Fuel cells have emerged as an environmentally friendly option to provide power for applications, including residential/commercial/industrial buildings, transportation and power stations. The unique value proposition of environmental, social and governance pillars will leverage industry leaders to empower the world with clean energy. Although 2020 through 2022 were periods of global turbulence emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, energy crisis, geopolitical developments and volatile weather conditions, 2023 and beyond could see stakeholders prioritize ESG to bolster the brand position.

Global push to comply with the Paris Accord Climate Targets will encourage companies to meet the greenhouse gas emissions commitments, thereby fostering the clean energy revolution. Hydrogen has emerged as an invaluable component for green transition and energy source diversification. Fuel cell technology will expedite targets to pursue economic recovery and combat climate change Along with the concerted efforts to transition to a zero carbon economy, forward-looking companies have prioritized diversity, equity & inclusion, workers’ health & safety, training programs, transparency, corporate behavior and ethics & compliance.

Key Companies in this theme:

• Fuel Cell Energy, Inc.

• Ballard Power Systems

• SFC Energy AG

• Nedstack Fuel Cell Technology B.V.

• Bloom Energy

Learn more about the practices & strategies being implemented by industry participants from the Fuel Cell Industry ESG Thematic Report, 2023, published by Astra ESG Solutions

Environmental Perspective

Amidst an exponential demand for energy, decarbonizing power and producing hydrogen have come on the horizon. Technologies are likely to be built for decarbonizing mobility and industrial applications. The penetration of hydrogen fuel will potentially negate the fossil fuel concerns that have plagued the globe. It is worth mentioning that hydrogen does not need mining and is not prone to geopolitical risks.

In February 2022, FuelCell Energy introduced the 2021 Sustainability Report exhorting a commitment to attain net zero emissions by 2030 on Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. As of August 2022, its energy plants generated over 13,788,125 megawatt hours. The U.S.-based company is gearing up to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, a step likely to foster the adoption of decarbonization.

Social Perspective

Industry leaders have furthered their focus on social contributions, including increasing the proportion of women in the workforce, underpinning employment in operational sites and providing training programs. Lately, emphasis on talent attraction, retention, robust grievance mechanisms, women empowerment and occupational health & safety has gained uptick.

Advent Technologies has upped investments in women empowerment and training pertaining to ethics, professional skills development and health & safety issues on laboratory processes. In 2021, the percentage of permanent employees was 98%, exhibiting its efforts toward human capital management. The company asserts its Employee Handbook covers bullying and harassment, diversity, accessibility, non-discrimination, working hours and minimum age requirements. A strong commitment to the social pillar to provide fuel cell power for a sustainable world will help companies position themselves in the industry.

Is your business one of participants to the Fuel Cell Industry? Contact us for focused consultation around ESG Investing, and help you build sustainable business practices

Governance Perspective

The strategic ESG vision warrants board diversity, transparency, sound corporate behavior, fair business practices and regulatory compliance. Building trust from business partners, investors, financial markets and the public at large has become instrumental in boosting the ESG rankings. For instance, Bloom Energy has strengthened its ESG disclosure efforts. The company’s 2021 sustainability report is in line with Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework.

The Board of Directors (BoD) offers strategic guidelines on ESG matters pertaining to Bloom Energy’s business and approves strategy, such as ESG components. Besides, the company inferred that its first Environmental Management System (EMS) audit would have happened in 2022. Bloom Energy has also fostered its culture of ethical decision-making. In 2021, the U.S.-based company hired corporate ethics and compliance program leaders. Building a strong and robust governance culture will serve as a solid foundation to propel environmental and social performances.

Identifying areas for development and improvements of communities, environments and businesses have become pronounced with the emergence of the hydrogen economy. Manufacturing and injecting funds into key technologies to protect energy security, employment and achieve climate goals can propel the value proposition.

In July 2022, the European Commission was reported to have approved an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) to underpin research & innovation and the first industrial deployment in the hydrogen technology value chain. The Member States would pour €5.4 billion (approximately USD 5.8 billion) in public funding. Meanwhile, in February 2023, Nedstack joined forces with ZBT for the industrialization and co-development of fuel cells.

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About Astra – ESG Solutions by Grand View Research

Astra is the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) arm of Grand View Research Inc. – a global market research publishing & management consulting firm.

Astra offers comprehensive ESG thematic assessment & scores across diverse impact & socially responsible investment topics, including both public and private companies along with intuitive dashboards. Our ESG solutions are powered by robust fundamental & alternative information. Astra specializes in consulting services that equip corporates and the investment community with the in-depth ESG research and actionable insight they need to support their bottom lines and their values. We have supported our clients across diverse ESG consulting projects & advisory services, including climate strategies & assessment, ESG benchmarking, stakeholder engagement programs, active ownership, developing ESG investment strategies, ESG data services, build corporate sustainability reports. Astra team includes a pool of industry experts and ESG enthusiasts who possess extensive end-end ESG research and consulting experience at a global level.

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