Today, TCO Development, provider of the internationally recognized certification for sustainable IT, TCO Certified, announced a new cooperation with the Office for Procurement of the German Ministry of the Interior (Beschaffungsamt des Bundesministerium des Innern, BeschA). TCO Certified is set to become part of the newly established code of conduct, agreed to by the BeschA and the electronics industry group BITKOM, another step toward more sustainable procurement of IT products.
TCO Development has offered the TCO Certified program for over 20 years, continually updating its criteria and control systems for advancing the cause of sustainability. Today, the criteria include socially responsible manufacturing, design for recycling, energy efficiency, non-toxic plastics, disuse of harmful materials such as heavy metals and halogens, visual ergonomics, health and safety, and more.
During 2014 TCO Development has had a series of fruitful meetings in Germany with the BeschA and BITKOM, the federal union of the ICT and media industries (Bundesverband Informationswirtschaft, Telekommunikation und neue Medien eV). Part of the discussion was how to integrate social criteria in the factories where IT products are made, how to verify those criteria and how to strengthen Germany’s efforts and sustainability policies. An important first decision was reached to base these criteria on compliance to the ILO core conventions for labour standards.
“This is a first step in our negotiation with BITKOM about which methods that are recommended for verification of ILO core conventions to be used both by procurers and the IT-industry. I hope we can be even more specific in our criteria for verification in the future, says Sabine Pöll, director at KNB.
“TCO Certified is an example of a type 1 certification and that type is the most trustworthy for purchasers to use when asking for sustainability criteria for IT products,” says Kerstin Thies, chairwoman at the BITKOM work group for product-related environmental protection (Arbeitskreis Produktbezogener Umweltschutz).
A type 1 certification, such as TCO Certified means that criteria are developed in a multi-stakeholder, open process and compliance with the criteria is verified by and independent third party.
BITKOM, an ICT industry group founded in 1999, has long been working with the German Ministry as an NGO to establish feasible environmental and resource efficiency standards.
“Germany is the largest economy in the EU and is a leading force for environmental change. The decision to include social standards in IT manufacturing is a significant next step that will help further advance progress toward sustainability targets,” says Niclas Rydell, Director of Certification, TCO Development. ”BITKOM and BeschA are excellent partners for such an endeavor, and we are happy to be a partner in this commitment for better policy on a large scale. We believe that this can be a role model for other countries to follow”, commented Niclas Rydell, Director of Certification at TCO Development.
The BMI established its Department for Sustainable Procurement (Kompetenzstelle für nachhaltige Beschaffung) in 2011 as part of BeschA. Its goals range from information campaigns for better practices, to providing training for federal employees, and developing new concepts for interaction with other state agencies and NGOs alike.
„The Procurement Office is very much aware of its responsibility to not only take ecological and economic criteria into consideration, but – wherever possible – social aspects as well” says Dr. Birgit Settekorn, director of BeschA.
The new wording of the BeschA declaration of conduct is geared at public procurers at the federal, state and local level, and can be used when bidding for IT hardware and IT services alike. For the first time, it also offers procurers the opportunity to inspect and audit the conditions of work on site.
“Annual spot checks of factories are very important for monitoring socially responsible manufacturing as the conditions in the factory may change at any time. When a product is TCO Certified, annual social audits from the factory are included in the certification, which saves the buyer time and money”, says Rydell.