Make ICT Fair
On the 1st of November 2017, CATAPA started a new project called “Make ICT Fair” (MIF), together with 10 other partners across Europe. Smartphones, laptops and other electronic devices have become omnipresent in our society. The electronics industry is one of the fastest growing global industries with an expected yearly growth of 9.6 % between 2017 and 2022. Something that many people don’t know about it is the negative impact on labour rights and the environment throughout the entire supply chain, from mineral extraction to assembly to consumption. Make ICT Fair is a project funded by the European Commission that – for the coming 3 years – will campaign on manufacturing and mining in the electronics industry.
What is the problem?
Electronic devices such as smartphones are composed of over 60 different minerals such as tungsten, lithium, cobalt, copper and gold. The extraction of these minerals has negative impacts on the environment, economy and socio-cultural rights of the communities surrounding the mines.
Further along the supply chains, ICT devices are assembled by workers who face multiple human rights abuses including low pay, forced overtime, exposure to dangerous chemicals without adequate protection and restrictions on the right to form and organise trade unions.
Make ICT Fair Campaign
The Make ICT Fair campaign works on several fronts, using various tactics and addressing diverse target groups. Make ICT Fair is composed of 3 main activities: awareness raising, conducting research and lobbying the public sector on procurement, legislation and implementation.
- Awareness raising
Active participation of citizens is key to realising changes in society. A large public campaign is targeting 60 million citizens across Europe through social media, informative activities, workshops, public actions, petitions and much more. Hereby, the campaign tries to raise the level of information and awareness about the global impact of the ICT supply chain. It also sensitizes people on their own role as a consumer. Part of the MIF campaign will be the “change makers’ trajectory”. In this trajectory, change makers across Europe will be trained intensively to take up an active role in this sensitization process as well as in the overall campaign.
The campaigning and awareness raising aspect of Make ICT Fair will be the main focus of CATAPA due to our experience in campaigning (Mining in Paradise, Gold:Fair?) and in involving youth to become active citizens (Generation Transition).
- Advocacy of public bodies to join Electronics Watch
Governments and universities are large-scale consumers of electronics products such as computers, laptops and tablets. In the EU, 1 out of 5 laptops is bought by the public sector. Therefore, the public sector as a whole has considerable leverage as a major consumer. If the entire public sector joins forces, it can create significant leverage to set higher standards and achieve structural improvement in the industry. Therefore, Make ICT Fair will target public sector buyers to let them take up sustainability standards in their tenders for procurement of ICT products, through Electronics Watch. At the same time, monitoring systems are strengthened across the supply chain.
- Continuous monitoring and lobbying of government bodies and Multilateral Development Banks
At European level, legislation is developed on issues affecting the ICT supply chain. The Make ICT Fair partners will analyse and keep close track of the upcoming legislations to press for the integration of sustainability aspects, both at member state and EU level. At the same time, the EU’s multilateral development banks’ investments will be closely monitored and lobbied to adhere to best practices.
- Conducting research on the global ICT supply chain
All of this would not be possible without solid facts about the global ICT industry. Where do the natural resources in electronic devices come from? How did the extraction and the processing happen? Under which conditions have they been assembled? Make ICT Fair will invest considerably in researching the various supply chains as well as specific case studies, to disseminate information to campaign.
Written by Karolien Burvenich, Tuesday, 5th December, 2017
This project is organised with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication is the sole responsibility of CATAPA and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.