Hanze University of Applied Sciences is set to become the first Dutch institution of higher education to affiliate to Electronics Watch – an independent monitoring organisation helping public organisations source socially responsible IT products.
Hanze University of Applied Sciences – the first Fairtrade-certified university in the Netherlands – now joins the University Medical Center Utrecht and the city of Utrecht as an affiliate of Electronics Watch. Electronics Watch has affiliates in Spain and England, including educational institutions, procurement consortia and London’s main transport body, Transport for London.
The electronics industry is one of the world’s fastest growing sectors. Despite its modern and high-tech image, working conditions in factories are often inadequate, including in assembly plants where finished products are made, as well in the supply chain of components. Key issues include long working hours, low pay, exposure to toxic and carcinogenic substances, severe curtailment of freedom of association, and exploitation of student workers.
Electronics Watch is facilitating socially responsible public procurement of ICT hardware in Europe through research, monitoring, and improvement of working conditions in the factories that supply organisations in the (semi) public sector. Hospitals, educational institutions, municipalities as well as procurement consortia may join Electronics Watch, which provides organisations with concrete tools and guidance sustainable procurement of IT hardware.
Electronics Watch affiliates currently have a combined purchasing power of approximately € 1.3 billion, showing clearly that the public sector collectively has a significant leverage.
SOMO researcher Pauline Overeem says:
“It is wonderful that Hanze University of Applied Sciences has taken this step. More educational institutions and other organisations in the Netherlands should now follow this good example. The public sector has considerable purchasing power, and each new affiliate will enable Electronics Watch to more effectively exert influence on the market and work towards the structural improvement of working conditions.”