ICT-Pact: Joining forces towards circular and fair ICT

Today seven countries are signing the international Circular and Fair ICT Pact. The signatories commit to working together in making laptops and smartphones more sustainable, 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: “We use our iPhones for only eighteen months on average, while it contains many rare materials. Many ICT products have similar short lifespans and we produce so many of them that the ICT sector already causes over two percent of global carbon emissions. There are more challenges in the mining, production and waste of ICT, both in energy and resource use and in poor worker conditions. 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, as well as the Circular Innovation Council in Canada. Talks are already underway with several other countries and procuring organizations to join up as well.

Sustainable ICT market

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 accelerate the process to a sustainable market. Both procuring organizations and government can join the pact.

Procurers who join commit to buying circular and fair where possible, harmonizing their demand and sharing their experiences. Both public and private procuring organizations are welcome.

Buyer groups

Governments commit to bringing together and supporting ICT procurers 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 further boosts the effectiveness of the buyer groups by supporting knowledge sharing between them and connecting them in an international network. The pact also collects best practices and effective procurement criteria to make things as easy as possible for procurers.

Joining forces

On an international level the pact will support a constructive high level dialogue between procurers and the ICT market. Individually procurers are too small to affect the global ICT industry. The pact makes it possible to bring enough collective demand to the table to help the industry chance. Van Veldhoven: "Only in dialogue with the market can we take ICT from its current niche market into the mainstream. In time this could also make sustainable phones and laptops more readily available to consumers."

More information in the Circular and Fair ICT Pact and information on how to join the pact can be found on www.CircularAndFairICTPact.com.