Traceability is the backbone of sustainable supply chains.
STS was invited to share its insights in supply chain sustainability at PV ModuleTech online conference 2021.
Here below is a recap from Mariya Stoyanova’s sharing as Director of Supply Chain Sustainability Service at STS.
We see that more and more clients are increasingly including Environmental, Social, and Governance requirements in supplier qualification and purchasing contracts.
Traceability is the backbone of sustainable supply chains. Mapping the supply chain and having the visibility from raw material provides more data for sustainability claims. Companies also need to have in place a management system with specific sustainability objectives and ensure that those are implemented through the company and across its value chain.
STS supported SEIA in the elaboration of the Solar Supply Chain Traceability Protocol; and is currently working with Solar Power Europe providing expert advice on the development of the Supply Chain Monitoring Program.
In the spirit of collaboration, STS has also set up the STS Sustainable Supply Chain Assessment Program. Globally dozens of module buyers, asset managers and lenders are currently members of the Program and benefit from unique tools designed to reduce the current and future supply chain risks. We observe some general trends in our Program:
– Limited Upstream Visibility: Module suppliers have good level of maturity of management systems for supply chain traceability. However, the requirements may not always be extended to the entire supply chain, creating gaps in visibility. Our Program bridges this gap.
– Supply Chain Security: Typical manufacturers would also have supply chain security measures in place, but they may not always be fully integrated with the quality management systems and policies, therefore limiting their impact.
– Regulatory and Statutory Requirements: Most audited suppliers have good overall quality management systems in place, that address regulatory and statutory requirements. Some, however, may benefit from more consideration on the regulatory requirements at their customer’s country of destination, which are not always incorporated in the management system.
Overall, the results are quite encouraging. Some (although not all) manufacturers are being open and transparent; they understand that these requirements are here to stay and are building transparent partnership with their customers, preparing the field for when the market will turn back into an oversupply, buyer-favorable market. They are taking the assessment findings as a basis for improvement. That is a very good and encouraging start.