The University of Leeds has become the fourth affiliate of an independent monitoring organisation that aims to protect the rights of electronics workers around the world through socially responsible procurement.
The higher education establishment joins Edinburgh University, the London Universities Purchasing Consortium and the Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges in becoming a founding member of Electronics Watch, a body set up a year ago to work to achieve respect for labour rights in the global electronics sector.
Under the arrangement, the university will have access to text and clause templates that can be inserted into purchasing contracts to push for better standards for workers in the industry, a monitoring database of suppliers and investigations, the Electronics Watch Code of Labour Standards, training and support and a disclosure form for suppliers.
“We are committed to improving the sustainability of our supply chain and Electronics Watch gives us the opportunity to support meaningful change, in an industry that suffers from poor working conditions,” Dennis Hopper, director of facilities management at Leeds University said.
“Addressing these issues aligns closely with our university values and we are looking forward to working in a pro-active way to make a difference in this area. We are proud to be founding members and hope we are soon joined by partners from across the European Union.”
Emma Simpson, a student at the university, added: “Universities have a very close relationship to the electronics industry, buying up thousands of products each year, so it's an extremely positive step forward to ensure that the equipment we're using at Leeds is sourced ethically, with workers' rights at the forefront of our decision making. I'm really excited to see the university commit to a more socially responsible buying policy, and I hope that this will inspire other institutions to do the same. Together, we can bring about real change in an industry with appalling labour rights abuses."