Environmental and Social Management Systems


On 5 & 6 March 2020, two Workshops on Environmental and Social guidelines for off-grid energy projects were conducted by Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA). IREDA manages a credit line of EUR 20 million with an investment grant of EUR 4 million for financing “Access to Energy” projects from KfW.  Access to reliable and modern energy still remains a challenge in rural India and approximately 100 million people are estimated to be without reliable access to electricity. IREDA would deploy the loan through financing entrepreneurs to scale up their access to energy operations, e.g. using mini- and micro grids, solar pumps or other access applications.

The workshops were conducted by PWC and the keynote speaker Jørn Stave, an E&S consultant of the Norwegian company Multiconsult. On the first day, the workshop was addressed to IREDA's technical experts. The second day addressed the borrowers of IREDA with participants from approx. 25 companies active in the off-grid energy sector. The overall goal was to create awareness and understanding of the need, content and procedure of an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS). “Renewable energies are not sustainable by default, but you can make them sustainable.” stated Mr. Stave, highlighting the overall benefits and importance of ESMS. The compliance with E&S safeguards does not only mean the compliance with laws and regulations and the fulfillment of IREDA's financial requirements but also ensures social acceptance of the planned projects and can improve the project performance and thus lead to an overall economic advantage.

Based on international best practice examples by Mr. Stave and within the framework of group work by the participants, environmental and social risks of Renewable Energy projects were analyzed and possible compensation measures discussed. The workshop supported to sensitize technical staff for environmental and social problems and helped to ensure a better understanding of IREDA's lending requirements among borrowers.