This paper analyses the current governance framework concerning mineral supply chains of electronic devices.
This is about ten years after leading IT companies began in 2007 to fund research to investigate the impact of mineral sourcing for IT devices, which established a connection between their products and human rights abuses.
Coolproducts, a coalition of environmental NGOs, with the support of over 30 stakeholders across Europe and beyond (including Germanwatch), urge Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, to regulate smartphones by 2021 with requirements that will make smartphones more energy efficient and more durable, repairable and recyclable.
Together with 126 civil society organzations we are calling on the Council to listen not only to the European Parliament, but also to the many activists, investors, civil society, and citizens that have called for a strong and effective EU law. At a minimum, this means a regulation that covers companies that import into the EU minerals in their raw form as well as companies that import products containing these minerals.
The 2015 G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau was ground-breaking in that G7 leaders for the first time discussed such supply chain responsibility. They pledged to promote “responsible supply chains”, and strongly supported the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The G7 leaders also stressed the need to increase transparency, the identification and prevention of human rights risks, and the strengthening of grievance mechanisms to promote better working conditions, and urged the private sector to implement human rights due diligence. These commitments were made under the leadership of Japan and Germany, as current and preceding G7 chair.
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.
Flashmob, hidden theatre, public installation – creative actions get more attention, are more interactive and offer a fresh way of communicating sometimes rather tedious political issues.