HOW THE SOLAR ENERGY SECTOR CAN BEST ADDRESS MODERN SLAVERY RISKS

A project from the University of Nottingham reports that around 40% of the global supply of polysilicon – a critical component of solar panels – comes from Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where it is reported to be made with state-sponsored forced labour. And between 15% and 30% of the cobalt in lithium-ion batteries used widely to store solar energy, including in electric vehicles (EVs), comes from informal mines in Democratic Republic of Congo, where forced and child labour are common.  Its report sets out a new method for estimating the forced labour risk in countries’ on-grid, photovoltaic (PV) solar energy production, along with ideas for international collaboration to combat that risk.  It says that the rapid increase in demand for solar energy risks fuelling demand for slave-made products, including polysilicon used in solar panels and cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries.  It says that the industry needs a roadmap to transform the solar energy production system so that it is truly just and equitable, promoting not only the freedom of consumers from fossil fuel dependence but also the freedom of workers and producers.

https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/Research/Beacons-of-Excellence/Rights-Lab/Research-Projects/Solar-Energy-Modern-Slavery-and-the-Just-Transition.aspx

https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/beacons-of-excellence/rights-lab/resources/reports-and-briefings/2022/march/briefing-energy-of-freedom.pdf

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Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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