Utrecht sets example for other European cities on fair electronics

Electronics Watch is delighted to release the Electronics Watch Contractor Guidance, a detailed and comprehensive due diligence guide for ICT hardware contractors that sell products to public sector buyers.

Utrecht sets example for other European cities on fair electronics

The Guidance is designed to help these contractors comply with the Electronics Watch Contract Conditions and similar contract performance standards that aim to improve working conditions in factories that make the goods public sector organisations buy. It defines 11 concrete outcomes to enhance supply chain transparency, industry cooperation with independent monitors, and factory compliance with labour rights and safety standards. Contractors must achieve outcomes within their direct control, and demonstrate effective due diligence towards achieving other outcomes.

Dr. Olga Martin-Ortega, Director of the Business, Human Rights and the Environment (BHRE) Research Group at the University of Greenwich as well as a member of the Electronics Watch Board of Trustees, said:

“This is a sort of due diligence plus which moves away from the obligation of process established by current international soft-law instruments and national regulation to develop an obligation of result.”

Adding that:

“It is only through this effective and accountable due diligence that we can guarantee human rights are respected in supply chains and violations remediated.”

Björn Claeson, Director of Electronics Watch, also commented that:

“By following the Guidance, Electronics Watch affiliates and their suppliers will enhance collaborative efforts to detect and address labour rights and safety violations in their electronics supply chains and improve conditions for workers.”

Continuing by saying that:

“The Guidance establishes clear and attainable obligations for contractors and provides public buyers with a system to verify whether or not suppliers meet their contractual obligations and hold accountable those that do not.”

Between 2015-2016 Electronics Watch developed a set of model contract conditions that affiliates to Electronics Watch may incorporate into their ICT hardware contracts. Several affiliates incorporated these clauses in tenders and contracts for the first time in 2016 and early 2017, and have analysed their experiences and comments from bidders and contractors. The Contractor Guidance reflects this practical experience of Electronics Watch affiliates and benefits from a broad range of insightful comments from public sector buyers, ICT resellers and brands, Electronics Watch monitoring organisations, labour rights groups, human rights experts, health and safety experts, public procurement lawyers, and others.

Electronics Watch invites public sector buyers to consider how to incorporate the procedures in the Guidance in their own procurement processes, and to contact Electronics Watch for consultations.

Read the full release here.

Download Contractor Guidance for Electronics Watch contract conditions.