The demand for IT products that have been manufactured in a fair and environmentally sustainable way is growing, but many sustainability issues in the IT industry are difficult to solve. The new report Impacts and Insights 2019 presents a number of keys to faster and more lasting change.
Impacts and Insights 2019 measures sustainability progress among brand owners with IT products certified according to the global sustainability certification TCO Certified. The study includes 20 factories in Asia and South America, that have been audited twice during the time period 2015-2018. In the initial audits, 109 non-conformities to the criteria in TCO Certified were found and by the second audit, 84 of these, or 77%, were eliminated. Substantial improvements in factory working conditions have been made, affecting approximately 46,600 workers. However, excessive working hours and low wage levels are remaining challenges.
“The IT industry increasingly wants to improve working conditions in factories, but if a structured, long-term system for solving problems isn’t in place, a number of problems may be detected in factory audits, but not necessarily solved,” says Sören Enholm, CEO at TCO Development, the organization behind TCO Certified.
To solve these problems, factories must be required to make effective corrective action plans that are followed up regularly by independent auditors. Many issues, in particular within the area of health and safety, have a tendency to return. To avoid factory workers being exposed to the same hazard again, root causes must be found and corrective actions must be monitored also after closure.