A Year of Firsts
At Maxeon, 2020 was a particularly pivotal year as the company officially became independent from SunPower Corporation in August. Maxeon now marks the occasion by publishing its first Sustainability Report, a key milestone in the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy.
Jeff Waters, CEO of Maxeon Solar Technologies, emphasised in the Report’s introduction that as a solar company it was particularly important for Maxeon to “become a key contributor to the environment, our people and the communities where we live and work.”
Focusing on the Right Sustainability Priorities
Demonstrating the company’s commitment to sustainability, Maxeon has joined the United Nations Global Compact, the world's largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative, in a call to action to accomplish 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the year 2030 to advance global peace and prosperity.
To address how Maxeon could influence the SDGs, a global, cross-functional ESG team was formed to conduct a prioritisation exercise meant to identify the specific goals where Maxeon would have the most impact.
“We challenged ourselves to adopt goals that expand beyond our primary business of providing access to renewable energy around the globe,” notes Lindsey Wiedmann, Chief Legal Officer and Global ESG Leader.
Maxeon has committed to helping the UN Global Compact achieve four of the SDGs by 2030, bringing a truly global lens to the company’s sustainability strategy.
Maxeon will focus on four of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: Affordable and Clean Energy; Reducing Inequalities; Responsible Consumption and Production; and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
Redefining ESG and Sustainability Post-Pandemic
Prior to the events of 2020, ESG was gaining traction as a core business strategy, as many companies sought to connect their economic purpose with the broader needs of society. Post-pandemic, even more emphasis is being placed on integrating sustainability into corporate strategies as organisations realise an even greater need to be responsible global citizens.
At Maxeon, the team performed a materiality assessment with key stakeholders including customers, employees and suppliers around the world. The goal was to select material topics specific for Maxeon, then analyse and report on those topics with global sustainability standards.
The stakeholder exercise was crucial to the final selection of 14 material topics across the three pillars of ESG that now form the basis of Maxeon’s sustainability strategy:
Key ESG achievements
The full Sustainability Report contains extensive details of the company’s work across all three ESG categories. Here are a few key highlights.
Maxeon believes that setting a high standard for the entire solar industry is essential in the fight against climate change. The company’s approach to the environmental category focuses on energy and emissions, water management, waste and the circular economy, with many milestones to celebrate.
“Reducing resource consumption and enabling the transition to a low-carbon economy is top of mind for us to meet our sustainability aspirations,” explains Markus Sickmöller, Chief Operations Officer.
Maxeon focuses on the social issues that create positive value in society by leading, partnering and supporting initiatives that enhance the lives of our employees and the communities where we live and work.
“Our interlinked relationships with our employees, community partners and suppliers drive shared value and are paramount to Maxeon’s success,” notes Tiffany See, Chief Human Resources Officer.
In 2020, Maxeon’s approach to the social category included a heavy emphasis on COVID-19 relief efforts and a keen focus on employee development, particularly with regard to diversity and inclusion.
Good governance is at the core of good businesses. At Maxeon, responsible and transparent business processes build trust among employees, suppliers and customers.
“Practising integrity and safeguarding organizational value require a rigorous focus on compliance with all laws, regulations and industry best practices,” says Kai Strohbecke, Chief Financial Officer.
Sustainability is a Journey
Publishing Maxeon’s first Sustainability Report is a great achievement for the company, but it’s only the beginning. Going forward, Maxeon will continue to enhance the scope and robustness of data reporting across the ESG pillars and set time-based goals on material topics.
Sustainability is an iterative process that requires continual input to ensure that priorities are current and relevant. As the company moves into the second half of 2021, expect to see more ways Maxeon will be Powering Positive Change around the world.