Solar Industry Commitment to Environmental & Social Responsibility
One of SEIA's top priorities is to help ensure a sustainable and ethical solar supply chain globally. In support of this mission, SEIA is taking proactive steps to promote environmental and social responsibility within the industry. The Solar Industry Commitment to Environmental & Social Responsibility is the hallmark of these efforts.
About the Solar Commitment
SEIA is committed to the continuous progress of advancing the Solar Commitment throughout the solar industry and those organizations involved in the complete solar value chain. Participants must regard these principles as applicable to their entire supply chain network, relevant to all organizations who participate in the solar industry.
The Solar Commitment defines common practices and expectations for all solar industry participants, including manufacturers, suppliers, subcontractors, and customers in the solar value chain. At a minimum, a Participant shall require its next tier suppliers to comply with the principles identified herein.
Joining the Solar Commitment can benefit solar energy industry companies through:
Signing on to the Solar Commitment shows a clear commitment to the issues, which enhances credibility and trust with investors, customers, and regulators, all of whom are increasingly looking for broad, objective measures of sustainability.
Furthered Efficiency and Innovation
Participation will help provide a roadmap for planning and resource allocation that will steer the company towards enhanced resource utilization, shared value, and governance. Fundamentally, this is a management tool aimed to build capacity for the company and its suppliers alike to more strategic and cost-effective approaches and execute sustainable business practices.
Strengthened Industry Influence
Participation "brings the company to the table," allowing it to be part of essential discussions shaping the future of sustainability for solar. This may hold keys to fruitful collaboration with peers and industry networks and further increase the chances of establishing powerful cross-sector alliances.
Demonstrated Leadership in Sustainability
The Solar Commitment will help ensure the solar industry remains truly sustainable.
Continued Commitment to Improving Corporate Social Responsibility
Since its origination, the Solar Commitment has been refined over the years and will continue to explore new thinking and approaches to continually adapt as society and the definitions change over time.
Given the significant actions that have taken place in the last couple of years and particularly in 2020 with respect to anti-racism, diversity, equity, inclusivity and justice, SEIA strongly encourages Participants to review current material those areas, have organization discussions with their management and employees about how their entity will approach any position in those specific areas. The 2021 Solar Commitment principles will not currently, in detail, address these areas as they do require more thoughtful introspection and contemplation amongst the solar industry, its workforce and its impact than can be included in this document. As such, SEIA highly encourages its member companies and industry to explore other efforts such as the Obama Foundations activities on anti-racism, justice and leadership and more specifically, SEIA‘s resources on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion including the SEIA Diversity Best Practices Guide for the Solar Industry. This handbook does not include provisions or other principles that directly impact these topics and the current Solar Commitment, yet that may be considered in the future.
The Solar Commitment consists of two parts:
Part 1 - Solar Specific Topics: Part 1 articulates items that are of particular interest to the solar industry and/or its stakeholders. Part 1 may include themes that are further addressed in Part 2.
Part 2 - Core Compliance: Part 2 provides a broad set of foundational expectations for sustainability. To reduce duplication, promote harmonization, and advance shared approaches, SEIA had adopted the Responsible Business Alliance (“RBA”) Code of Conduct (formerly the Electronics Industry Code of Conduct (“EICC”)), Version 6.0 (2018), as its core compliance standards for Labor, Health & Safety, the Environment, Management Systems, and Ethics (see appendix for more information on the use of the EICC as part of the Solar Commitment). We have also included concepts from Version 7.0 (2021) as it was just recently released.
Similarly, concepts from the UN Global Compact have also been referenced as well as some principles from relevant global impact foundations such as the Clinton Foundation, the Obama Foundation, and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which individually advance new thinking on some of the key initiatives incorporated in the Solar Commitment as well as in sustainability practices such as the Circular Economy approach.
The Solar Commitment is completely voluntary and there are no fees to sign on. A signature does not imply a contract nor bind your company legally or financially to strict adherence to these principles in part or in whole. Essentially, signing onto the Solar Commitment indicates your organization’s willingness to embody, pursue, and/or implement in part or in whole the approaches contained herein.