News | 17 March 2015

Fair IT: Germanwatch promotes challenge to electronic industry to protect workers properly

GoodElectronics Network and International Campaign for Responsible Technology (ICRT) demand less use of chemicals and more rights in production

Working in IT-production can entail lethal consequences: workers are often exposed to hazardous chemicals and suffer from a higher cancer risk. Therefore, Germanwatch supports a challenge presented to the electronic industry to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals and to guarantee a better protection of workers and environment. This challenge, led by the Good Electronic Network and the International Campaign for Responsible Technology (ICRI) to the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), is supported by over 200 civil society, labour and environmental groups.

The occassion was a meeting of the EICC on March 16 in Brussels, where it consulted about its chemical management strategies.

In order to fulfil their corporate responsibility, IT-companies such as Samsung are challenged to be transparent and provide full materials disclosure, including what chemicals are being used and discharged. Furthermore, a better worker protection as well as participation rights are being demanded. Workers shall be able to refuse hazardous work without fear of retaliation and, if affected, the right to receive just compensation. That this was not the case up to now show reports of human rights organisations, e.g. in South Korea, where the cancer of several workers in a Samsung chip plant is not acknowledged as a case of occupational disease.

Not only people, but also the environment shall be sufficiently protected by EICC: hazardous materials used in manufacturing throughout the product lifecycle is to be assessed and replaced with safer alternatives. Also, the companies are asked to conduct effective, transparent, independent monitoring of all discharge streams.

The overarching goal of the challenge is sustainable production in the IT-branche that is healthy, environmentally sound, just – and, above all, not life-threatening.

>> More information about the challenge
>> Statement of ICRT and GoodElectronics