The Electronics Industry

The following reports are dated and may not reflect present-day realities.  They should be read for historical reference only.

    Servants of servers. Rights violations and forced labour in the supply chain of ICT equipment in European universities


    Danwatch has investigated the supply chain of servers bought by European universities and found that whilst young European students enjoy a break in their studies during the summer, tens of thousands of Chinese students are sent by their schools - many of them forced, on irrelevant internships to the assembly lines of electronic factories to produce servers and other ICT equipment for the world’s biggest brands. Interns work 10-12 hours a day, six days a week for 3-5 months producing equipment that later will end in universities across Europe.

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    Winds of Change

    2014, Electronics Watch Consortium

    This report provides an insight of labour issues in the ICT industry, focusing on occupational health and safety issues and freedom of association, compounded by cases from South Korea and China. There are many ways to address these issues – informing and organising among workers, governments of production countries implementing their labour laws, etc. Social responsible public procurement is a new, untried way for institutional consumers on the buying end of the supply chain to exercise influence by using their purchasing power.

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    The ICT sector in the spotlight

    2014, Electronics Watch Consortium

    The report "The ICT sector in the spotlight. Leverage of public procurement decisions on working conditions in the supply chain" examines the complex production system of the ICT sector, maps extensively its key stakeholders and producer countries, and analyses the leverage of public buyers to change the abusive labour conditions in the industry.

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    IT workers still pay the price for cheap computers

    2013, DanWatch, China Labor Watch.

    Four factories in the provinces Guangdong and Jiangsu were investigated on their working conditions. The findings of the investigation are harsh: Forced overtime, strenuous shifts during peak periods, few days off each month, wages lower than a living wage, and militant management.

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    Phony Equality

    2011, Make IT Fair.

    This report focuses on labour rights in the mobile phone industry in India and addresses working conditions in export processing zones (known as Special Economic Zones in India). The aim of this research is to get an understanding of unionisation and precarious employment in four mobile phone factories, namely Nokia, Salcomp, Flextronics and Foxconn, based in Sriperumbudur around Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

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    Out of Focus

    2011, Make IT Fair.

    This report evaluates the corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies of seven digital camera companies in Vietnam. Particular focus is put on freedom of association and collective bargaining and the working conditions at four of the factories.

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    Buy IT Fair. Guideline for sustainable procurement of computers

    1999, Buy IT Fair.

    Buyers guide for public purchasers about how to include social criteria in the process of public procurement. This guideline helps to implement sustainable tenders of computers. It has a special focus on the working conditions in the supply chains of brand name IT companies.

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    Best practices in sustainable public procurement of IT hardware in Europe

    2010, Procure IT Fair

    The roundtable meeting "Best practices in sustainable public procurement of IT hardware in Europe" was the fifth in a series of six meetings that were organised by Procure IT Fair. The idea of these meetings was to provide involved IT industry stakeholders with a platform to discuss sustainable procurement of IT hardware. This roundtable in Amsterdam focused specifically on sharing best practices and the role of resellers and service providers in the sustainable procurement of IT hardware.

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    Migration in a Digital Age

    2010, WEED.

    Migrant workers in the Malaysian electronics industry: case studies on Jabil Circuit and Flextronics. The studies reveal systematic violations of national and international laws, including the freedom of association for employees, one of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) core labour standards.

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    The Dark Side of Cyberspace

    2009, SOMO

    China is currently the world's largest producer of electronic products. As in other developing economies, the transformation in electronics has been characterized by rapid upgrading from low cost consumer goods to higher-technology items. Today, information technology (IT) is predominant – for example, the manufacturing of personal computers (PC), cell phones, MP3, and game consoles.

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    Reset. Corporate social responsibility in the global electronics sector.

    2009, Good Electronics.

    This publication describes the impact of the global electronics sector on communities, workers and the environment. It gives insight into serious problems occurring in different phases of the supply chain: the mining of metals used in electronic products, the production, and the disposal of obsolete products.

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