Sustainability certification is more than a label slapped on a box as it rolls off the assembly line. If you want to be confident about the electronics you buy, it’s important to know that third party verification is included.
Increasingly purchasers are demanding more transparency into the environmental and social impacts of the IT products they buy. They’re also uniquely positioned to affect positive change at a scale that can transform markets. That is why new US guidelines for sustainable purchasing of IT and other products will be discussed this week at theSustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) annual summit, in Washington, DC May 24 – 26.
Some problems that plague IT production – like blocked fire exits or malfunctioning safety equipment – are relatively easy to solve. But the issues go much deeper. From migrant workers who have to pay for the privilege of serving as modern-day forced labor, to using student workers for menial tasks under the guise of education, to extreme overtime — the human costs of IT manufacturing can be staggering.
As the leaders from 170 countries gathered in Paris to confirm their targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the chair of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN), Bjorn-Erik Lonn, says that over 50 countries and territories already have an existing tool which can help.
During March-April, 26 models of notebook computers and tablets have met the new, advanced sustainability criteria in TCO Certified, the third party sustainability certification for IT products.
Verification of compliance is an important feature of TCO Certified. During 2016, we will be conducting quality assurance verification rounds at the product, factory and brand levels.
As part of the new generation TCO Certified, brands declare the actual energy consumption, recycled plastic content and total weight of all certified product models. This data makes it easier for professional IT buyers to measure the effects of their sustainable IT policy and provide greater insights into areas where continued improvement is needed.
In the first of our 2016 Sustainable IT webinar series, from February 18 we found out more about toxics in IT-products. Our speakers were Marlene Ågerstrand, Researcher at Stockholm University and Niclas Rydell, Director, TCO Certified at TCO Development.
Harmful halogenated flame retardants have been mostly phased out of products certified to TCO Certified. However, they have often been replaced with potentially harmful non-halogenated flame retardants where little information about their safety is available. For the new generation TCO Certified, we only accept non-halogenated flame retardants that have been reviewed using GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals.
We will be publishing on-demand versions of the presentations from Sustainable IT Summit 2015. In part 3, Niklas Egels-Zandén take a closer look at the issue of social responsibility in the supply chain.