It's a positive development to see initiatives on the market that aim to make the IT industry more sustainable. The product certification TCO Certified and the manufacturer Fairphone both offer the possibility of choosing smartphones that take social and environmental aspects into consideration. However, the report that compares Fairphone side-by-side to TCO Certified Smartphones is somewhat misleading.
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.
2014 was in many ways a breakthrough year for sustainable IT. Buyers became even more committed to making sustainable IT product choices and we have seen an improved, more purposeful dialog between IT purchasers and industry. More contracts are also reflecting how an organization’s choice of computers and other electronics can contribute to sustainable development, both before, during and after the purchase is made.
TCO Certified, announced a new cooperation with the Office for Procurement of the German Ministry of the Interior (Beschaffungsamt des Bundesministerium des Innern, BeschA). TCO Certified is set to become part of the newly established code of conduct, agreed to by the BeschA and the electronics industry group BITKOM, another step toward more sustainable procurement of IT products.
Electronics and IT products are largely manufactured under tough working conditions in price-pressed supply chains. These pressurized conditions have led to excessive overtime, unsafe working environments and other negative outcomes for workers. As some brands show progress toward more responsible practices, it is vital that organizations buying IT products use tools such as the new EU Public Purchasing Directive to continue the drive toward more sustainable manufacturing of electronics.
In our webinar, we present findings of a newly published report, “The State of Socially Responsible Manufacturing in the IT Industry”.
Report–TCO Development sees progress and remaining hotspots in socially responsible manufacturing among IT brands
A new report from TCO Development reveals some progress but also persistent problems among 17 major IT hardware brands working to comply with new socially responsible manufacturing requirements. The State of Socially Responsible Manufacturing in the IT Industry reviews brand efforts over a one-year period to meet new criteria in TCO Certified, the sustainability certification
Increasingly, IT-using organizations are looking for computer products that are environmentally preferable and made under socially responsible conditions. Yet, shorter product cycles and growing demand for new technologies puts increasing pressure on industry and its complex supply chain to deliver new devices faster and at a lower cost. The result is often inadequate working conditions in electronics manufacturing, including long working hours, low wages and a lack of health and safety measures. The problem is widespread and well publicized through media and NGO monitoring.
Every year public sector purchasers from across Europe meet at EcoProcura to focus on sustainability in public purchasing. This year’s event will focus on innovation, new legislation and creating enhanced value through sustainable purchasing practices.
The benefits of including sustainability principles in public sector IT procurement are beginning to show up in the form of better bottom line economic outcomes. Other effects are reduced environmental impact and greater respect for worker rights in IT manufacturing. They key is for procurement and IT professionals to make their demands to vendors clear, specific and verifiable.