Henderson Global Investors and Boston Common Asset Management are investment companies committed to the long-term sustainability of the solar industry.
As long-term investors in a variety of solar companies, we are committed to the long-term health and sustainability of the industry. We believe strongly that photovoltaic (PV) technologies offer a critical set of solutions to the challenge of developing cleaner energy sources that don’t contribute to climate change or wider environmental issues.
It is for this reason that we have chosen to support the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) to undertake research on how the solar industry is managing the social and environmental impacts of its operations. We believe it is critical that, early on in its development, the industry develops the systems and processes needed to manage these issues effectively. While this would be true for any industry, we believe it is particularly important for the solar industry because:
- The core rationale behind the sector’s development is based on environmental benefit (e.g. through cleaner energy generation). If this is compromised by the environmental impacts of the industry itself, the industry’s wider ‘license to operate’ will be brought into question;
- The costs associated with retrofitting systems to deal with environmental contamination are likely to be much greater than the costs of systems that prevent this contamination (if these are implemented early on in the industry’s development); and
- The sector has attracted significant political support, which would also be compromised should the industry’s reputation be tarnished through association with irresponsible social or environmental practices and performance.
While SVTC has undertaken this work independently, and we take no credit for it, we have nonetheless provided ongoing support for the project because we believe it is essential that the industry develops systems and processes to manage environmental, health, safety, and labor issues effectively. We see this scorecard as an important first step in this development.