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  • Human Rights Research Center

Solar Supply Chain Concerns Amid Human Rights Abuses in China

August 2, 2023

[Image Source: Adam Dean for The New York Times]

Cited article by Ana Swanson and Ivan Penn, The New York Times

HRRC is monitoring the situation in Xinjiang, China, and we are concerned about the lack of transparency in the solar energy market. While sourcing alternative energy is necessary to address the ongoing climate crisis, utilizing forced labor is a serious human rights violation. To combat this, companies and governments must take measures to identify and address potential human rights violations in supply chains and ensure accountability.

Article Summary

Global supply chains for solar panels have been moving away from China due to ongoing concerns over forced labor and human rights violations in the Xinjiang region. A new report highlights that many of the products sourced globally still rely on China. While many countries have shifted away from purchasing directly from China, the lack of transparency in the market has made it more difficult for buyers to know where their materials are originating from.

Over 340 countries pledged to scrutinize their supply chains and avoid forced labor, however large global companies maintain a high risk of exposure to the Chinese market, including some with headquarters in China. Concerns remain that China utilizes forced labor in the Xinjiang region to produce materials. The U.S. is under the assumption that, until these allegations can be disproven, materials produced in Xinjiang are from forced labor.


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