SVTC believes that the solar industry can serve as a sustainability model for other emerging renewable technology sectors.
There are currently few industry standards that define what it means to be a green business. By sharing its environmental practices with the public, the PV industry can establish itself as a leader in setting such standards, while increasing accountability and building consumer confidence.
It is imperative that the solar industry is successful in delivering clean, carbon-free energy. Achieving this goal will require constant technological innovation, and the industry’s long-term success will also rely on innovative approaches to protecting the environment, workers, and communities.
Sharing Sustainability Information on Solar PV Company Websites
One of SVTC’s goals over the next year will be to encourage companies to expand the information made available on their websites. In the coming months SVTC will revisit the websites of the top 40 companies listed in the 2013 Solar Scorecard to determine what progress is being made in the categories below by individual companies and by the solar industry as a whole. These findings, to be released in December 2013, will also serve as a benchmark for future progress.
SVTC would like to see the following information posted on solar company websites:Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
- Post a letter urging the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) to support EPR laws and regulations in the US.
- Post evidence of a fully funded collection and recycling system for end-of-life PV modules.
- Describe how all customers can responsibly return PV modules for recycling.
- Post data on the following environmental releases and indicate whether companies throughout your entire supply chain (from polysilicon to PV module manufacturing) report such releases on their websites. (Please mark each stage of production involving these emissions.)
- Overall direct and indirect energy consumption used to make your PV modules by primary energy source.
- Greenhouse gases.
- Air pollutant emissions.
- Hazardous waste landfill disposal.
- Weight of hazardous waste released and transferred.
- Total heavy metals emissions.
- Post a detailed plan to reduce chemical use per module.
- A formal commitment to protect worker rights, health, and safety that goes beyond compliance with local laws and regulations (or indicate that the company has signed the SEIA’s commitment, the UN Global Compact, or an equivalent).
- Workday case rates and recordable incident rates.
- What share of manufacturing facilities (based on production output) has received Occupational Health and Safety Management (OHSAS 18001) Certification?
- What percentage of your manufacturing employees (or workers who manufacture your brand name products) are paid more than the minimum wage for the region/country?
- Describe the final destination for end-of-life and defective modules (by weight).
- Describe your company’s design-for-recycling or cradle-to-cradle training offered to product designers in the past three years.
- Post your company’s enforceable commitment with suppliers to protect workers and the environment across all tiers of the supply chain back to polysilicon production or semiconductor preparation.
- Describe which of your supplier tiers are required to meet your worker code of conduct.
- Post verification of the lead or cadmium concentrations in PV modules.
- Nothing to post.
- Post annual energy use, GHGs, and perfluorocarbon and report GHGs and/or energy use to a third party.
- Volume of water that is used in production each year.
- Annual volume of waste water discharged.
- The following waste water discharge quality indicators:
- Chemical oxygen demand.
- Biological oxygen demand.
- Heavy metals.
- Total suspended solids.
- Post a no-prison-labor policy.
- Post verification of no-conflict-mineral claim or announce the start of the due diligence process.
- Companies should be en route to paying a living wage for all workers.
- Post signage for minimum wage provisions for illiterate workers.
- Workforce protected by collective bargaining.
- Breakdown of recycling fate of end-of-life modules.
- Recycling activities take place at ISO 14001 certified facilities.
- High value materials are recovered.
Commercial, government, or residential purchasers of PV modules are making a long-term financial and environmental commitment, and PV module manufacturers should make the same long-term commitment to the environment and worker safety.
Use this scorecard to help choose a manufacturer that is committed to high environmental and worker safety standards for PV module manufacturing.