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TCO Certified, the international third party sustainability certification for IT products, now requires independent verification of ethical working conditions among electronics manufacturers applying for product certification.

In light of recent reports of deficient working conditions at electronics manufacturing plants, the launch of new tightened social responsibility requirements offers the industry an effective and credible way to improve and verify their progress towards more ethical production practices.

Niclas Rydell, Manager for Certification and Development at TCO Development, believes now could be a turning point for the industry as a whole: ”From TCO Development’s perspective, we know that professional IT buyers are placing greater demand on their vendors to ensure that products they buy are made in an ethically responsible way. The recent reports of inadequate working conditions, salaries and worker health & safety at Apple supplier Foxconn in China, are no doubt concerning. However we believe the situation is indicative of an industry-wide problem- one where there is a greater need for independent systems that can verify a company’s actions and progress towards key labor conventions established by the ILO. This is what TCO Certified is designed to do. We also welcome the important steps now being taken by FLA and Apple to move their production in a more socially responsible direction.”

Beginning immediately, all manufacturers applying for TCO Certified will be required to meet the following enhanced social responsibility criteria (along with baseline TCO Certified enviromental, ergonomics and health / safety requirements):

  • The eight ILO core labour standards,
  • UN child convention article 32,
  • The manufacturer should work according to local health- and safety regulations and follow the labour laws, including minimimum wages and social security in the country of manufacture.
  • The manufacturer should also allow freedom of organization in countries where no free trade unions are allowed.
  • Sharpened criteria for verification as well as on-site inspections.

Toward sustainable IT products

The organization behind the sustainability certification TCO Certified is TCO Development. Our vision is that all IT products should have an environmentally and socially sustainable life cycle. Science-based criteria and independent verification of compliance help us track and accelerate progress over time.