Wind industry commits to make its supply chains even more sustainable

On 6 March a broad coalition of wind and solar companies and industry and other associations signed an agreement with the Dutch Government on International Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) Agreement for the Renewable Energy Sector. By signing they commit themselves to make their entire international value chains more sustainable. The signatories will now tackle and prevent risks in the field of human rights violations and potential environmental damage. 

Renewables are the driving force behind the decarbonisation of our economies but their supply chains are global and complex. As there are risks of adverse effects on local citizens, the environment and biodiversity. The wind industry is already going the extra mile to ensure its impacts are limited and prevented. But lack of transparency in value chains often makes it difficult for individual companies to address these risks by themselves.

Companies can be faced with problems further down the value chain such as deforestation and the loss of natural habitats for animals – or human rights violations such as unsafe working conditions and exploitation of the rights of local communities. Various international companies from the wind and solar sector have therefore joined the Agreement. They want to achieve a positive impact through cooperation.

Participating companies have committed to tackle these issues collectively to improve the sustainability of their value chains. They have agreed to both individual and collective commitments and will apply international guidelines from the OECD and the UN in all their activities. The parties will focus on mapping the value chains of individual companies and associated risks. In addition practical experiences will be shared and collective projects will be undertaken to drive improvements. The participating organisations have also committed to increase awareness of the importance of sustainable value chains and to get the issue higher up the social and political agenda.

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson says: “Sustainability is a top priority for the wind industry throughout their supply chain. Our industry operates under the most ambitious principles. But international value chains can be difficult to monitor. This new Agreement is a key initiative which will enable the wind industry to collaborate with stakeholders and governments to reinforce sustainability throughout our entire value chain. Maintaining this cooperation within the industry is more crucial than ever.”