The manufacturing of IT products is associated to a wide range of social and environmental risks. By using TCO Certified, generation 8 in procurement, you’re sending a clear message to industry to protect human rights in the supply chain, work against corruption and protect workers’ rights.

Minerals used in IT products have their origins in mining operations located in conflict affected and high-risk regions and are linked to humans rights violations such as child labor, labor abuses as well as environmental degradation. In addition, violations against human rights and labor laws occur in factories. Some examples are forced labor, extensive working hours and worker exposure to hazardous substances.

A complex supply chain

For several reasons, driving sustainability in the IT industry is difficult. IT products have a large number of complex supply chains. The computer or smartphone is assembled in the final assembly factory, but the network of subcontractors supplying components and raw materials covers many companies on several continents. Production is a step-by-step process: from mines and oil fields to smelters where raw materials are refined, to production of materials such as plastics, that are in turn supplied to component manufacturers. Finally, the components are assembled to the final product in one or several final assembly factories.

The brand owner, whose logo you see on the product, rarely owns the factories where the product is manufactured. Instead, subcontractors carry out the manufacturing. Which subcontractors that are used may vary over time. It is therefore vital to hold the brand owner accountable for what goes on in the supply chain — also for the steps in the process that they don’t own themselves.

Expertise and resources needed to drive sustainable development

What does this mean for the purchaser wanting to buy more sustainable products? Firstly, it is difficult to set