Criteria in TCO Certified – Socially Responsible Manufacturing

Our criteria for socially responsible manufacturing create a framework that the IT industry can use to continuously and systematically improve working conditions in manufacturing facilities. The aim is to promote sustainable development in IT product manufacturing, specifically focusing on long-term improvement of working environments and conditions.

It is difficult for individuals to know what socially responsible manufacturing criteria they may reasonably specify and what measures will be needed to address non-conformities. TCO Certified is a system that helps you define relevant sustainability criteria with tools that establish a code of conduct, carry out factory audits and follow-up non-conformities with tailored corrective action plans.

Here’s what’s included in the criteria

The criteria are based on international guiding standards as well as legislation in the countries where manufacturing is located. In this way we are able to offer a structured process that helps drive, implement and follow up social responsibility improvements in the manufacturing of IT products.

  • Product manufacturing must follow ILO’s eight Core Conventions
  • Product manufacturing must follow the national laws for worker rights, health and safety in the country of manufacture.
  • Product manufacturing must follow the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 32
  • Product manufacturing must follow the national laws for minimum wage and social security in the country of manufacture
The criteria of TCO Certified for socially responsible manufacturing are centred around the brand’s responsibility for improved working conditions during the manufacturing phase. The objective of the criteria is to create improvements resulting in responsibility, structure and transparency.

Criteria in TCO Certified – Socially Responsible Manufacturing

Our tools for verifying socially responsible manufacturing

Continuous efforts to verify compliance are essential in assessing progress towards the criteria of TCO Certified for socially responsible manufacturing.

We have put in place the following three tools for managing and verifying compliance with the criteria:

1. Code of Conduct
The brand is responsible for ensuring that a strict code of conduct is in place and is communicated throughout the supply chain. The brand submits written proof that the code of conduct includes the TCO Certified criteria for socially responsible manufacturing. This information is sent to an accredited specialist third party appointed by TCO Development for review and verification of the brand’s compliance with the social criteria.

2. Third party factory audit
An independent third party carries out factory audits to verify that the brand’s code of conduct is implemented at factories where TCO Certified products are made.

3. Corrective action plan to address non-conformities
A corrective action plan (CAP) is submitted, addressing any non-conformities identified during the factory audit

The TCO Certified criteria also include follow-up spot checks of certified IT products and their manufacturing facilities for the purpose of continuously encouraging brand commitment and verifying compliance with the criteria.

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What do we want the criteria to achieve?

The criteria of TCO Certified for socially responsible manufacturing are centred around the brand’s responsibility for improved working conditions in the manufacturing phase. This includes complying with working environment and labour law legislation in the country of manufacture and following the eight ILO Core Conventions and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

By measuring progress towards the following three goals, we are able to monitor improvements in sustainable development during the manufacturing phase of IT products:
1. Increased brand responsibility
An important first step is to define who is ultimately responsible for the social conditions in the manufacturing of IT products. TCO Certified clarifies the role of the brand as responsible for the factory working conditions in the manufacturing of those products intended for TCO Certified. The brand is required to clearly indicate this in their code of conduct.

2. Structured efforts in social responsibility
In order to bring about continual and measurable improvements in working conditions, TCO Certified offers a structured methodology for gradual improvement, using a minimal compliance requirement as a baseline. Our program consists of regular third party reviews of working conditions in factories where certified products are manufactured, as well as evaluations of corrective action plans that are designed to address any instances of non-compliance with the criteria.

3. Increased transparency between industry and stakeholders
Open communication between brands, manufacturers, monitoring organizations and other stakeholders is key in bringing about mutual understanding, improved relations and better working conditions. TCO Certified contributes to increasing this transparency by sharing relevant information with stakeholders about our findings, factory audits, codes of conduct and the effectiveness of corrective action plans.

Even with the current sustainability criteria and all of the checks, we cannot exclude the possibility of problems in the manufacturing of TCO Certified products. However, one important difference from non-certified products is that all instances of non-compliance with the criteria that are discovered must be corrected in order for the certificate to remain active. This is monitored by an independent third party.

Here’s what you can do about socially responsible manufacturing

By specifying the latest version of TCO Certified when buying IT products you’re contributing by raising demand for products that are manufactured under more responsible conditions. Your specifications can lead to continued improvements in conditions for the workers making the products you buy, most of which are based in Asia.

Read more about how specify sustainability requirements in your IT purchasing.

Documents

SR Questionnaire
SR Assessment Guidelines

Complete criteria for socially responsible manufacturing can be found in part A:7 in the full criteria document for each eligible product category. To view, select a product category.  TCO Certified Displays, TCO Certified Notebooks, TCO Certified Tablets, TCO Certified Smartphones, TCO Certified Desktops och TCO Certified All-In-One PCs.

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