SEIA launches tool to increase transparency of solar supply chain – PV Magazine USA
The document is written to have “universal application” across all product lines destined for export to the US market and is expected to be adopted by US equipment manufacturers and importers.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has released a tool that it says will increase supply chain transparency and help ensure solar components are “ethically manufactured throughout. solar value chain ”.
The Solar Supply Chain Traceability Protocol is a set of guidelines designed to help solar companies meet their compliance obligations and “provide customers with assurance that their solar products are free from contrary working practices. ‘ethics”. (Read the protocol here.)
“Solar energy customers expect their products to be produced ethically, and this protocol helps ensure that solar products entering the United States are not manufactured by forced labor,” John said. Smirnow, Vice President of Market Strategy at SEIA.
In early February, some 175 solar companies, including some of the world’s largest solar manufacturers, signed an EISE-led pledge against forced labor in the solar supply chain. In an interview with pv magazine, Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of SEIA, said the industry trade group realized the problem of forced labor at the end of 2020 and communicated with our companies that they “Had to change their supply chains”. She set a goal at the end of June for companies to adjust their supply chains to avoid conflict regions.
The EISE supply chain traceability document states that it is intended to have “universal application” in all product lines destined for export to the US market. He expected major users to include US equipment manufacturers and importers. He said that while his aim is to focus on “where the material inputs come from,” he also recognizes the importance of independent third-party audits and a “strong platform for corporate social responsibility and of import compliance ”.
SEIA said the US government has “identified forced labor as a concern for the solar supply chain.” He said that American solar customers are also increasingly looking for assurance that the products they buy are truly sustainable and, in particular, free from forced labor.
SEIA said the new tool “alone will not eradicate forced labor, companies must follow the steps set by the protocol.”
In a statement released by SEIA, George Hershman, Chairman of Swinerton Renewable Energy and Chairman of the Board of Directors of SEIA, said: “This important tool provides a cohesive set of guidelines based on fairness, safety and sustainability to thousands of solar companies across the country.
The protocol is a set of recommended good practices that SEIA says are designed to prevent forced labor in the solar supply chain; help businesses meet their US import compliance obligations; and ensure transparency of the value chain to customers. SEIA said the tool has been structured as an industry specification or a de facto standard, in the hope that it will be further developed into a formal industry standard.
The protocol includes an audit mechanism to measure a company’s implementation and compliance. SEIA said that when assessing conformity, “no single factor will be decisive.” He said auditors would assess compliance on the basis of a “holistic approach”.
SEIA has also updated its Solar Commitment, which sets common labor, health and safety, environmental and ethical standards and expectations for solar companies. The update includes advice on workplace safety and ethical work practices.
In addition, the standard includes best recycling and retrofit practices, information on tracking energy consumption, procedures to avoid the use of conflict minerals in solar products, and additional advice that companies can. monitor to compel suppliers to meet standards.
SEIA has also released a Solar Buyers Guide to Traceability, which summarizes the protocol and offers a set of questions that customers, developers, financiers and other stakeholders should ask suppliers on value chain products. solar + storage.
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