Supply Chain

Our approach to supply chain management is consistent with the broader approach to ESG.

We deal with this issue through two parallel processes: ongoing ESG due diligence at asset and portfolio level and an extensive stakeholder engagement process. As part of NESF’S ESG due diligence process, we have developed specific due diligence questionnaires to assess suppliers’ human rights and labour policies and practices, as well as other ESG factors, in order to identify potential risks within the supply chain. This process is embedded into NESF’s investment process and includes module, inverter and battery manufacturers.

In addition to each individual investment, the supply chain due diligence is undertaken with key selected manufacturers with which NESF and the Group have signed or will sign a master framework agreement. NESF has developed module framework agreements as the structure through which to identify and select top-tier, reputable manufacturers with a proven track record of delivering high quality products (i.e. manufactured with high durability, easy dismantling, refurbishment and recycling). This framework incorporates quality control, product certification and international standards, including ISO 9001 and IEC61215:2016; thereby providing visibility of the entire supply chain and materials used during production. When signing an agreement with contractors, NESF requires them to sign and abide by the Group’s Code of Conduct for supplier. The Code expects them to undertake their own due diligence and to operate in compliance with environmental, labour, H&S and human rights standards, in line with the requirements of NESF’s Sustainable Investment Policy and Human Rights Position Statement.

NESF is aware of the recent allegations of forced labour in the solar supply chain in Xinjiang and we are committed to preventing modern slavery in our own activities and those related to our business relationships, including supply chain. This is supported by our public Policy and statements. Modern slavery is a grave form of human rights abuse and the Board of NESF supports the prevention of modern slavery in its own activities and throughout its business relationship, including its supply chain. NESF recognises that the threat of modern slavery within supply chains requires a collaborative commitment and willingness to influence change from the whole sector. NESF strongly believes that supply chain management can be tackled collectively and through a long-term engagement process aimed to influence changes to eradicate human rights abuses and raise labour practices and standard globally. To this extent, NEC continues to engage with a number of stakeholders, including NGOs, industry associations, reputable advisers and manufacturers to increase transparency and traceability. NEC, NESF’s investment adviser, has signed the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) and the Solar Energy UK (SUK) pledge against slave labour; NEC is also actively involved with the SUK in setting up a task force to address this very important matter.

Supply chain management