Photo: Electronics Watch

Utrecht's municipal council has decided to affiliate to Electronics Watch following an initiative by the Green Party (‘GroenLinks’). This independent European monitoring organisation keeps track of labour conditions within the electronics industry. The municipality is walking in the footsteps of other European public purchasers who have rallied forces to stimulate structural improvements among their suppliers of electronics. Utrecht is the first municipality to affiliate to Electronics Watch. The city's university hospital UMC Utrecht has already affiliated.

Photo: Electronics Watch

Utrecht's municipal council has decided to affiliate to Electronics Watch following an initiative by the Green Party (‘GroenLinks’). This independent European monitoring organisation keeps track of labour conditions within the electronics industry. The municipality is walking in the footsteps of other European public purchasers who have rallied forces to stimulate structural improvements among their suppliers of electronics. Utrecht is the first municipality to affiliate to Electronics Watch. The city's university hospital UMC Utrecht has already affiliated.

Jeroen Kreijkamp, member of the City Council said: "Electronics Watch has developed a code of conduct and carries out monitoring activities. It provides very valuable objective information about the electronics supply chain, which helps us engage our own suppliers in a dialogue."

The electronics sector is one of the world's fastest growing industries. But despite its modern and clean image, the sector falls short in terms of labour conditions: extremely long working days, low wages, exposure to poisonous or carcinogenic substances - these are but a few of the problems that plague the industry.

Cities and other public institutions are large-scale users of electronics. Even though many public organisations have expressed their wish for sustainable products, as purchasers, they lack adequate tools to influence the electronics industry.

Pauline Overeem of SOMO, one of the organisations behind Electronics Watch explained: "The combined purchasing power of public institutions is very considerable. If they rally together, they will be able to exert their influence on market players and achieve worldwide structural improvements to labour conditions in the electronics sector. We are therefore delighted that the municipality of Utrecht is taking this step."

With more than 330,000 inhabitants, Utrecht is the Netherlands' fourth city, and is the capital of the province of the same name which has 1.2 million inhabitants.

Electronics Watch
Electronics Watch facilitates socially responsible purchasing of IT hardware by carrying out research, monitoring and improving labour conditions in factories that provide products to public and semi-public European organisations. Hospitals and regional purchasing conglomerates can join this new consortium, as well as municipalities and universities. Electronics Watch offers organisations specific tools and guidance to make their purchase of IT hardware more sustainable. 

Electronics Watch is excited to welcome their first municipality affiliate, and expect others across Europe to shortly follow their example.