This week, the University of Groningen (RUG) became the first Dutch university to join Electronics Watch, an independent European organisation that monitors working conditions in the electronics industry. Through Electronics Watch, the University of Groningen will encourage its suppliers to implement structural improvements in working conditions at the factory level.

The electronics industry is one of the world’s fastest growing sectors. Working conditions in the industry are severe:  extremely long working days, poverty wages and exposure to toxic carcinogens are just some of the problems in the sector. Electronics Watch is present in many Western and in most manufacturing countries.

Jan de Jeu, Vice President of the University of Groningen, signed the cooperation: “In the context of the RUG’s ambitions for sustainability, we consider it important to be careful when purchasing items. That is why we are entering into the contract with Electronics Watch.”

SOMO is one of the founders of Electronics Watch.

Eelco Fortuijn (representative of Electronics Watch Netherlands): “We are very pleased with this first Dutch university among our participants. We hope the rest will follow. The University of Groningen is known for its leading role in many areas, including sustainability and fair trade. In particular, we are pleased that we can now also negotiate on behalf of the University of Groningen with brands and factories. This enables us to work more strongly on improving working conditions in ICT factories.”