Electronics Watch joins CFIT as a supporting organization

Electronics Watch, a network of public buyers and civil society organizations, has recently joined CFIT as a supporting organization. CFIT is very pleased to have Electronics Watch on board.

Addressing working conditions in the long and complex ICT supply chain is one of the newer topics of sustainable procurement, says Marieke Weerdesteijn, Programme manager of CFIT. “Electronics Watch and its partners have valuable experience, that no doubt will support CFIT and its participants in finding solutions to better incorporate due diligence and transparency in procurement of ICT – which are two of the commitments of the CFIT Framework”. Peter Pawlicki, Director of Education and Outreach at Electronics Watch, discusses the motivations for Electronics Watch's partnership with CFIT, and their vision for fostering a socially responsible supply chain.

Ethical procurement: the power of cooperation and leverage

Central to Electronics Watch's mission is the profound belief in the value of cooperation. Pawlicki highlights the significance of collaboration among public buyers, civil society organizations, and stakeholders across regions, empowering affiliated public buyers to establish robust social standards within their supply chains. This approach enhances the ability of procuring organizations to engage with suppliers, driving positive transformation throughout the industry. Working closely with the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), brands, and manufacturers involved in the electronics supply chains of their affiliated public buyers, Electronics Watch is committed to evidence-driven remediation that prioritizes workers as rights-holders.

Aligning with CFIT

Electronics Watch became a supporting organization of CFIT due to its strong commitment to collaboration and continuous improvements in sustainability within the ICT sector. For Pawlicki, the key to progress lies in fostering circular and fair ICT products, and CFIT's participants present an opportunity to drive advancements in circularity across the entire ICT supply chain. By joining as a supporting organization, Electronics Watch  will contribute to the success of the Pact by actively sharing its knowledge and experience, engaging in fruitful dialogues with both CFIT participants and other supporting organizations. Their primary objective is to play a meaningful role in the ambitious procurement strategies pursued by public and private procurers of ICT products.

Commitment to transparency and improvement

Since its establishment in 2016, Electronics Watch has experienced rapid growth, now counting over 900 affiliated public buyers across 11 countries in Europe and Australia. Through this extensive network, it grants its affiliated buyers unprecedented transparency into supply chains, monitoring reports, and remediation processes. Collaborating with local civil society organizations, Electronics Watch employs a worker-driven monitoring methodology to collect reliable data on risks and rights violations, leading to tangible improvements for workers in the electronics industry. At the core of Electronics Watch's philosophy is the recognition of workers as rights-holders. In their worker-driven monitoring methodology, public buyers play a crucial role, understanding that upholding workers' rights extends beyond compliance checks.  Pawlicki envisions a future of ethical procurement in the electronics industry, placing great importance on clear and robust requirements that surpass minimum standards and compliance. To realize this vision, the organization has developed contract conditions for its affiliates to incorporate in public procurement.

Recommendations for procuring organizations

As a final point, Pawlicki recommends procuring organizations to take the first step by starting to collaborate. By learning from one another, avoiding duplication of efforts, and developing stronger leverage within supply chains, public buyers can drive positive change, fostering an environment of ethical procurement in the electronics industry. This is exactly what CFIT aims for. In the second half of this year, a Community of Practice will be launched, facilitated by HIVA/KULeuven, that focuses particularly on transparency and due diligence. Sharing experiences, challenges and getting input from experts all help to reinforce our impact!