Solar Forced Labour
97% of the world’s solar panels are made with polysilicon. 45% of the global supply of polysicilion is made in the Uyghur region under conditions of forced labour. Seeing as this polysilicon can be blended at the ingoting and wafering stage of the process, and upwards of 95% of the world’s ingots and wafers are made in China, experts indicate that as much as 97% of solar panels could contain materials made from by persecuted Uyghur workers.
Multiple UK public bodies, including the Ministry of Defence and Scottish Water, have procured panels tainted with Uyghur forced labour. As the UK’s solar capacity sets to double by 2030 and the government expands its council-led ‘Solar Together’ scheme, we must take action to clean up Britain’s supply chains and reimagine how solar is made.
Our ‘End Solar Forced Labour’ campaign seeks to change the landscape of clean energy procurement and production through cross-community coordination action. From consumers to councils to corporations, everybody has a role to play in refusing to accept forced labour in our supply chains.
We are working with trade unions, NGOs, companies and public bodies to shine a light on the role of forced labour in solar production. On the road to net zero, we want to ensure that multinationals do not exploit the land, labour and natural resources of the Uyghur people. Click here to read UNISON’s article on our solar campaign.
In order to increase action within the sector, we have created a solar procurement guide (see below) which provides civil society with practical tools for tracing supply chains and entering into dialogue with their suppliers. Beyond this, SUG is providing responsible investment organisations with research on investor’s involvement with the region’s solar giants.
Ensuring human rights standards are met:
Our work with UNISON and Laura Murphy (see below) helps local governments uphold their responsibilities under the Modern Slavery Act. In the guidance, Laura Murphy provides expert advice for streamlining the solar vetting process and holding unethical companies to account.
The Solar Procurement Guide
Stop Uyghur Genocide is proud to have worked with UNISON and The Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University (the research team that authored the leading report on Uyghur forced labour in the solar industry) to create a guide on Uyghur forced labour and solar supply chains. It is designed to help local government authorities, public bodies and companies make better purchasing decisions and put workers rights at the centre of their policy. The guide can be found here. To get word out about the guide and explain how it works, UNISON, SUG and the Helena Kennedy Centre will be holding a joint webinar for UNISON members on the 11th of October.
If you’re interested in learning more about our guide, please email our Campaigns Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice Report: In Broad Daylight: Uyghur Forced Labour and Global Solar Supply Chains
- BBC Report: Uyghur Forced Labour in Solar
- Guardian Report: UK solar projects using panels from firms linked to Xinjiang forced labour.