University of Leicester joins campaign to boost labour standards in ICT supply chain

Posted by pt91 at Oct 07, 2015 11:23 AM |
Announcement from Electronics Watch

Issued by People and Planet in October 2015

• University of Leicester affiliates to Electronics Watch

• Reports into public bodies demonstrate public money spent on ICT corporations complicit in labour rights abuses

• The University joins growing number of public bodies who are working towards better labour conditions for workers

The University of Leicester has affiliated to the labour rights monitoring consortium Electronics Watch (note 1). By affiliating, the University commits to monitoring labour standards compliance of companies that supply its computers, laptops and other electronic goods.

The University joins a growing number of public bodies who share concerns over poor labour standards in the ICT supply chain. Numerous reports on labour rights abuses and sweatshop conditions have highlighted the need for increased monitoring and improvement of workers' conditions (note 2).

The public purchase of goods and services has been estimated to account for 16% of EU GDP (note 3). Universities alone spend £10 billion on procurement of goods and services a year, with ICT as one of the greatest annual expenditures (note 4), making them one of the industry's most important consumers.

Electronics Watch is an independent workers' rights monitoring organisation. By joining Electronics Watch, The University of Leicester are pushing for better conditions for workers in the supply chains of the brands it has contracts with, and support monitoring of the factories they use.

Jim Cranshaw, People and Planet:

'We are absolutely delighted that the University of Leicester is using its leverage and is pushing for ethical supply chains in its ICT contacts. The University of Leicester has highlighted how public bodies, in particular universities, can take a positive and effective stand against sweatshop conditions. I look forward to more universities and public bodies joining the growing demand for a sweatshop free future and signing up to Electronics Watch.'

James Trotter, University of Leicester Procurement Manager:

'Affiliation to Electronics Watch is a major step forward in bringing our new Procurement Strategy to life. Sustainability is central to our strategy, and so having access to contract conditions that set workers’ rights along our IT hardware supply chains, as well as a monitoring network for checking compliance with these standards, is entirely in keeping with our ambition.'

Edmund Spanner, Student Activist

'I am glad that the University has listened to students and is affiliating to Electronics Watch. Universities have a duty to make sure they are actively promoting values that public education should be about: fairness, cooperation and solidarity. Today I'm proud to say that I am a student here.'

Notes to editors:

1. For more information, please visit the website

2. Electronics Watch, Report: Winds of Change.

3. European Commission, Public Procurement.

4. Universities UK, Efficiency and effectiveness in higher education

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