Electronics and ICT hardware Question 5
Is the brand (company) a member of a multi stakeholder initiative (MSI), wherein independent NGO’s or labor unions are represented, that collectively aims to improve labor conditions and that carries out independent audits? Or does the brand (company) significantly purchase its supplies from factories certified by such MSI’s?
Dutch version: Is het merk (bedrijf) lid van een samenwerkingsverband, waarin bedrijfsonafhankelijke NGO's of vakbonden zijn vertegenwoordigd, om arbeidsomstandigheden te verbeteren en dat onafhankelijke controles uitvoert, of koopt het merk in bij 'gecertificeerde' fabrieken?
German version: Ist die Marke/das Unternehmen Mitglied in einer Multi-Stakeholder-Initiative, die Arbeitsbedingungen verbessern will und in der NGOs und/oder Gewerkschaften mitwirken? Oder erwirbt die Marke/das Unternehmen ihre Lieferungen von Fabriken welche von solchen Initiativen zertifiziert wurden?
Our previous ranking showed that almost all electronics brands are members of either the EICC or GeSi. Both EICC and GeSi ONLY include companies as members – NGOs are not represented in the EICC and GeSi, although both claim to work with them. These two organizations also provide a Code of Conduct, but only the EICC verifies that its standards are met by its full members: by e.g., requesting joint audits based on the EICC standards. However, the EICC does not coordinate follow-ups, which (according to the Netherlands-based research centre SOMO,) “means that it is left to the individual companies to each come up with a corrective action plan – or not – and does not require working together on it” (see also the report Computer Connections by SOMO).
Recently, Apple became the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association (FLA) (January 2012). The FLA is a true Multi Stakeholder Initiative (MSI), with NGOs on the board. Also, the FLA-auditing process is done by third party stakeholders. Another possible accreditation scheme at the supplier level is SA8000, however, we did not find brands that report on this certification.
Not eligible, but worth mentioning is the that brands report membership of the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH. IDH has set up a progressive program for the Electronics sector which aims to (1) improve the rights and working conditions of factory laborers in the Guangdong area in China and to (2) significantly improve CO2/waste/water usage issues for all participating factories. Different stakeholders are represented in IDH, such as companies, the government and NGO's. IDH is NOT ELIGIBLE anymore to this question, because the scale of operations is too small compared to the scale of operations of the participating brands.