Verité’s report on slavery in Malaysian supply chains prompted EICC to clamp down on recruitment fees. Now it is urging other sectors to follow
The electronics industry is one of the most vulnerable to forced labour because of its extensive use of migrant labour in countries such as China and Malaysia, and the fact that each brand has many thousands of suppliers.
But it also has one of the longest standing industry-wide efforts to tackle it. In 2004 eight companies, Dell, Hewlett Packard, and IBM and some of their large tier one suppliers, got together to agree a common code of conduct.
What began as the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct evolved into the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), which today has 110 members, including electronics, retail, auto and toy companies, and thousands of tier one suppliers required to implement the code of conduct.
Rob Lederer, executive director of the coalition, told Ethical Corporation that the code is backed up with an online risk assessment tool to rate suppliers, and a robust auditing programme for those judged high risk. “We require members to do risk assessment on 80% of their spend,” he says. “What’s unique is that we represent the entire supply chain, brands, contract manufacturers and component manufacturers.”