How to assess the negative SDG impact of the solar value chain

The positive impact of a certain sector or product cannot be taken at face value. Thus, the climate change analyst of the Long-Term Equity Strategy team evaluates the entire value chain of the solar industry. This assessment [SvE1] uncovered that two main drivers of the competitive low-cost production of polysilicon are labour and electricity. However, there are known human rights abuses and forced labour practices in Xinjiang (as concluded in the 2021 Amnesty International report “Like we were enemies in a war”) and the electricity is coal-powered. Do the contributions to SDG 7 (Clean Energy) and SDG 13 (Climate Action) outweigh the potential damage done to SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 8 (Decent Work) and SDG 13 (Climate Action)? We concluded that making a positive and sustainable impact in one SDG cannot be done at too big a detriment to other SDGs.