“Electronics Supply Networks and Water Pollution in China,” a report recently released by BSR, provides global electronics companies with context for China’s water challenges, discusses results of a supplier risk assessment conducted on behalf of Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) member companies, and presents recommendations and resources for identifying water pollution risks in the global electronics supply chain.
Electronics manufacturing has become an important economic contributor to China’s success, but its rapid growth has come with environmental costs as well, including negative impacts on water quality. As governmental enforcement of wastewater standards improves, along with public awareness and civil society engagement on environmental issues, global companies have a growing need to effectively understand and mitigate potential risks.
“With growing concerns globally and in China about access to water, more and more companies are developing proactive strategies to mitigate water risks,” said Laura Ediger, environmental manager at BSR and co-author of the report. “This study was designed to provide electronics companies with context on China’s water challenges and an initial assessment of known supply chain risks, in order to give them an informed basis for effectively investing time and resources in improvement of supply chain performance.”
For this research, 10 EICC members submitted supplier names to BSR for matching against a publicly available database containing information on corporate environmental violations. BSR’s analysis of the 640 suppliers matched against the database found that:
- There were 33 suppliers with recorded environmental violations in the database, representing approximately five percent of the sample. The majority of these matches were located in the provinces of Jiangsu (39 percent), Guangdong (30 percent), and Shanghai (15 percent).
- Approximately 30 percent of the 33 supplier matches were for supplier names submitted by more than one EICC member company, showing the interconnected nature of the electronics supply chain.
- More than 20 percent of the suppliers with recorded violations had multiple matches, showing the possibility for systemic issues at these companies.
“The EICC recognizes the opportunity to leverage the multiple tiers of the electronic supply chain to identify and address key issues. This report informs our members on water issues in China and provides resources and recommendations for them to consider in addressing their respective supply chains,” said EICC Chairman John Gabriel. “Water quality and availability is rapidly becoming an emerging global issue; the EICC will continue to provide focus on it for our members.”
A leader in corporate responsibility since 1992, BSR works with its global network of more than 250 member companies to develop sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. With offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, BSR uses its expertise in the environment, human rights, economic development, and governance and accountability to guide global companies toward creating a just and sustainable world. Visit www.bsr.org for more information.
About the EICC
The EICC was established in 2004 to improve social, economic, and environmental conditions in the global electronics supply chain through the use of a standardized code of conduct. The EICC was incorporated in 2007 as an association to ensure greater awareness of the Code, and to expand its adoption across the industry. Through the application of shared standards, the EICC believes in better social, economic, and environmental outcomes for all involved in the electronics supply chain. The EICC includes over 45 global electronics companies. For more information or to view the EICC Code of Conduct, visit www.eicc.info. For more information on the work of the EICC, see its latest annual report.