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Uyghur forced labour in the production of green technology

Research project to address forced labour of Uyghurs and other Muslim and Turkic-majority peoples in the production of green technology and renewables

A collaboration between Anti-Slavery International, Sheffield Hallam University and Investor Alliance for Human Rights, will work on a research project addressing forced labour of Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples in the production of green technology. The research seeks to inform and influence UK policy on climate change and modern slavery as increasingly an interrelated issue.

Established research from Sheffield Hallam University has shown that the forced labour of Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples is present in supply chains for several green technologies, including solar panels and electric vehicles. Therefore, the link between human rights and environmental harms represents environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks for investors. Investors in turn can influence the green energy sector and encourage companies to eliminate forced labour risks from the production of renewable goods.

The research project has two key objectives. Firstly, to conduct research and publish guidance on how investors can address the risk of forced labour of Uyghurs and other affected peoples in green technology holdings. It also aims to build support among the UK Government and institutional investors for the rollout of these approaches in the wider renewable supply chains.

The project will map the renewable supply chains affected by Uyghur forced labour, it will then carry out a consultation with investors. Both will feed into the design of the framework for investors on how to approach addressing the issues raised in their work. The project will be designed by all partners to make sure it’s participatory and concerns raised both by investors and the Uyghur community are addressed.

The engagement of those directly affected is not possible due to the political circumstances in the Uyghur Region. However, Sheffield Hallam University’s research team will be comprised largely of Uyghur people. Further, Anti-Slavery International and Investor Alliance’s role within the Uyghur Coalition will ensure that Uyghur diaspora groups are actively consulted and feed into all stages of the design of the research project.

Research team: Anita Dorett, Chloe Cranston, Laura Murphy and anonymous Uyghur researchers.