Tags: clean | energy | industry | slavery

Group: Clean Energy Sector Rife With Slavery; Governments Must Act

By    |   Friday, 02 December 2022 07:44 PM EST

As countries, including the United States, push harder for renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, there is growing concern about slave labor being used by the industry in mining and manufacturing in China, Africa and South America.

The Clean Energy Council, a group in Australia, issued a report Tuesday to raise awareness of slavery across the clean energy sector and to call on the industry to eliminate it across supply chains. It said Australia is on path to produce the majority of its electricity from solar, wind, hydro and batteries by 2030; but it needs to do so in a fair and equitable way.

"As with many other modern products ubiquitous in everyday life, renewable energy technologies can have long supply chains that are linked at various points to modern slavery," said Nicholas Aberle, the group's policy director of Energy Generation and Storage, in a news release. "The points of exposure most in need of attention are the manufacture of various key components and the extraction of raw minerals where renewables are expected to become a growing share of the market."

The group said that in order to best curb substandard labor practices, governments need to develop domestic manufacturing capabilities, where work standards can be more closely monitored, and implement certification systems to support sanctions.

"Investors and consumers also have an important role to play, particularly through using their financial leverage in requiring, or demonstrating a preference for, more ethically manufactured products," the report said.

The study noted reports of slave labor being used in the production of solar materials in China's Xinjiang region. It said the rapid growth in demand for balsa wood used within wind turbine blades has led to many workers in the Amazon region of Ecuador to be subject to substandard labor conditions. And the rising demand for lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, which require additional minerals such as cobalt, nickel and manganese, has raised slavery concerns, especially with children, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.  

"Such reports emphasize the importance of remaining vigilant of the modern slavery risks present across the entire lithium-ion battery supply chain," the study said. "Further, as all renewable energy technologies and battery chemistries evolve, the industry should seek to ensure that supply chains for new materials are free from modern slavery."

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As countries, including the United States, push harder for renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, there is growing concern about slave labor being used by the industry in mining and manufacturing in China, Africa and South America.
clean, energy, industry, slavery
386
2022-44-02
Friday, 02 December 2022 07:44 PM
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