Action Sustainability, the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s delivery partner, has today released new guidance, highlighting how to address modern slavery and labour exploitation risks in the solar photovoltaic supply chain.
With the effects of climate change becoming apparent in all corners of the world, the transition to a low-carbon economy is more urgent than ever. Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is vital in enabling this transition: it captures solar energy efficiently, producing low-carbon electricity and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.
However, recent reports such as the Global Slavery Index 2023 and Sheffield Hallam University’s ‘In Broad Daylight: Uyghur Forced Labour and Global Supply Chains’ have exposed how the solar PV industry is vulnerable to forced labour.
Action Sustainability’s new ‘Addressing Modern Slavery and Labour Exploitation in Solar PV Supply Chains Procurement Guidance’ explores the modern slavery and labour exploitation risks and impacts in the solar PV supply chain and the critical steps to take to address these issues.
Key features of the guide:
- Outlines pragmatic steps to address these risks throughout the commercial lifecycle
- Valuable insights into effective solar PV procurement due diligence
- Practical tips and guidance for implementing best practices for solar PV procurement
- Signposts to existing tools, resources and collaborative initiatives to help organisations improve their approaches
While the guidance focuses on solar PV, its content is transferable to responsible sourcing strategies for other renewable energy technologies, allowing organisations to reduce reputational risk, meet client requirements, gain competitive advantage, increase investor confidence, and develop more resilient supply chains.
Helen Carter, Lead Consultant at Action Sustainability and co-author of the report said: “Human rights abuses such as modern slavery, forced labour and labour exploitation are embedded in the history of our energy journey. We’re in the process of changing the energy mix and moving to a more sustainable model, yet the technologies we’re relying on are entrenched with human rights issues. We wanted to produce this guide to help organisations of all shapes and sizes take a responsible approach to this transition – we hope it goes some way to doing that.”
Mandy Messenger, Managing Director of Advanté and co-collaborator of the guide said: “Advanté purchases solar panels to power our Oasis EcoLogic Solar welfare fleet. When the risk of modern slavery attached to the solar industry started to emerge, we discovered that verifying the origin of solar panels and constituent components was a difficult task. We took the opportunity to join forces with Action Sustainability and other collaborators on this guide to address these issues and share our own experience and learnings to start making a difference.”
Jo Potts, Sustainability Director, Supply Chain & Materials at Balfour Beatty added: “At Balfour Beatty, we are committed to tackling modern slavery and labour exploitation across our supply chain. As we stand on the brink of a green energy revolution, the guidance issued today delivers detailed insight and practical guidance on how organisations can decarbonise and transition to renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, whilst being aware of and taking appropriate steps to protect people – and the planet.”
To read the guidance and learn how to align with procurement best practices for solar PV, download it here.