Young people are seriously concerned about the social and environmental problems surrounding the production and disposal of their consumer electronics. A majority of young European consumers state that the companies involved should take their responsibility.

”The leadership position for fairly produced consumer electronics is open”, says Irene Schipper from SOMO, the coordinator of the makeITfair network. ”The interesting question is now, which manufacturer will be able to serve this promising niche market first? So far there are no fair electronics on the market.”

The market research was carried out by Dutch Trendbox at the end of 2007 in the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Germany. In total 822 young people between 15 and 35 years of age were interviewed.

The research shows that young people in the Netherlands and Germany are more aware (34% resp. 35%) than their counterparts in Finland (21%) or Sweden (19%) of the social and environmental problems in the electronics life cycle of consumer electronics like laptops, mobile phones and game consoles. Four out of ten respondents were truly shocked by the existing problems like child labour and human rights abuses that take place in the mines producing metals for the electronics industry, the poor working conditions in the electronics factories in Asia and the dumping of e-waste in developing countries.

When informed about the problems related to the supply chain of electronics the young consumers show a high level of involvement: 45% of the respondents say that they are willing to take part in some form of action or campaign in order to make a change. Slightly more than half of the respondents, in each of the countries, state they would be happy to pay 10% more for fairly and responsibly produced electronics. 52% of the interviewed young consumers argue for an import ban on unfair electronics and 72% argue there should be a ban on dumping computers in developing countries.

Young people see the selling and producing companies as highly responsible for the situation: 85% of them state these companies should take action in solving the problems. Currently, none of the market leading consumer electronics companies is dealing sufficiently with the social and environmental problems in its supply chain. At this moment, it can be concluded that there is no fair choice for the growing and already substantial segment of consumers wanting fair products. The Dutch government wants to procure fair computers exclusively by 2010. The question is, which electronics brand will be the first to offer a socially and environmentally fair computer, mobile phone or MP3 player?