Chinese electronics company Lenovo
has become the first business to have some of its products successfully certified against an upgraded version of a sustainability standard for the IT industry.
Lenovo, which is the world’s second largest personal computer seller by market share behind Hewlett Packard, has been awarded the modified ‘TCO Certified’ label for computers in its ThinkCentre range.
The label is awarded by the Stockholm-based TCO Development organisation, which has been measuring the sustainability of IT products since1992.
However, since March 2011 it has imposed tougher requirements on any company wishing to use the TCO Certified label, and has tightened its demands on social and environmental responsibility in the supply chain.
Among other things, companies that apply for the label now have to demonstrate that they:
• follow the International Labour Organisation’s eight core conventions
• adhere to the United Nations’ International Conventions on Child Labour
• follow all laws on health and safety, workers rights, and minimum wages in the countries in which they operate.
Production facilities of certified companies must also sign ‘commitment agreements’ with TCO Development, agree to maintain an ‘open and continual dialogue’ with the organisation on social and environmental matters, and to submit to yearly and random inspections conducted by an independent third party.
TCO Development has a contract with a various test and verification bodies that carry out audits, but also reviews all audit reports itself before certifying any products.
Lenovo has an Environmentally Conscious Products Programme, which aims to reduce or eliminate potential health hazards by asking suppliers to use ‘environmentally preferable materials’ whenever possible.
It has been a member of the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition since 2006 as well as the EICC’s Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI). It says that 99 per cent of its procurement spend is carried out with suppliers who have agreed to comply with the EICC’s social and environmental guidelines.