Ethical electronics guide released

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01.The ethics of electronics companies

Man building a piece of electronic equipment

new report, which grades electronics companies from A to F on their ethical behaviour, has been released as part of Baptist World Aid’s Behind the Barcode Series.

None of the 39 companies assessed for the Ethical Electronics Guide achieved the highest grade of A, and two – Hisense and Palsonic – were given an F.

While four companies, Nokia, Apple, LG Electronics and Microsoft, were given a B+, Nokia was the only company able to demonstrate that it paid its workers a living wage. A further nine companies achieved a B grade.

To create the grades, the entire supply chain was assessed through publicly available information and a survey sent to each company - covering everything from extraction to smelting and refining and/or components manufacturing through to final manufacture. Grades were given based on 61 criteria that covered policies, supply chain traceability and transparency, worker rights as well as how well the company monitors its supply chain. 

The report aims to shed light on the issues of child and forced labour used in the manufacture of many electronic products as well as in the extraction of minerals used in them. 

While the report suggests there is much room for improvement in the electronics sector, it also highlights the positive steps taken by many companies in tracing their supply chains. With nine companies receiving an A in this area, the report found that just under half of the companies have traced the majority of their suppliers in their final stage of manufacturing.

Going further down the supply chain however there is a lot more room for improvement, with only 26% having traced the supply chain of component manufacturers and only 18% with partial tracing of mineral extraction. 

CHOICE recently reported on the ethical issues associated with the international clothing supply chain. 



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