Today seven countries are signing the international Circular and Fair ICT Pact. The signatories commit to working together in making laptops and smartphones more circular and fair through procurement. The Dutch Minister for the Environment, Stientje van Veldhoven has initiated the pact. Belgium is co-lead.
Minister Van Veldhoven:
“ICT is a powerful driver for our modern society. At the same time I see many challenges in mining, production and waste of ICT, both in energy and resource use and in worker conditions. On average we use an iPhone for only eighteen months, while it contains many rare materials. Many products have similar short lifespans and we produce so many that the ICT sector already causes over two percent of global carbon emissions. I believe we have to change course. That is why I have taken the initiative for the ICT Pact. With this pact we strive towards circular ICT products in a transparent value chain where worker rights are being protected.”
The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland have all signed the pact today. In addition, talks are underway with several other countries like Canada to join up as well.
The aim of the pact is to create a network of procurers all contributing to a large collective demand for circular and fair laptops and smartphones. This in turn helps ICT producers change their business and accelerates new innovations. Together we can accelerate the process.
Both procuring organizations and government can join the pact. Procurers who join, commit to harmonizing their demand where possible and sharing their experiences. Governments commit to bringing together and supporting procurers of smartphones and laptops within their own country in so-called buyer groups. These groups promote knowledge sharing and a collective market approach. This approach has proven successful in boosting circular procurement success in the Netherlands and Belgium. The pact boosts this effect by supporting knowledge sharing between buyer groups in different countries to create an international network. The pact also collects best practices and effective procurement criteria to make things as easy as possible for procurers.
On an international level the pact will support a constructive high level dialogue between procurers and the ICT market. Van Veldhoven:
“Only by working together can we boost circular and fair ICT from its current niche market into the mainstream. Individually we are too small to affect the global market. Only if we join forces as procurers can we bring enough collective demand to the table to help the industry chance its game. In time this could also make sustainable phones and laptops more readily available to consumers.”
More information on the Circular and Fair ICT Pact.