Today, on International Human Rights Day, the solar industry is launching a proactive campaign to ensure that the solar supply chain does not contain obnoxious forced labor practices. The effort, led by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), includes a pledge that companies can sign to tackle forced labor and raise awareness on this important issue.
“Unethical labor practices contradict everything we stand for as an industry and contradict our values,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “We need to be vigilant and take action to ensure that the solar industry is free from forced labor. Dozens of companies have already signed our pledge and we urge the entire industry to join us. “
In addition to the promise, SEIA is developing a supply chain traceability protocol for the materials used to manufacture solar panels. This tool enables companies to track the source of key inputs, thereby increasing transparency and ensuring that the solar supply chain remains free of forced labor.
The effort comes from the continued emergence of credible reports of human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region. While current findings do not directly tie the solar industry to the use of forced labor, SEIA takes a proactive stance and strongly encourages member companies to relocate their supply chains out of Xinjiang.
Over the next few months, SEIA will also work with its members on a comprehensive update of the Solar Commitment, which defines common practices and expectations for the solar industry, including manufacturers, suppliers, subcontractors and customers in the solar value chain.
Message from SEIA