Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), a producer of solar panels, was recently honored with the "Global Leader Award 2011" from Murphy&Spitz, designed to recognize sustainable companies for exceptional environmental, health and safety (EH&S) practices. The recognition coincides with Suntech becoming one of the first global solar companies to achieve both OHSAS18001 and SA8000 certifications, two respected occupational health and social accountability standards. Suntech also implements an Environmental Management System, which was certified according to the ISO14001 standard in April 2006.
"We're grateful for confirmation from this independent third party that we're on the right track, and it increases our resolve to further raise the standard," said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's chairman and CEO. "The solar industry is about the world using technology to provide clean, sustainable energy without sacrificing our environment. In doing so, we must be aware of our responsibilities to our staff, our community and the sustainability of our manufacturing operations."
In late 2010, representatives from Murphy&Spitz, one of the most experienced sustainability investment firms in Germany, reviewed Suntech's EH&S management systems as well as those of other solar industry manufacturers around the world. The recently-released research report, Sustainability and Social Responsibility of the Photovoltaic Industry, outlines global solar industry standards and identifies opportunities for improvement in sustainability practices.
The comprehensive report praised Suntech's EH&S practices and transparency: "The manner of presentation and transparency is unrivalled in comparison to the other companies we took under review. The structure is similar to 'best practice' examples of other industries and shows a strategic interest. The employees entrusted with environmental and occupational tasks have a high level of qualification and possess international experience in their area. Our visit at Suntech revealed high standards for occupational health and safety, environmental protection and social aspects."
Coinciding with the award, Suntech recently received certifications for OHSAS18001, the internationally recognized occupational health and safety standard, and SA8000, a global social accountability standard for decent working conditions. Both international standards provide authoritative benchmarks for measuring and improving EH&S practices. In particular, the SA8000 standard, based on the Conventions of the International Labour Organisation and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, considers a range of topics including working hours and conditions, equal-opportunity provisions, compensation and management practices.