In a new investigative report, Sweden’s TV4 this week further exposed the continuing social problems and sub-par conditions faced by electronics factory workers in China.

The program, “Hard Facts”, follows a factory worker as he secretly films unsafe working conditions, overcrowded employee dorms and describes the excessive overtime experienced by the thousands of workers in a factory located outside Shenzhen, China. Filming and talking with reporters was carried out at great personal risk to the reporter and factory employee, whose employment was placed at risk due to his participation in the story.

The TV4 report is one of many similar investigations by worker rights advocates and environmental interest groups, showing that social responsibility in electronics manufacturing is severely lacking. The conditions exposed during the report clearly violate both international human rights conventions as well as China’s laws for worker rights and protections.

Watch the TV4 report here (in Swedish)

Third party certifications an important tool

TCO Certified, an independent, third party certification, includes environmental and social criteria that are aimed at influencing a more sustainable development of electronics throughout their life cycle – manufacturing, use and end of life handling.

Our criteria for socially responsible manufacturing, along with our certification system, provides a structure that supports both purchasers and the IT industry in moving toward more sustainable IT products. TCO Certified provides the structure and independent verification that industry can use to implement continual improvements at the factory level. For purchasers, TCO Certified is a tool that helps organizations include sustainability criteria when buying IT products, and also helps them verify compliance of the products they buy.

Read more about the socially responsible manufacturing criteria in TCO Certified

How we assess factory compliance

The current list of TCO Certified products includes computers, displays, tablets and other product models from 28 IT brands. This means that for each product model we certify, the manufacturer is required to carry out a third party social audit of a final assembly plant. This, along with factory spot checks and follow up of corrective actions means that we are able to confirm that routines for addressing issues such as working conditions and worker rights are in place. While significant challenges remain, we can also report some signs of progress, which is further explained in our report from 2014, “The State of Socially Responsible Manufacturing in the IT Industry”

Read the report “The State of Socially Responsible Manufacturing in the IT Industry”

You can make a difference – choose sustainably designed IT products

All of us can help make a difference in moving IT products in a more sustainable direction. It starts with the products you buy. Whether large or small, public or private, organizations around the world use TCO Certified to include sustainability criteria in their IT hardware contracts.

You can too.

Contact us and we can help you get started

About TCO Certified

TCO Certified is an independent, third party sustainability certification for IT products. Criteria are based on scientific principles and are developed in an open, multi-stakeholder process.

Read more about TCO Certified