Durham University has joined Electronics Watch, the organisation that supports the rights of workers in the electronics industry.
By joining Electronics Watch, Durham University will push for better conditions for workers in the supply chains of brands it has contracts with, and gain independent worker-led monitoring of their factories.
Durham University quoted figures from the Universities UK Efficiency and Modernisation Task Group stating that universities spend £10 billion per year on buying products and services, and one of their biggest costs is Information and Communications Technology.
Many computers, laptops, tablets and phones used by university students and staff are made in China, Vietnam and Thailand, where “there are serious and sustained abuses of labour rights”, the university said.
Durham University’s deputy director of procurement Laura Watson, said the university was committed to social responsibility.
“We have already signed up to the Worker Rights Consortium, an organisation that protects workers in the garments industry,” she said. “We are also a Fairtrade University. We have the opportunity to influence improvements and protect workers in the global electronics industry which is the reason we are now affiliated to Electronics Watch”.