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SEIA Statement on Solar Industry Sustainability Practices

Wednesday, Jul 11 2012

Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), released the following statement today in response to Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) releasing its 2012 Solar Scorecard.

“Ensuring a globally sustainable solar supply chain is one of our industry’s top priorities. Supporting this mission, SEIA has taken proactive steps to promote environmental and social responsibility within the industry.  

“SEIA established the Environment, Health & Safety Committee (EHS Committee) in 2010 comprised of more than 40 solar industry representatives from companies across the global solar value-chain, both U.S. and foreign-based.

“Shortly after, SEIA’s EHS Committee began proactively developing a set of solar industry guidelines to promote environmental and social responsibility.  This work is the basis for the Solar Industry Commitment to Environmental and Social Responsibility (Solar Commitment), which was introduced at the PV America West conference in March.

“The Solar Commitment was drafted with significant input from the solar industry, as well as external environmental regulation, labor and ethics experts.

“SEIA is proud to have the Solar Commitment at the forefront of our outreach efforts.  We are working to recruit member companies, as well as non-member companies, to adopt the Solar Commitment, as we complete implementation guidance and reporting requirements.“

About the Solar Commitment:
The Solar Commitment, which may be adopted by companies of all types throughout the solar supply chain, is a voluntary document that is designed to evolve as the industry grows. It includes provisions regarding the environment, labor, ethics, health and safety, human rights, and management systems. SEIA engaged Business for Social Responsibility, a leading Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) firm, to assist.

Today, seven companies have signed on to the Solar Commitment:  Dow Solar, SunPower, Suntech, Trina, Yingli Solar, SunEdison, PV Recycling, LLC.

The Solar Commitment is designed to coordinate with other industry and company sustainability efforts.  A recent study by As You Sow, a non-profit that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility, entitled “Clean & Green: Best Practices in Photovoltaics” (released March 2012), found that the global solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing industry is already setting best practices for sustainable growth. The report found that "many PV manufacturers beat standards set for emissions, are reducing water use and reusing water on their own initiatives, and are participating in voluntary international programs related to worker safety.”   

About SEIA®:
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA is working to build a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy.

Background Material:
U.S. Solar Industry Sustainability Efforts

As You Sow “Clean & Green: Best Practices in Photovoltaics” Report

2012 SVTC “Solar Scorecard” Report

Media Contact:
Susan DeVico, 510.339.1527, [email protected]
Monique Hanis, 202.556.2885, [email protected]


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