Solar Stewardship Initiative: Joint Industry Endorsement Statement
4th October 2022 – The European solar industry is unwavering in its commitment to enhancing responsible Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance across the sector. The European solar sector’s core values are built around environmental values and respect for human rights, which must be reflected at all steps of our supply chain. Alignment with these principles is fundamental to the long-term success and viability of any business operating in today’s global economy.
The European solar industry is similarly dedicated to accelerating the clean energy transition and delivering real and rapid solutions to the immediate climate and energy crises. Solar is a reliable, sustainable, and renewable source of energy, key to fighting climate change, empowering citizens, and improving energy security.
Today, solar is growing exponentially, and according to the IEA, is expected to be the main electricity source in Europe by 2050, fostering green economic development across the continent. With growth, the impact that we can make in the value chain increases. Reinforcing a responsible, transparent, and sustainable solar value chain is central to delivering this transition.
SolarPower Europe and Solar Energy UK have come together to create the Solar Stewardship Initiative (SSI or the Initiative). This puts into action the solar industry’s strong belief that industry-driven requirements can bring about real change, while creating the framework of economic incentives that are essential to achieving a truly sustainable supply chain.
The Initiative is being designed to further enhance supply chain transparency and strengthen confidence in how, where, and by whom products are manufactured. It will work to establish and access verifiable information on current levels of transparency, and seek to ensure that solar products entering the European value chain align with responsible ESG practices.
The SSI is the logical next step to SolarPower Europe’s Solar Sustainability Best Practices Benchmark and Solar Energy UK’s Responsible Sourcing Guidance. Both provide a strong foundation to keep driving the highest ESG standards across the full value chain. Through the SSI, the sector is striving to establish the right mechanisms to increase traceability of solar products, components, and raw materials. An industry-led programme, like the SSI, remains the most effective approach to enhancing transparency and sustainability in our supply chains, while building trust and product stewardship.
The SSI has been developed considering existing Environmental standards, certifications and programmes, including ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management systems, ISO 14044:2006 Life cycle assessment and the World Resource Institute/WBCSD Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The Initiative is also aligned with the main international human rights and social responsibility standards, such as the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, UN Global Compact, OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, and UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
In parallel, the development of the SSI has taken into account the views of relevant stakeholders such as national and European policymakers, international financial institutions, human rights experts, and environmental and human rights NGOs. As the Initiative evolves, it will remain committed to continuing this essential engagement.
Based on the above, we, the undersigned, endorse the critical role of SolarPower Europe and Solar Energy UK’s Solar Stewardship Initiative in helping to reinforce a responsible, transparent, and sustainable solar value chain.
 Please note ‘European’ refers to the wider European region, including the UK.