University of Edinburgh commits to responsible electronics

The University of Edinburgh has become the first high education institution in the UK to become a member of Electronics Watch. Electronics Watch is an EU-funded independent monitoring organisation working to achieve respect for labour rights in the global electronics industry through socially responsible public purchasing in Europe. The University becomes a founding affiliated member of Electronics Watch exactly ten years after it became Scotland’s first Fairtrade University.

University of Edinburgh commits to responsible electronics

The University of Edinburgh has become the first high education institution in the UK to become a member of Electronics Watch. Electronics Watch is an EU-funded independent monitoring organisation working to achieve respect for labour rights in the global electronics industry through socially responsible public purchasing in Europe. The University becomes a founding affiliated member of Electronics Watch exactly ten years after it became Scotland’s first Fairtrade University.

“We celebrated Scotland’s first anniversary as a Fair Trade Nation this year.” says Karen Bowman, the University’s Director of Procurement.

“It is fitting that we continue to engage with producers and providers of our goods and services by joining Electronics Watch as part of our long standing commitment to work with our students on global challenges in poverty.”

"It is great that the University of Edinburgh have taken this step in becoming the first UK university to join Electronics Watch, with other universities following closely behind." said Jim Cranshaw of People & Planet, key UK partners in this international collaboration.

"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 are leading the way."

In joining the organisation, the University will encourage electronics suppliers to disclose factory locations so that labour conditions can be monitored. Country profiles, thematic research, factory surveys and investigative reports will help to demonstrate whether codes of conduct are being met.

"We want to become the world’s first socially responsible university," said Dave Gorman, the University’s first Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability.

"This means that we need to consider our impact in our investments, purchases, and in all of our activities.”

In 2004, the University of Edinburgh became the first Fairtrade University in Scotland, affiliated with the Workers’ Rights Consortium in 2012 to ensure labour standards in clothing, and is currently reviewing its investment strategy.