16 February 2021
We strongly condemn the use of forced labour, and any such abuse of human rights, and are committed to investigating reports related to forced labour in the solar supply chain in China’s Xinjiang region, in order to better understand the context and production dynamic. We take these reports very seriously, and as a sector that strives for the highest standard of sustainability, we remain vigilant across our supply chain in meeting global human rights standards.
We urge our members to respect the labour and human rights standards outlined in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work or the UN Global Compact, and to abide by existing guidelines and standards on sustainability practices, including labour practices, across the supply chain; such as the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, or the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. As for other European sectors impacted, this brings attention to the importance of increasing the transparency of global supply chains. We are actively contributing to the work of the European Union in this regard, in particular on corporate governance, draft EU Taxonomy rules, and the public procurement framework. We are looking forward to further cooperation with the EU and national governments, and count on their support in addressing human rights violations.
In parallel, we have been working with our members to improve supply chain transparency and due diligence policies, as well as the development of a Solar Sustainability Best Practices Benchmark, with the aim of producing industry standards for improved traceability and full disclosure of environmental and social aspects in the supply chain to ensure that the solar sector remains a champion of sustainability. Our goal of diversifying the solar supply chain means that we strongly support the strengthening of an EU solar industrial base to improve Europe’s position in the supply chain, while remaining integrated in an open, global market for solar and other sustainable technologies.
*This statement was issued by SolarPower Europe on behalf of the European solar sector in February 2021.