A petition calling on the Scottish Government to start monitoring labour standards in its electronics supply chains has gathered over 20,000 signatures in under 48 hours (note 1). Opposition MSPs have also pledged support to the campaign.
The petition, launched by petition site SumOfUs.org and campaigning group People & Planet is calling on the Scottish Government to join a European Information and Communications Technology (ICT) labour standards monitoring group Electronics Watch. The move would ensure that Scottish Government ICT contractors are held into account for labour standards violations in factories that they use to produce ICT equipment.
The Scottish public sector spends £750m per year on ICT equipment, while the Scottish Government spends £150m of its direct annual procurement budget on electronics (Note 1). Through its membership, Electronics Watch monitors 1% of public spending on ICT equipment in Europe. This gives Electronics Watch £1.2 Billion of leverage over the market.
A number of Scottish public sector bodies have already joined electronics Watch including the University of Aberdeen, University of Edinburgh and Advanced Procurement Universities and Colleges. Public Sector giants Transport For London has been one of the most recent affiliates (note 2).
The ICT industry has been tarnished in recent years by a number of scandals, involving majors brands getting caught abusing internationally recognised labour standards (note 3).
Activists from the People & Planet gathered today outside the Scottish Parliament to draw attention to the petition asks. Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson and Green MSP Alison Johnstone joined protesters to call on the Scottish Government to take action and sign up to Electronics Watch.
Patricia Ferguson has lodged a motion in Holyrood (note 4), urging the Government to recognise its responsibility in upholding international labour standards and join the monitoring body.
Patricia Ferguson, Labour MSP, said: “I am sure that the Scottish Government would not knowingly spend taxpayers money on equipment that’s been made in inhumane conditions by underpaid, abused workers. That would be unacceptable, and I hope that the Scottish Government will check out its supply chain and join Electronics Watch.”
“At the moment, the Scottish Government may be spending taxpayers’ money on equipment that’s been made in inhumane conditions by underpaid, abused workers. This is simply unacceptable, and I urge the Government to clean up its act and join Electronics Watch.”
Dominic O’Hagan, Activism & Sweatshop Free Co-ordinator, said: “The Scottish Government has already shown that Scotland can take the lead in supporting workers’ rights by recently becoming a Living Wage Employer. We’re now asking them to recognise the rights and needs of workers further afield.
“The electronics supply chain is tarnished by systematic abuse of workers’ basic rights, and our government must make sure it is playing its part in tackling these violations through our huge collective purchasing clout.
“This petition shows that there is real public demand for Scottish Government to lead the way in ethical electronics supply chains. I hope Scotland will be a good global citizen by becoming the first nation to sign up to Electronics Watch.”
4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again
As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.
Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.
Jars and Containers
Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.
An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.
Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!
If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!
Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!
These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money
The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.
Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.
Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.
Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale
The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.
Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.
Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI
It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.
Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.
Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.
Implementing green changes without a plan
Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.
Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:
- How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
- How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
- How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
- How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?
The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.
Not considering the benefits of green printing
Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.
Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.
According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:
- They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
- They consume less energy than traditional printers.
- They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.
You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.
Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers
Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.
The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.
You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.
Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.