Sustainability initiative targets PRD electronics industry
The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) has launched a new program of working with electronics factories in China to support the development of innovative workforce management practices and to implement sustainability and better business performance.
The launch event in Shenzhen was attended by nearly 200 representatives from major US and European brands, supplier factories based in China, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations and representatives from the Guangdong Province Government.
"IDH's innovative approach is that we partner with leading brands such as Philips, Dell and HP as well as their strategic suppliers to develop with various influential civil society organizations an overarching, actionable road-map for a sustainable future of the electronics supply base in China," said IDH program director Ted van der Put. "Between now and 2015, we will progressively and collectively work to create platforms for transforming to mainstream sustainable production and sourcing."
Commenting on the initiative Sonny Kwok, chief purchasing officer for Philips Consumer Lifestyle and head of Supplier Sustainability, said: “Philips has a strong supply base in China, particularly in the Pearl River Delta. As the industry matures and labor shortages increase, we recognize the need to pay more attention to Chinese working conditions in particular through better worker management dialogue.
"The IDH program provides a great opportunity to improve working conditions and at the same time, support our Chinese suppliers in elevating their environmental performance as well as their competitiveness."
INFACT Global Partners has been selected as program co-ordinator and executive facilitator to drive the implementation. INFACT will bring together the best trainers, coaches and consultants in China to help improve working conditions, communication and overall factory operations in each of the 100 factories.
"The only way to bring about sustainable change is to immerse ourselves at the factory level and bring workers and management together to identify and solve collective concerns and problems," said Ian Spaulding, managing director of INFACT. "Our aim will be to help each factory adopt world class workforce management techniques and environmental practices while helping bring the worker voice to the surface."
Over the next three months, INFACT and the implementation team will introduce the program to an initial group of 15 factories. The results will be evaluated in the second quarter of 2012 and refinements incorporated. The program will then be extended to an additional 45 factories in 2012. By 2013, 100 factories are expected to be participating in the program.