How to address human rights in complex clean energy supply chains

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The renewable energy sector faces a monumental task: power the transition to clean energy economies needed to stem the tide of climate change, while ensuring the move is just, inclusive and protective of both people and planet.

Investment in renewable energy is rapidly accelerating, as companies compete to produce the technology needed to support the energy transition. There is a growing demand for the minerals needed to produce green energy technologies (EVs, solar panels, wind turbines, etc.). According to the World Bank, the production of minerals such as graphite, lithium, cobalt and others could increase by nearly 500 percent by 2050 to meet global demand.

The extraction of these minerals, however, is often associated with adverse human rights impacts, including land grabs, dangerous working conditions and harm to Indigenous Peoples. In addition, public scrutiny of company social and environmental practices is growing, and stakeholders are increasingly holding companies accountable for adverse consequences of renewable energy projects. These impacts are likely to get worse given the rapid deployment of these projects to meet climate targets. Read more…