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- There are numerous credible reports linking the Chinese government to human rights abuses against Uighurs, an ethnic minority living in the Xinjiang region.
- The reports include forced labor in many of the factories operating in this region. This is complicated by the inability to conduct independent audits of the labor practices in Xinjiang.
- An estimated 50% of the global supply of polysilicon – a critical component of solar modules – is produced in the Xinjiang region. Since January 2018, the polysilicon industry in Xinjiang has quadrupled.
The Industry's Response
The reports of human rights abuse out of the Xinjiang region are reprehensible and have no place in the solar industry. Our commitment to social and environmental justice is paramount to our ongoing mission, and we will not tolerate industry suppliers being involved in these types of abuses.
We support efforts in Congress to stamp out these abuses and are taking parallel action to ensure the solar supply chain does not include forced labor.
These actions include:
SEIA is strongly encouraging companies to immediately move their supply chains out of the region and many are doing just that. To ensure solar imports are free from forced labor from Xinjiang and anywhere else in the world, SEIA has developed the Solar Supply Chain Traceability Protocol. Solar module producers will be able to adopt this protocol, which includes a series of steps they can take to trace the sources of their supply chain.
In addition, SEIA has conducted a comprehensive update to our Solar Industry Environmental and Social Responsibility Commitment ("Solar Commitment"), a document that outlines common practices and expectations for the solar industry, including manufacturers, suppliers, subcontractors, and customers in the solar value chain.
We are also encouraging all solar companies to sign the Forced Labor Prevention Pledge to oppose forced labor and raise awareness on this important issue. As part of this commitment, companies pledge to conduct their businesses in an ethical manner and uphold the integrity of the solar industry. Click here to view a current list of all company signatories.
SEIA will continue to work with lawmakers, customs officials, and other organizations and international partners to ensure the solar industry remains free of these unacceptable practices.
The Solar Industry Commitment to Environmental & Social Responsibility
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following is a statement from John Smirnow, vice president of market strategy and general counsel at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) on the August 2, 2021 Section 201 petition:
The U.S. solar industry achieved a critical milestone this year, surpassing 100 gigawatts (GW) of installed electric generating capacity. While the industry continues to experience tremendous growth, rising costs in the solar sector pose a major threat to this momentum. Fortunately, there are smart policy solutions, like investments in domestic manufacturing, that can help.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following is a statement from John Smirnow, general counsel and vice president of market strategy at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) on the Biden Administration’s enforcement action on solar products from Xinjiang: