Electronic devices have become essential to the way we live and work. As the electronics industry has grown, so too have the problems in electronics supply chains. Child labour in the mining of gold used in mobile phones, excessive work hours in factories, the use of toxic chemicals which threaten the health and lives of workers – just a few examples of the problems in the industry.

With our expertise in corporate research and supply chain accountability, we aim to improve conditions in the electronics industry. Alongside of research, we facilitate cooperation between civil society organisations. We host the global GoodElectronics network, a network of trade unions, NGOs, activists, and researchers contributing to human rights and sustainability in the global electronics industry.

We also help develop initiatives that directly address the problems in electronics supply chains. We are one of the initiators of Electronics Watch, an independent monitoring organisation working to achieve respect for labour rights in the global electronics industry through socially responsible public procurement in Europe.

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the bigger picture

Sustainable Supply Chains

Many of the problems facing people in middle and low income countries (indirectly) result from the practices and policies of multinational corporations at the end of the supply chain.

This can be seen in the supply chains of the garment industry, electronics sector, food production and pharmaceutical industry.

Bad working conditions and unsustainable practices

Many people in these sectors are working under inhumane and dangerous conditions with little or no respect for labour rights or environmental standards. Excessive hours, low wages and precarious employment conditions are common in supply chains of the garments, electronics and food sectors. It’s no coincidence that those who are especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation – migrants, young people and women – are heavily employed in these sectors.

Binding regulations and good practices

Together with trade unions and other civil society organisations, SOMO presses for the promotion and protection of the rights of workers, communities and individuals in all stages of supply chains. SOMO pushes for regulation, policies and practices that ensure decent work and sustainability, including legally enforceable corporate accountability mechanisms and a leading role for workers in monitoring and ensuring improvement of workplace conditions. SOMO promotes sustainable public procurement which, by mobilising the massive purchasing power of the public sector, can bring about structural improvements in supply chains.

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