Eneco commits to sustainable value chains in the renewable energy sector
Together with other solar and wind energy companies, industry associations, the Dutch government, knowledge institutions, NGO’s and trade unions Eneco has committed itself to making international value chains more sustainable. The aim is to jointly tackle and prevent risks in the field of human rights violations and environmental damage through cooperation. Eneco is one of the parties that signed the new International RBC Agreement for the Renewable Energy Sector on Monday 6 March. In it, agreements have been made in the field of international responsible business (international RBC).
Chief Financial Officer Jeanine Tijhaar signed the IMVO covenant for the Renewable Energy Sector on behalf of Eneco: “Companies involved in renewable energy face complex issues in supply chains. As much as we would like to, those issues cannot be solved individually. We also experience this at Eneco and that is one of the reasons why we signed the new IMVO Agreement for the Renewable Energy Sector with conviction. By acting together, we can make a stronger fist to tackle abuses. That goal is not easy and neither does it give quick results. But by acting together (companies, NGO’s and government), we significantly increase the likelihood of results.”
Solar and wind energy
The production of solar panels and wind turbines can have adverse consequences for people, the environment and biodiversity. For example, companies can be faced with problems such as deforestation and the loss of natural habitats for animals. Human rights violations, such as forced and child labour, lack of freedom of association, unsafe working conditions and exploitation of the rights of local communities can also occur in the value chains of solar and wind energy. These value chains are complex and lack transparency, which makes it difficult for an individual company to address such risks by themselves. Various international companies from the solar and wind energy sector have therefore joined the Agreement. They want to achieve a positive impact through cooperation.
International guidelines and future legislation
The Agreement has an implementation phase of five years and is signed by a broad coalition. By participating, companies commit to applying international guidelines from the OECD and the UN in all their activities. This also prepares them for future international RBC legislation. The collaboration is supported by the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, industry associations, financial institutions and interest groups. The participating knowledge institutions, NGOs, trade unions and the Dutch Social and Economic Council (SER) will support companies with their knowledge and expertise in the application of international RBC.
In the coming years, the parties will focus on mapping the value chains of individual companies and associated risks. In addition, practical experiences are shared and collective projects are started to implement improvements. The participating organisations are jointly committed to increasing awareness of the importance of sustainable value chains and getting this topic higher on the social agenda.
International RBC Agreement for the Renewable Energy Sector
The International RBC Agreement for the Renewable Energy Sector brings together businesses, trade unions, NGOs and the government with the aim of promoting international responsible business conduct in the renewable energy sector. The participating organisations work together to identify risks and to prevent and address abuses in the value chain in the field of human rights and the environment. They do this by applying the guidelines for due diligence as formulated by the OECD. The Agreement is led by an independent chairperson. The Dutch Social and Economic Council (SER) advises and facilitates this multi-stakeholder collaboration.
An overview of all participants and the International RBC Agreement for the Renewable Energy Sector can be found on the website.