The University of Aberdeen has signed up as an affiliate member of Electronics Watch, an organisation that aims to improve working conditions in the global electronics industry.
The decision was made to ensure that employees working for companies supplying ICT equipment to the University are treated fairly, and that the companies themselves operate to an acceptable ethical standard.
Electronics Watch aims to help public sector organisations by being their ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground in areas of the world where their ICT products are made.
In signing up to the watchdog the University has become one of 25 founding members across Europe. Other Institutions to have signed up include the universities of Leeds, Edinburgh and Durham.
Gary McKinnon, Head of Procurement at the University of Aberdeen, welcomed the new partnership.
He said: “We are delighted to become an affiliate member of Electronics Watch, which will help us to meet our own socially responsible procurement standards.
“This partnership will provide the University with enhanced monitoring of our suppliers, helping us to achieve our objective of dealing with companies that treat their employees fairly, pay a reasonable wage and provide acceptable working conditions.
“Our affiliation with Electronics Watch is testament to the commitment of the University in meeting the highest possible ethical and social standards when it comes to procurement.
Jim Cranshaw, campaigner for Electronics Watch at student network People & Planet, said:
"Every day basic workers’ rights are violated in the electronics industry, whilst making goods for the European market. That's why students across the UK are joining the Europe-wide campaign for the public sector to act collaboratively to support workers' rights, through the Sweatshop Free campaign.
“We congratulate the University of Aberdeen on being the latest public body in Europe to take serious action, through joining Electronics Watch. Today Aberdeen has heard the student voice, and is joining the concerted effort. We congratulate them for putting their principles as a University into action."
Dominic O’Hagan, Environmental and Ethical President at the Aberdeen University Students Association (AUSA) said: “I am delighted that the University has taken on board students concerns around ethical procurement.
“The University’s affiliation to Electronics Watch highlights the success that Aberdeen University Students Association has had in presenting a case for ethically run public institutions. “