SolarWorld in dialog
Broadly defined, stakeholders include all people or groups who have an interest in the progress or result of a process or project. For SolarWorld AG, sustainable management means incorporating the needs of all groups of stakeholders.
The SolarWorld Group strives not only to maintain, but to enhance its ongoing contact with stakeholders. Consequently, SolarWorld analyzes the needs of the different stakeholders at different levels based on data collected inhouse and through external surveys.
Employees, customers, suppliers
The needs of all stakeholder groups are currently already incorporated but they are analyzed to varying degrees of depth. SolarWorld carries out an internal analysis for all stakeholder groups, based on information available within the company and in external studies. Every year, we conduct surveys among our customers and our suppliers. Systematic customer surveys are carried out among our wholesalers and installers. So far, end customers have only been interviewed on an ad-hoc basis since such surveys require a lot of time and effort. In the mid-term, we hope to do this for our other stakeholder groups, too. In the future, our employee surveys will be more comprehensive and be carried out in a comparable way groupwide. At Freiberg in August 2012, the first supplier day organized by SolarWorld gave us the opportunity for in-depth discussions with our main suppliers. For example, we presented and talked about the SolarWorld sustainability and compliance management in the context of the supplier assessment. SolarWorld’s approach was well received by the participants, who saw it as being highly positive. In 2013, the second supplier day took place at the same time as the Intersolar in Germany.
We also maintain close links with the communities at our sites, for instance during the Girls Day at our sites in Germany and the U.S.. The girls receive a talk on the company and the training opportunities, tour the production, and in closing are allowed to lend a hand themselves to a specific task in production.
In our Solar2World projects, we work closely with local stakeholders (e.g. communities and NGOs) in order to offer solutions that afford the population the maximum possible benefit and that can be continued later on by the local stakeholders themselves.
Professional associations, advocacy organizations, academic institutions
Thanks to our membership in associations and interest groups as well as our cooperative initiatives with scientific institutions, we maintain a regular dialogue on social policy issues with further stakeholders: We exchange ideas on topics like Life Cycle, Recycling and Sustainability with among others the EPIA (Sustainability Group), Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC), as well as within the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA). We also make our expertise available by way of presentations at conferences for example at Point Carbon Forum World Summit 2012 in Berlin. The trade case in the U.S. and the trade complaint in the European Union was also one of the main topics of discussion with various stakeholder groups.
For the compilation of the sustainability report we request feedback from stakeholders. At both the start of 2012 and 2013, selected experts were interviewed. The most important sustainability topics and priorities of those questioned were identified, the past performance of SolarWorld in these areas assessed, and opportunities for improvement revealed. The results of these interviews were taken into account in the materiality analysis. The Communications on Progress follows the 10 Principles of the Global Compact and is made through group reporting procedures, which means it is available to all stakeholders. Stakeholder initiatives can even influence the implementation of these principles, for example, via networks built by/with stakeholders or standards requested by stakeholders.