameters that serve to verify and measure how much a company is committed to sustainability-oriented actions, a concept now so important and central that it is essential for all economic actors .

These criteria serve to measure and communicate the performance in environmental, social and governance terms of a company, and it is also on the basis of these criteria that investors and governments orient their financial choices with respect to the company: whether and how much to invest, whether to support its activities or not, and more generally whether to support its work.

Communicating your objectives and results with respect to the above criteria is already an obligation for companies listed on the stock exchange or of public interest but, starting from 1 January 2026, EU Directive 2022/2464  [1] will make corporate sustainability reporting (Corporate Sustainability Directive – CSRD) mandatory, with data referring to the year 2024, for all those companies with more than 250 employees, a turnover exceeding 50 million euros and an annual budget of at least 43 million euros.

The companies affected by this obligation will go from a total of 11,000 to around 50,000, of which 6,000 in Italy.

The Sustainability Report is a document that contains all the information relating to the most significant impacts of the activities promoted by the company on the economy, environment and people, and allows the company to communicate to its stakeholders its performance in the key areas of activity: its long-term vision, its strategy for sustainable development and, finally, the risks identified and expected on issues deemed relevant for the future of the company itself. In short, the Sustainability Report is the business card with which the company presents itself to its stakeholders.

Even for smaller companies, for which there is not yet an obligation to draw up a Sustainability Report, communicating externally their commitment to social and environmental issues remains a positive factor in positioning on the market, which allows them to differentiate themselves from competition; it goes without saying, moreover, that larger companies will be increasingly interested in the performance of their value chain – and therefore all the small companies that are part of it will not be able to ignore it: they will have to communicate the impact of company activities on the social and environmental fabric , even if not obligatory.

In this context, solar thermal systems for industrial applications can play a fundamental role for those companies that want, on the one hand, to reduce their costs – let’s not forget, in fact, that renewable energies are an excellent tool for reducing costs of energy production – and on the other improve its performance from an environmental point of view.

With our solar thermal solution for industrial applications, we mainly address companies that use processes where hot or cold water is needed to heat, cool, pasteurize, dry, wash, sterilize, cook, bleach or dye, such as wineries and breweries, greenhouses and companies operating in the food & beverage, dairy, textile or chemical sectors.

For example, for a food industry in Northern Italy, one of our systems with a 400 m2 solar field generates 264 MWh/year of hot water at 80°C, reducing gas consumption by 22 thousand standard cubic meters of gas and reducing CO2 emissions by 76 tons/year. In the 20-year useful life of the plant, emissions are reduced by 1520 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to the CO2 absorbed by 3040 trees in the same time interval (20 years).

soluzioni schema_sprhout_1

Figure 1: Illustrative diagram of the solar thermal system connected to a greenhouse, an industry and a residential building. The system is made up of: a solar field of thermal collectors that transform the sun’s energy into hot water, the solar station (blue container) that allows you to safely and autonomously control the solar field and the thermal storage that allows to accumulate thermal energy and release it when required by the application (greenhouse, industry, residential).

Whether your company needs to draw up a Sustainability Report or, more generally, is interested in improving its performance in environmental terms, solar thermal could be the right solution for your needs.

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[1] https://eur-lex.europa.eu


Adriano Desideri adriano@solho.eu