Edinburgh University, London Universities Purchasing Consortium and Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges become the first Founding Members of Electronics Watch
Electronics Watch is delighted to have its first founding members - Edinburgh University, Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges and London Universities Purchasing Consortium. With these three important public bodies joining within weeks of each other, and with others across Europe currently competing to be one of the Founding Members, the campaign looks unstoppable.
Our universities buy hundreds of millions of euros of electronics every year, many of which are made in conditions where workers’ rights are frequently violated, with workers being exposed to dangerous chemicals, being forced to work excessive hours, and prevented from forming unions. Electronics Watch presents the opportunity to bring change to this industry.
Miriam Dobson of University of Edinburgh said that: "By putting human rights before business interests, not only will this make a tangible difference to the lives of thousands of people involved in electronics supply chains, but it also sends a powerful message about the leading role universities can take as values-led public institutions to stand up and take action for a more ethical, sustainable and equal society".
Dave Gorman, the University’s first Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability said: "We want to become the world’s first socially responsible university".
The momentum continued to build as shortly after, London Universities Purchasing Consortium announced that they too were affiliating to Electronics Watch, to take action against labour abuses in the industry.
LUPC sets up and manages collaborative supply agreements for products and services, which its 65 full members, and wider associates, can choose to use. LUPC’s membership is made up of universities, colleges and other public bodies. These organisations are large-scale consumers of electronic products, managing contracts for a hundred million pounds each year for computers, printers and other IT equipment.
LUPC Director Andy Davies said: "This is a very important social issue for our Members, and we hope that they will follow our lead by supporting and contributing to Electronics Watch’s work, auditing our supply chains in low-cost countries and calling the major IT multinationals to account. As a sector, we have the power and influence to make a real difference, and now, through Electronics Watch, we have the means to do it".
Students and other campaigners across the UK and Europe are calling on their universities and public institutions to take a stand for electronics workers’ rights, and Edinburgh and LUPC are leading the way. Rob Abrams, a student from Swansea said: "Workers in Foxconn factories producing Apple products have been taking their own lives due to work pressures. Elsewhere, poisoning due to exposure to dangerous chemicals as result of the lack of safety provisions has taken an even greater toll. We’ve been saying that the industry needs to change now, not later. To do this, we need to coordinate action. Our campaign now challenges other purchasing consortiums, as well as individual universities, to follow this example and join our growing movement."
With these three important public bodies joining within weeks of each other, and with others across Europe currently competing to be one of the Founding Members, the campaign looks unstoppable.
If you are a public sector buyer, affiliate to Electronics Watch and get involved to protect the rights of electronics workers around the world.