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We will all benefit from responsible electronics supply chains

The EU recently voted for promising legislation on supply chain transparency and accountability. If this legislation is adopted by the EU commission it would be amazing news for the environment and people. If adopted, manufacturers would have to take more responsibility for environmental and human rights issues buried in their supply chains.

This is especially needed for electronics supply chains – their international nature and complexity link them to serious human rights issues and environmental destruction. There is a catch to this hidden destruction, that is easy to forget. These issues in supply chains come with a price tag for everyone.

If we fail to invest – we all pay

We know that climate change is costly. We are paying for the droughts, flooding, and loss of prosperity over a long stretch of time. The same is true for human rights abuses and destabilised countries – people there are paying a price for being part of a global supply chain that doesn’t treat them fairly. In the end, we all pay for dirty supply chains, but we don’t all pay equally. The people that are mining the minerals for our products are often also in areas that are most affected by climate change.

If we factored in these hidden costs of environmental destruction and unfairness into our electronic products, electronics would be far more expensive. It’s a price that manufacturers are allowed to ignore. Instead, we all pay for it. Electronics cause ever-growing CO2-emissions, illegal gold mining is the leading cause for deforestation in the Amazon, and millions of people who mine the minerals for our electronics work in dangerous environments, are badly paid and are at risk of forced labour.

If we don’t invest in making electronics supply chains more sustainable and fair, we all pay the price. In the form of climate change, economic and social instability, and environmental pollution. These “costs” are already affecting the people that produce our electronics and the people that buy them.

However, investing in fairer supply chains will be good for everyone. For the people that make them in the form of better pay, safer work environments, and fair treatment and for everyone by avoiding environmental disaster.   

It shouldn’t be legal to ignore human rights and environmental problems in electronics supply chains

Even if we have to pay a premium for fairness and sustainability in supply chains – that premium is outweighed by the environmental and social benefits that investments produce. This can produce real economic and social gains that will leave everyone better off.

It is upsetting that big manufacturers still lobby against legislation like this – and refuse to act responsibly. While they are making enough profits to be able to easily change their sourcing. Their power also means that legislation like this the one proposed by the EU often gets watered down. 

We need better legislation and more sustainable and fair alternatives

This is why we have decided that we will already take more responsibility and treat the EU legislation seriously before it is national law. We are producing an electronic product with a researched and fairer supply chain – to show that supply chain transparency, accountability, and high-quality products can be beneficial for everyone.  

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