FAQ

The Solar Stewardship Initiative works collaboratively with manufacturers, developers, installers and purchasers across the global solar value chain to foster responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of materials.

Our purpose is to:

  1. Ensure the energy transition is just, inclusive, and respects human rights;
  2. Establish mechanisms to create end-to-end supply-chain transparency, ensuring integrity in the global solar industry, and to establish a Chain of Custody system for product traceability;
  3. Enable continuous improvement of ESG performance;
  4. Prepare our community for relevant upcoming laws and regulations on responsible supply chains (such as the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, and ban on forced labour products);
  5. Build the confidence of regulators, customers and business partners in the sustainability of the solar value chain.

Right now, like many sectors, it is difficult to visualise all the links in the global solar supply chain. Comprehensive supply chain monitoring will make it possible to trace the origins of materials used in solar components. This will mean we know, with a high level of certainty, that EU & UK solar products  comply with international ESG standards.

There are existing certification options, with a few examples of standards on CSR and due diligence practices that part of our membership has already signed up to: such as, Responsible Business Alliance Code of Conduct; United Nations Global Compact Principles; SA8000 social standard, NSF/ANSI 457-2019 Sustainability Leadership Standards for PV modules and inverters; Supply Chain Traceability Audits. However, a comprehensive industry-wide initiative combining ESG requirements with product traceability does not exist yet, this is what we are working on as part of our Solar Stewardship Initiative.

Designed to encompass the entire solar value chain, the Solar Stewardship Initiative is supported by more than 50 solar organisations representing companies across the solar value chain.

You can read more about the SSI governance structure here.

More details will be disclosed with the publication of our Code (in 2023), the completion of our Pilot Programme to test the Code, and the finalisation of our Assurance System to ensure continued accountability as the Code is rolled out across our participating organisations. Check this website for regular updates. Sign up for regular updates

There are four key steps in the next 12 months. 

First, after the September launch of the Initiative, and following the European Commission’s publication of its proposal on a ban on forced labour products, we will hold a public exchange on the programme on 27 October at the Sustainable Solar Europe conference Brussels.

Second, we are launching a pilot programme in October to map the existing data gaps in the solar supply chain and fill them with reliable data.

Third, towards the end of the pilot programme, in early 2023, we will open a public consultation to gather formal feedback from stakeholders on the SSI Code of Conduct and its Assurance System.

Fourth, in late 2023 we will announce the evolved SSI governance structure. 

Once the governance structure is in place, the pilot has filled existing data gaps, and following a multi-stakeholder consultation process, the SSI is set to be fully rolled out before the end of 2023.

Read our roadmap for more.

Besides the SSI, SolarPower Europe and Solar Energy UK are equally working on strengthening solar manufacturing in Europe to strengthen and diversify the global value chain’s is resilience to shocks and disruptions.

Our goal of diversifying the solar supply chain means that we strongly support the bolstering of an EU and UK solar industrial base to improve Europe’s position in the supply chain while remaining integrated in an open, global market for solar and other sustainable technologies.

Please see here for more information.

We welcome supporters from across the length and breadth of the solar value chain, who share our commitment to drive a more responsible, transparent, and sustainable industry.

Please get in touch with us directly to explore how your organisation can be part of the process.