Latest modern slavery fight updates - FreedomUnited.org

Transition to renewable energy must be free of forced labor

  • Published on
    July 20, 2022
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Labor, Supply Chain
Hero Banner

The climate crisis is here. In a week where large parts of the world have seen soaring temperatures, fires, and damage to infrastructure, it is evident that the need to transition to clean energy is urgent.

Forced labor links to solar power

Solar power could be a strong alternative renewable energy source but the solar industry’s links to Uyghur forced labor raise serious questions about the human cost of the clean energy transition.

With almost 45% of the world’s solar-grade polysilicon supply found in the Uyghur Region and the four largest global solar panel suppliers implicated in the Uyghur forced labor system in China, the world’s solar panel industry is currently at high risk of forced labor.

Careful transition to clean energy

Some in the solar industry worry that legislation such as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act that was recently passed in the U.S. will slow down the momentum of the clean energy transition.

But no corporation, including clean energy companies, should profit off of forced labor. Though tackling the environmental crisis is urgent, so is addressing human rights abuses.

The New Statesman reports:

“We shouldn’t have to reach our net-zero goals on the backs of those trapped in slave labour,” says Anna Cavazzini, a German Green MEP. She believes Europe can and should reach its climate targets without violating human rights. Jim Wormington, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, agrees no company should be complicit in human rights abuses.

Action against forced labor is vital

David Ball from the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign believes that new labor regulations will support companies to ask difficult questions of their suppliers in China. He said, “It will help to raise the profile of the issue and embarrass the Chinese government, forcing it to explain and defend its hyper-exploitative practices.”

Jewher Ilham from Freedom United’s partner organization, the Worker Rights Consortium, said “There’s no question that these bans, and their effort to end corporate complicity, are having a profound economic impact that is putting real pressure on the Chinese government to end state-sponsored forced labour.”

As governments and international organizations pursue solutions to tackle the climate crisis and achieve a sustainable future, we are urging world leaders to commit to a transition to renewable energy whilst ensuring that forced labor in mineral extraction and manufacturing is eradicated.

Sign the petition calling on world leaders to ensure clean energy is not tainted by forced labor.

Subscribe

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

The "Migration Pact" that could mean the end of human rights in the E.U.

After nearly a decade of deliberation, the European Parliament recently passed a sweeping overhaul of the European Union’s asylum and migration rules with what is known as the “Migration Pact” which advocates say will lead to an increase in human rights abuses, including extreme exploitation. According to Al Jazeera, prominent E.U. figures like German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and E.U. Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson believe these reforms

| Wednesday April 10, 2024

Read more