Electronics Industry Outlines Next Steps Against Forced Labor in Malaysia
ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 7, 2015 /3BL Media/ –The Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), a nonprofit coalition of leading electronics companies dedicated to supply chain responsibility, today announced that it will conduct shadow audits and increase its industry and government engagement in Malaysia to further combat forced labor.
The EICC has been working for more than a decade to support the rights and wellbeing of workers and communities worldwide affected by the global electronics supply chain. While the EICC Code of Conduct explicitly bans trafficked and forced labor, completely eradicating it in the global electronics industry supply chain remains a challenge for everyone – including EICC members.
Some of the ongoing challenges faced by government and industry in trying to protect workers were highlighted recently by international nonprofit Verité in a new report on forced labor among foreign migrant workers in Malaysia’s electronics industry. The EICC has since published a position paper that outlines how it has been proactively working to address these issues and next steps, including:
- The shadowing of audit firms operating in Malaysia over the next few weeks to confirm that EICC audit protocols are being strictly followed
- Continued collaboration with foreign and U.S. government officials, industry, non-government organizations and other stakeholders
- The establishment of a traffic and bonded taskforce to continue to draw attention to this important challenge facing its membership.
“We are continuing to evolve our approach as an industry to better protect these workers, including taking steps to strengthen our Code of Conduct and audit requirements as well as engage government and civil society groups to evaluate and address structural challenges in the systems of recruitment and management for these workers,” said Rob Lederer, Executive Director, EICC.
In 2014, EICC members voted to strengthen the Code of Conduct in 2015 to expand protections for workers around freely chosen employment. These changes, which go into effect on April 1, 2015, include more specific language on restrictions of worker freedom of movement, including the holding of passports; defining “excessive fees;” and adding requirements on issuing contracts at the time of hire, in the worker’s native language, before they depart from their country of origin.
The Validated Audit Process (VAP) is a signature component of the EICC’s Code of Conduct and certifies members’ commitments to transparency and fair labor practices. It can also be a key tool in the fight against forced labor in the electronics industry. Established in 2009, the VAP program has completed thousands of audits, conducted risk assessments on over 4,000 facilities around the world, finalized its fifth audit protocol, and released its first comprehensive findings report. These audits are often shared among members, many of which share suppliers and can benefit from benchmarking and collaborative practices.
For more on how the industry is working to eradicate forced labor in the electronics supply chain, read the EICC position paper.
About the EICC
The EICC is a nonprofit coalition of leading electronics companies dedicated to the social, environmental and ethical responsibility of their supply chains. Our members commit and are held accountable to a common Code of Conduct and utilize a range of training and assessment tools to support continuous improvement. The EICC is comprised of more than 100 electronics companies, representing 17 different sectors from consumer brands to smelters, with combined annual revenue of approximately $3 trillion, and directly employing over 5.5 million people. For more information, visit www.eiccoalition.org and follow us on Twitter: @eiccoalition.