Responsible sourcing starts with supply chain transparency
Building and maintaining trust is crucial for any long-term relationship, whether it’s a personal or corporate one. Similarly, Sunrock has sustainability-focussed clients who trust us to be their long-term partner in their transition to a clean energy future.
As ESG Manager at Sunrock, I am proud of our ambitious ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) agenda, in which we go even further by providing our clients with insights about the conditions under which the components we use to generate clean energy are produced. Our supply chain transparency programme therefore plays an essential role in improving our sourcing practices and helping our direct suppliers to do the same.
Partnering to Become Better Together
Sunrock collaborates with a diverse range of partners across our processes. In terms of ESG impact, our most significant suppliers are Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) partners, as well as Operations and Maintenance (O&M) partners. Sunrock has long-term, transparent relationships with our EPC partners based on turnkey project agreements, with these EPC partners being fully responsible for the entire installation of the PV (photovoltaic) project. This also includes the procurement of all goods needed to realise the project. We have also strengthened our relationships with the manufacturers of components needed for PV systems, including solar panel manufacturers, as well as mounting system and battery energy storage system suppliers. All partners who supply us directly are required to sign our supply chain Code of Conduct, committing to ethical practices. We also encourage them to further implement these standards in their own supply chains.
As part of our commitment to responsible sourcing, we evaluate our direct suppliers’ ESG practices. We speak to senior management representatives about areas for improvement and how we can support their efforts. Based on the assessment, we create a list of specific actions for our suppliers to improve, which we monitor to ensure they are implemented.
“Our collaboration with Sunrock feels natural, as we both share a commitment to having key topics related to ESG embedded in our core values. Sunrock’s commitment to ESG is clearly visible. It is evident in their reports that they strive not only for compliance but truly aspire to excel in sustainability. Manuella Appiah’s guidance, as an ESG expert, is beneficial for companies like ours who do not have an ESG manager yet. Manuella has assisted us not only with further insights and expertise but also with concrete tools and templates to strengthen our own ESG approach. Sunrock takes a positive approach, not just pointing out potential shortcomings but encouraging us to collectively take steps forward. The collaboration with Sunrock is an inspiring example of how companies can collectively aim for better and more responsible chains. It is a journey of small steps that, when taken together, can have a significant impact on the sustainability of our supply chains and our joint responsibility for a better future.” Nicole Rouwet – COO of iwell
Supplier data that can be accessed by the public
In addition to making our operations more sustainable in Europe, we are also working on increasing our visibility and transparency even further. Customers and stakeholders want to know where their products come from; if they are responsibly sourced, and have been produced under fair conditions. For this reason, Sunrock is the first European solar company to have joined forces with the platform Open Supply Hub and made information available about our suppliers, including the location of their factories. The platform also contains available data on the indirect suppliers in the subsequent tiers of our PV value chain. The goal is to allow workers and other stakeholders in the supply chain to reach out if they identify human rights and environmental issues with one of our direct or indirect suppliers.
Furthermore, we are urging our competitors to participate in the platform by sharing their data. Our objective is to influence producers within our supply chain to adhere to international human rights and environmental standards. Improving supply chain transparency is no easy task as it requires active cooperation from our direct and indirect business relations; however, it is an essential step towards a more sustainable future. At Sunrock we are determined to rise to this challenge and celebrate every positive contribution we can make as a company.
Multi-stakeholder collaboration
Many of the ESG challenges in our supply chain are too complex for a single company to tackle alone. That is why sectoral-level collaboration is essential to our supply chain transparency and accountability programme. We actively participate in the multistakeholder International Responsible Business Conduct Agreement for the Renewable Energy Sector and the Solar Stewardship Initiative. Through these initiatives, we work with different stakeholders – including NGOs, the Dutch government and competitors – to conduct independent audits at the manufacturing sites of our component suppliers. We also envision working together to implement positive impact projects on the ground in metal and mineral-producing countries. With these collaborations we learn and share good practices but also amplify the positive impact we have on people and the environment throughout our value chain.
Disclosure for a Just Transition
In order to ensure a successful transition to a more just and sustainable future, the solar industry must take proactive steps to provide stakeholders with detailed information on its ESG maturity, progress and aspirations. This information will enable them to hold us collectively accountable, and challenge us all to become better if we fall short of expectations. After all, a just transition is not just about sharing information, but activating it as a source of dialogue and collaboration towards a more equitable and sustainable future for all.

Want to get the full scope of insights, information, statistics and stories behind our ESG efforts and ambitions? Download our ESG report below.

Insight written by

Manuella Appiah

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