The electronics industry generates economic growth and provides jobs worldwide, but this sector also has its dark side. The recent folder 'buy IT fair - sustainable purchasing of computers' paints a sobering picture of the problems in this industry. Human rights violations and structural labour disputes are the order of the day, to say nothing of the major environmental concerns. These issues encompass the entire life cycle of the computer, from obtaining the raw materials to manufacturing the components to processing IT hardware that has been discarded. 'Buy IT fair' gives a clear and concise account of how governments, companies and other organizations can use their purchasing power to help make the international computer supply chain more sustainable.
The large scale on which governments, companies and other organizations purchase computers gives them considerable purchasing power over the suppliers and producers of IT hardware. SOMO therefore sees sustainable purchasing as an effective means of encouraging computer manufacturers to manage their supply chain sustainably. Better care for the environment, decent working conditions and compliance with the labour laws in the worldwide electronics sector are the ultimate goal of this campaign.
In 2005, the Dutch government expressed the ambition to adopt sustainability as an important criterion for assessing all government purchasing from the start of 2010. However, this ambition has by no means been fulfilled. Criteria for sustainable purchasing of IT hardware have been developed by AgentschapNL (formerly SenterNovem), but SOMO regards these as only a bare minimum. Specific social criteria for the purchasing of computers simply do not exist, despite the enormous problems associated with this industry. Since almost all computers being brought onto the market already have the EnergyStar 5 label required by AgentschapNL, this is clearly not enough.
While the criteria are currently under review, all the evidence suggests that the Dutch government is not setting its standards very high. In order to genuinely make the computer industry more sustainable, more needs to be done. In the folder buy IT fair - sustainable purchasing of computers (only in Dutch), SOMO gives an initial impulse, pointing out which sustainability requirements should be made of computer suppliers in order to bring about improvements in the supply chain. SOMO also suggests how policy makers, purchasers and computer users can exert their influence to make sustainable purchasing a reality.
Buy IT fair - sustainable purchasing of computers gives a clear and concise ccount of how governments, companies and other organizations can use their purchasing power to help make the international computer supply chain more sustainable. This folder is a concise version of the purchasing guide buy IT fair - guideline for the sustainable procurement of computers. This comprehensive purchasing guide shows in practical terms how purchasers can incorporate sustainability requirements in tenders, thereby making a positive contribution towards increasing sustainability in the computer industry.The paper and the purchasing guide are both published as part of Procure IT Fair. This is a campaign by European third sector organizations which advocates sustainable purchasing and which seeks to reach those who produce, purchase, use and make policy on computers, especially in an institutional setting.