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A report by the Clean Energy Council has revealed growing evidence of forced labor and slavery in the production of solar panels and wind turbines.

Source: Bloomberg Quicktake: Now/YouTube

The Clean Energy Council represents renewable energy companies and solar installers. The recent paper has called for more local renewable energy production and manufacturing as well as a “certificate of origin”. The call for a certificate of origin comes after growing concerns about slave labor in mineral extraction and manufacturing for these parts in China, Africa, and South America.

Australia’s clean energy transition is accelerating, and they are set to generate most of their electricity through clean energy. However, the growing evidence of links between renewable energy supply chains and modern slavery is a huge concern.

“Australia is on a trajectory to produce the vast majority of our electricity from solar, wind, hydro, and batteries by 2030, but it’s important that this shift happens in a way that is fair and equitable,” said Clean Energy Council Policy Director of Energy Generation and Storage, Dr. Nicholas Aberle.

The report cited detailed allegations of unpaid and forced labor and slavery in supply claims for solar, wind, and battery storage. They say that about 2.6 million Uyghur and Kazakh people have been subjected to coercion, “re-education programs”, and internment in the Xinjiang region of north-west China. The area is the source of nearly half of the world’s solar-grade polysilicon. Another report recently found that Xinjiang was home to “serious human rights violations”. The United States has even listed polysilicon from China as a material that is likely to be produced by child or forced labor.

Source: Reuters/YouTube

The report also cited children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, some as young as seven, who were working in artisanal cobalt mines for batteries. They say that they were often paid less than $2 a day.

As far as wind energy, the demand for balsa wood to be used in turbines has skyrocketed which has reportedly led workers in Ecuador’s Amazon region to be subject to forced labor. The report says that workers are subject to substandard labor conditions, including payments made with drugs or alcohol.

We need to ensure that the clean energy supply chain is fair, reliable, and slavery-free. Read about how the Chinese government is abusing Uighurs. Also, check out Slavery Still Exists; Here’s What YOU Can Do About It.

Sign this petition to stand up for the Uighurs in China!

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