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The European Solar PV Alliance (ESIA) is an industry initiative launched by the European Commission. It brings together companies, institutes, and organisations in the European PV industry with the primary goal of proposing practical solutions to enhance the PV value chain in Europe. The steering committee includes the European Commission, EIT Innoenergy (secretariat), European Solar Manufacturing Council (ESMC), and SolarPower Europe. After an active and collaborative analysis process during winter, the fourth ESIA recommendation paper has been released.

Currently, about 28 million individuals are trapped in forced labor worldwide, and unfortunately, the solar PV industry is not immune to this issue. PV modules are considered at risk of forced labor within their supply chains. As industry representatives, ESIA strongly condemns all forms of forced labor and actively strives to remove it from our supply chains. Therefore, ESIA supports the European Union’s move to prohibit the sale of products made with forced labor. It’s crucial to understand that forced labor is not limited to one location or industry; examples can be found worldwide, including instances of state-sponsored forced labor, which further complicates eradication efforts.

Ensuring clean supply chains in solar PV manufacturing is essential to address the ethical concerns associated with forced labor. China plays a significant role in global economic activities, particularly in Xinjiang province, where mineral extraction and metal processing occur for the solar supply chain. However, concerns have been raised regarding potential forced labor in these supply chains, emphasizing the need for clean and ethical practices in solar PV manufacturing.

Reports indicate that at least one million individuals have been subjected to state-imposed forced labor initiatives in Xinjiang and across China. ESIA advocates for disengaging from regions with a significant risk of state-sponsored forced labor, reducing dependency on non-European countries, and revitalizing European PV production to uphold human rights and increase supply sovereignty and technological leadership.

ESIA urges incoming legislation to clearly outline how disengagement should occur and calls for legal support from competent authorities if needed. Supporting initiatives like the European Green Deal aligns with ESIA’s goals, aiming for 30 GW of European production by 2030, alongside crucial regulatory actions against forced labor.

The released recommendation paper is a stance against forced labour and a Due Diligence Guide for Solar PV Supply Chains.

Jens Holm
ESMC Sustainability Policy Director

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