An incentive system in TCO Certified helps accelerate the development toward fair working conditions in the IT industry. Factories that make improvements get a business advantage, while factories with persisting sustainability issues may lose their right to manufacture certified products.

This text is part of our latest report, Impacts and Insights: Navigating the Sustainable IT Revolution – The critical role of independent verification. The report helps buyers worldwide accurately verify social and environmental aspects of their purchases.

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Poor working conditions in factories are an ongoing problem, with continuing risk areas such as health and safety protection, forced labor, and excessive working hours. Workers may also be exposed to hazardous substances in cleaning and assembly processes.

Enforcing new practices in a gigantic, multifaceted industry spread across several continents is a challenge. We wanted to quicken the pace toward sustainable manufacturing and looked to develop more efficient methods than the ones we already had. Therefore, we launched TCO Certified Accepted Factory List as part of TCO Certified in 2018.

With TCO Certified Accepted Factory List, all final assembly factories that manufacture certified products are divided into risk categories. Those that are proactive in their work with sustainability, and continuously meet the criteria in TCO Certified are placed in a low risk category, while factories with persisting sustainability issues receive a higher risk category. If major issues are not corrected within a set timeframe, the factory is removed from TCO Certified Accepted Factory List, and is no longer allowed to manufacture certified products.

How TCO Certified Accepted Factory List works

This way of working increases transparency, which is essential for improvement, accountability, collaboration and fair competition. IT product brand owners can view the latest audit findings and corrective action progress, and choose