The demand for IT products that have been manufactured in a fair and environmentally sustainable way is growing, but many sustainability issues in the IT industry are difficult to solve. The new report Impacts and Insights 2019 presents a number of keys to faster and more lasting change.
Impacts and Insights 2019 measures sustainability progress among brand owners with IT products certified according to the global sustainability certification TCO Certified. The study includes 20 factories in Asia and South America, that have been audited twice during the time period 2015-2018. In the initial audits, 109 non-conformities to the criteria in TCO Certified were found and by the second audit, 84 of these, or 77 per cent, were eliminated. Substantial improvements in factory working conditions have been made, affecting approximately 46,600 workers. However, excessive working hours and low wage levels are remaining challenges.
The report states that, in order to solve these problems, factories must be required to make effective corrective action plans that are followed up regularly by independent auditors. Many issues, in particular within the area of health and safety, have a tendency to return. To avoid factory workers being exposed to the same hazard again, root causes must be found and corrective actions must be monitored also after closure.
Industry engagement is key to solving sustainability problems. Brand owners and factories need to allocate enough resources to their sustainability work. During the time period measured in the report, 2015-2018, awareness and engagement in sustainability grew among both brand owner senior management and factory management, leading to faster progress and stricter requirements on sub-suppliers.
The report also points out that change happens faster when brand owners using shared suppliers join together and place the same requirements on the factory owner. TCO Development has insight into the IT product supply chain and can coordinate IT brands to put pressure on shared suppliers as a collective effort.
About the report Impacts and Insights 2019
- The new report Impacts and Insights 2019 from TCO Development measures the sustainability progress among brand owners with IT products certified according to TCO Certified.
- The measured time period is 2015-2018 and findings are based on independent factory audits at 20 final assembly factories manufacturing certified products, independent verification reports, and interviews with brand owner senior management representatives.
- The report covers three main areas: social responsibility in final assembly factories, hazardous substances and conflict minerals.
About TCO Certified
With over 25 years of experience, TCO Certified is the world-leading sustainability certification for IT products. Our comprehensive criteria are designed to drive social and environmental responsibility throughout the product life cycle. Covering eight product categories including displays, computers and mobile devices, compliance is independently verified, both pre and post certification.