2022 November 23

Electronics Watch Affiliates Exchange for Impact

Twenty one public sector organisations and seven civil society monitoring organisations from 13 countries convened in Barcelona, Spain from 17 – 18 November for the Electronics Watch event, Affiliate Exchange for Impact. By facilitating learning and exchange, this event increased awareness about public buyers' collective leverage and how it is – and can further be – exercised to protect the rights of workers in global supply chains.

Affiliate Exchange for Impact is the first major in-person event that Electronics Watch has convened since the onset of the pandemic.

“Bringing the monitoring partners, affiliates and Electronics Watch staff members together in one room showed the strong connections in the worker driven approach of the organisation. It was impressive to feel the power of the Electronics Watch network. For a new affiliate these two days were inspiring and is something we will definitely take home to our university,” Bram Vermeir of KU Leuven said.

Speaking as a long-time affiliate, Amy Ledger of APUC reflected, “Listening to how colleagues address similar challenges was encouraging and eye opening. I felt the breakout discussions were really engaging as we got to think more innovatively about solutions, connecting different sectors and specialisms for a common goal.”

Monitoring partner and board member Rochelle Porras of EILER also appreciated the opportunity to connect. “At the event, monitoring partners shed light on the failure of voluntary corporate ESG programmes and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on electronics workers in the Global South. These insights, together with public buyers' economic leverage, will help transform society through responsible procurement,” she said.

Affiliate Exchange for Impact was made possible thanks to sponsorship by the event co-host and affiliate, Barcelona City Council. Carla Canal, who works for the Council, shared that, “Hosting the Electronics Watch event and our fifth Conference on Socially Responsible Public Procurement consecutively raised the profile of initiatives being undertaken by both sustainable procurement communities. It’s great to have brought the two together.”

In addition to the two conferences, Electronics Watch and select monitoring partners also participated in a meeting of our Catalan affiliates, hosted by affiliate and LEV Programme participant Barcelona Metropolitan Transport (TMB) on 15 November. The meeting served to promote shared learning among participants and to increase awareness about specific issues encountered by Electronics Watch monitoring partners.

The next Electronics Watch Annual Conference is tentatively scheduled for May 2023 and will convene public buyers, civil society monitors, public procurement and labour rights advocates. More information about the dates and location is forthcoming.