USA Solar Companies To Lead The Way In Sustainability

Solar is the energy source of the future – a safe, clean and unlimited supply of power from the sun that has the potential to replace fossil fuels and their associated problems, be they political and diplomatic turmoil, or ecological degradation. 
Now an industry-wide commitment of environmental and social responsibility released by the USA’s Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) aims to ensure its members ‘spread the love’ throughout the sector by applying the principals of sustainability and respect for human rights to the workplace.
“Solar is the cleanest, safest source of energy and the solar industry is committed to ensuring social and environmental responsibility for our supply chain,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “The release of SEIA’s Solar Commitment marks an important, proactive step toward a sustainable future for solar.”
Although the solar industry employs an estimated 100,000 people in the U.S., the SEIA still considers it a burgeoning field, allowing members to integrate the most efficient and effective approaches to sustainability management into their business practices while the sector is still young and flexible. 
The “Solar Industry Commitment to Environmental and Social Responsibility,” (the Commitment) is based, in broad terms, on America’s Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition’s Code of Conduct but is tailored specifically for the solar market. It urges members to go above and beyond the letter of the law in regard to: 
– establishing appropriate policies and processes to avoid infringement on human rights;
– complying with electrical design and installation standards to ensure electrical safety, including when systems are installed in ground-mount (free-field) or rooftop environments, and;
– reducing the consumption of natural resources including raw materials, water, and energy taking into consideration the entire product life-cycle from raw material sourcing through end-of-life;
– transparency in financial reporting. 
SunPower senior-vice president and Chair of SEIA’s Environment, Health and Safety Committee, Julie Blunden said the Solar Commitment received unanimous support from the lobby group’s Board. An independent advisory group will be established to help guide participant solar companies through implementing the new measures.
“We applaud the founding participant companies, including my own, that have already endorsed the Solar Commitment and are actively working to develop a governance model and accountability mechanisms,” Blunden said.