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A new compliance study by sustainability certification TCO Certified reveals major social responsibility improvements in factories manufacturing IT products for 16 brands.

When compared with a similar study of the same facilities in 2013, results show a dramatic increase in the ability of IT brands to live up to the criteria for socially responsible manufacturing of TCO Certified products. This includes the ability of several brand companies to eliminate factory nonconformities in areas such as forced labor, discrimination and rights of the child.

Number of brands with nonconformities

The included facilities are tier 1 assembly factories manufacturing TCO Certified products for IT brands Acer, AOC, ASUS, BenQ, Dell, EIZO, Fujitsu, Hanns.G, HP, iiyama, Lenovo, LG, NEC, Philips, TERRA and ViewSonic.

“These positive changes on the factory floor are a direct result of IT purchasers worldwide using TCO Certified to guide their product decisions. When buyers act, industry listens, comments Niclas Rydell, Director of TCO Certified.

One observed challenge, that continues industry-wide, is compliance with labor laws, mostly in the form of excessive factory working hours. The 2016 study shows some level of labor law nonconformity among 14 of the 16 brands. Despite the fact that observed nonconformities in 2016 were less severe in nature, this is an area that will demand continued attention.

“Independent verification of product, factory and brand owner compliance is a cornerstone of the TCO Certified system”, concludes Rydell. “The fact that we take care of this kind of follow up gives organizations the confidence to make a more informed, sustainable choice when buying computers and other electronics”

As part of certifying their products, brands must comply with criteria for supply chain responsibility, including implementation of a code of conduct. Compliance is measured through independently verified factory audits, which are followed up even after the product is certified. Correcting any nonconformities is mandatory for a brand to retain the TCO Certified status for their products.

For more information, download the full report, Impacts and Insights.

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.