Photo: Earth Security Group

Earth Security Group has launched a CEO Briefing for consumer electronics in South East Asia, providing electronics companies, financial institutions and policymakers with an evaluation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) priorities for the industry’s regional growth.

Photo: Earth Security Group

The Briefing highlights how migrant and foreign contract labourers who are vital to electronics production in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are working in challenging conditions and how this will impact global consumer electronics companies looking to benefit from low labour costs and a growing domestic consumer base for electronics.

This issue is a vital one, as ASEAN is set to become on aggregate the fourth largest economy globally by 2030 and one of the pillars of this growth and global competitiveness is seeking to overtake China as the global manufacturing hub for electrical and electronics equipment (E&E).

Recommendations from the Briefing include that to ensure the economic growth potential of ASEAN and to protect workers, larger and more established global brands must explore the commercial appeal of electronics products based on fair labour conditions. A strong example being that pioneered by fairphone, especially for targeting millennial consumers in an increasingly crowded market. Global electronics companies must follow the likes of H&M, BMW and Bosch in other industries, which have already signed global agreements with trade unions.

Finally, the Briefing recommends that global electronics brands must work with ASEAN to advocate labour policy improvements – particularly in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), where manufacturing is concentrated and where poor working conditions are most prevalent.

Earth Security Group CEO, Alejandro Litovsky, noted, “We believe that highlighting the challenging environment that electronics production workers in ASEAN face will enable the industry to future-proof it’s growth. The electronics sector is crucial to the global competitiveness of the region in the coming years and there is precedent set for global electronics brands to come to agreement with trade unions and shape consumer demand in line with fair conditions.”

The use and value of the report was outlined by its key supporters; Zoe Knight, Group Head, HSBC Centre of Sustainable Finance HSBC commented “This report’s clear and powerful analysis sets out both how to integrate ESG issues strategically and how to focus
on SDG impacts that are material to economic growth. Crucially for SDG implementation, the Earth Security Group has created a framework, which translates the aims set out by the goals into tangible metrics for corporates and investors.”

Donwload the CEO Briefing here.

This briefing is part of the Earth Security Report 2017.