Social responsibility a challenge in the IT product supply chain

Social responsibility is a continuing challenge throughout the IT supply chain. From raw materials extraction to final assembly, working hours, health and safety and forced labor are examples of industry-wide issues.

Like the textile and furniture industries, much of the manufacturing of IT products is carried out in low-cost, low-wage countries, where workers are often less protected and employment less regulated than in more developed countries. Shorter product cycles and a growing demand for new technologies puts added pressure on industry and its complex supply chain to deliver new devices faster and at a lower cost. The result can be poor working conditions throughout the supply chain, putting human health and worker lives at risk.

Several major social responsibility issues:

Labor law violations
  • Excessive working hours
  • Lack of time off
  • Underage workers
  • Discrimination against women and migrant workers
  • Wage deductions for disciplinary reasons
  • Wage levels too low to cover basic living costs
  • Social insurance payments not made correctly by the employer
  • Inadequate systems for recording working hours
Lack of worker health- and safety provisions
  • Lack of necessary permits
  • Inadequate industrial hygiene
  • Inadequate protection against hazardous substances
  • Inadequate and inaccessible emergency exits
  • Inadequate safety measures in place