University of Sheffield and Sheffield Students’ Union pledge to support electronics supply chain workers

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The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Students’ Union have signed up to Electronics Watch, an auditing organisation that aims to safeguard workers’ rights in the supply chains of electronic products.

The scheme helps public sector organisations meet their responsibility to protect the labour rights and safety of workers in their electronics supply chains more effectively than any single public buyer could accomplish on its own.

The information that Electronics Watch passes to the University will give a far greater understanding of the practices employed in the factories that produce its electronic goods. The University will be working with the SU to monitor and evaluate the impact of the affiliation.

Workers rights abuses in the electronics industry is something we should all be looking to eradicate and we congratulate the University of Sheffield for taking a big step in adding their financial, social and academic power behind the movement to make the manufacturing of electronics fair for all.

Vaughan Fleming, Chair of People and PLanet Sheffield

The affiliation follows a campaign by students’ group People and Planet Sheffield. In a statement, the Sustainability Leads for Academic and Professional Services, Professor Duncan Cameron and Tracy Wray, said:

“The University of Sheffield is committed to ensuring we are buying electronics from responsible companies whose supply chains protect the rights of their workers. We know this is a priority area for many of our students so we are pleased to be able to work with the Students’ Union and People and Planet Sheffield to take action in this area. This illustrates our collaborative approach to sustainability, which enables professional services and academic staff to work closely with students to achieve our shared goals.

“The information and training provided by Electronics Watch will benefit our professional services staff and researchers and ensure that the University continues to use sustainable principles in its procurement operations.”

Megan McGrath, Students’ Union Development Officer, said:

“Sheffield Students' Union passed policy at SU council in 2014 supporting the campaign for the University to affiliate to Electronic Watch.

“After years of campaign by dedicated activist students, I'm so proud to see the University take tangible action on ensuring the electronics they buy are not the result of human rights violations; as one of the first actions as part of the newly formed Sustainability Steering Group, in which the Students' Union has an equal voice alongside two senior University staff members.”

Vaughan Fleming, Chair of People and Planet Sheffield, said:

"We at People & Planet are absolutely delighted with the University of Sheffield's decision to affiliate to Electronics Watch. After three years of campaigning, it is great to see the student voice being listened to by decision makers at the University.”

“Workers rights abuses in the electronics industry is something we should all be looking to eradicate and we congratulate the University of Sheffield for taking a big step in adding their financial, social and academic power behind the movement to make the manufacturing of electronics fair for all.”

Full statement from Academic and Professional Services Leads, Professor Duncan Cameron and Tracy Wray:

The University of Sheffield is committed to ensuring we are buying electronics from responsible companies whose supply chains protect the rights of their workers. We know this is a priority area for many of our students so we are pleased to be able to work with the Students’ Union and People and Planet Sheffield to take action in this area. This illustrates our collaborative approach to sustainability, which enables professional services and academic staff to work closely with students to achieve our shared goals.

The information and training provided by Electronics Watch will benefit our professional services staff and researchers and ensure that the University continues to use sustainable principles in its procurement operations.

Our affiliation to Electronics Watch will be managed by the Department of Procurement and is subject to annual review by the Sustainability Delivery Group.

For further information, please contact:

Josh Barnes
Research and Policy Officer
Secretary to the Sustainability Steering and Delivery Groups
josh.barnes@sheffield.ac.uk
0114 22 28898