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A new report from TCO Development reveals some progress but also persistent problems among 17 major IT hardware brands working to comply with new socially responsible manufacturing requirements. The State of Socially Responsible Manufacturing in the IT Industry reviews brand efforts over a one-year period to meet new criteria in TCO Certified, the sustainability certification for IT products.

Progress was observed in three areas; brand responsibility for ethical treatment of manufacturing workers, establishing a structure for social responsibility work, and transparency between brands, manufacturers and other stakeholders.

However well known problems persist, including excessive overtime, insufficient health and safety routines, labor law violations and restrictions on worker rights to organize. 15 of the 17 brands showed non-conformities in one or more areas.

Initially introduced in 2009 and expanded in 2012, the criteria focus on brand compliance with ILO Core Conventions, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and labor and social protection laws in the country of manufacture.

Niclas Rydell, Product and Certification Director at TCO Development comments: “By adding social criteria to TCO Certified, we want to give buyers a way of identifying IT products that are sustainably and responsibly made. We’re also providing industry with a structure for measuring incremental improvements in social responsibility, treatment of workers and transparency with stakeholders.

Compliance is verified by accredited third parties using a strict code of conduct, third party factory audits and corrective action plans. Factories and products are also subject to follow- up spot checks and audits. Rydell concludes: “Moving forward, continued brand engagement in follow-up and implementation of the code of conduct will be key to addressing identified hotspots and making further progress”

Read summary and full report

The State of Socially Responsible Manufacturing in the IT Industry

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.

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Dennis Svärd, Global PR Manager

dennis.svard@tcodevelopment.com
Mobile: +46 (0) 704 804 094