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A solar farm owned by Low Carbon. Image: Low Carbon

Members of the UK solar industry reinforced their commitment to developing sustainable supply chains, industry trade body Solar Energy UK revealed on Thursday (28 March).

A total of 55 companies and organisations across the sector have committed to the pledge, which aims to support the Solar Stewardship Initiative (SSI). Launched in December 2023, the SSI aims to ensure companies develop responsible, transparent and sustainable solar value chains.

In a statement, Solar Energy UK said that organisations that have reinforced its commitment to the pledge will continue to promote the “highest possible levels” of transparency, social responsibility and good governance throughout global solar supply chains.

“This includes action to minimise and reduce the impact of extracting raw materials, to conserve water and to lower carbon emissions across the value chain, and to ensure the industry is free of any human rights abuses, including forced labour, anywhere in the global supply chain,” the statement said.

“This is about doing what’s right – right for workers, right for the environment, right for the country and right for the industry. I look forward to even more companies putting their name to this statement and upholding human rights and environmental standards across the industry,” said Solar Energy UK chief executive Chris Hewett. 

Sustainable supply chains could support investor confidence

In tackling sustainable supply chains, one particular area that could be boosted is investor confidence. Creating more transparent supply chains with traceable origins for solar energy will allow investors to define how green a certain project could be. This could increase investment within the sector and provide a much-needed boost to the rollout of solar technologies across the globe.

Solar supply chains have been under increased scrutiny with the UK government confirming in 2021 it was investigating allegations of forced labour in the global solar supply chain. These allegations led to the US enacting import sanctions on specific upstream manufacturers in Xinjiang, China.

Because of this, a global collection of 175 solar manufacturers, utilities and developers including SunPower, ENGIE North America, Tesla and LONGi signed a pledge to ensure the supply chain is free of forced labour in February 2021. The SSI supports global companies with this commitment.

Solar Power Portal’s publisher Solar Media will host the UK Solar Summit on 4-5 June 2024 in London. The event will explore the UK’s new landscape for utility and rooftop solar, looking at the opportunities within a GW+ annual market, and much more. For more information, go to the website.