1st Electronics Sector Roundtable Convenes in India

SAI & Cividep joint roundtable draws a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss challenges in the sector, and a collective path forward

January 2013

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Participants engaged in a stakeholder mapping activity. To view more photos, visit facebook.com/socialaccountabilityinternational

On November 30, 2012, SAI and the Bangalore-based NGO Cividep convened a multi-stakeholder roundtable to enable social dialogue on challenges in the electronics sector and discuss effective implementation of workplace standards. The meeting sought to build the capacity of all stakeholders to understand the underlying challenges of the sector and to find collective solutions.

Electronics is a rapidly growing sector in India, pulling in an estimated $45 billion in 2011 and employing more than 4 million people. "As this sector continues to boom, stakeholders have a collective responsibility to be conscious of the implications on labor, environment, health & safety and e-recycling," said SAI India Project Director, Rishi Sher Singh. "We need to ensure a sustainable supply chain by proactive actions, when trying to meet the growing demands for products such as computers, mobile phones, medical equipment etc. Social dialogue's consensus-based process is a much needed step for sustainable Indian manufacturing."  

Twenty-one people representing a diverse mix of sectors participated -- civil society organizations, trade unions, international organizations, companies and manufacturers. The roundtable was coordinated and facilitated by SAI India Project Director Rishi Sher Singh and Cividep's Corporate Accountability Advisor, Laura Ceresna- Chaturvedi. SAI's Training Coordinator Stephanie Wilson and SAI Europe Representative Edwin Koster also attended.

The roundtable discussion addressed several points:

  1. the need for social dialogue;
  2. stakeholder mapping;
  3. priorities of the sector;
  4. voices of workers -- including a guest speaker employed in a major manufacturing unit near Chennai
  5. contract labor issues
  6. UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights -- including a presentation by Mr. Koster; and
  7. special economic zones (SEZs) -- including guest speaker Ms. Ramapriya Gopalakrishnan

SAI and Cividep expect to convene future multi-stakeholder roundtables in India for the electronics sector. All participants expressed an interest in continuing the dialogue in 2013, and agreed to start with an issue of common interest - health and safety. SAI and Cividep are inviting participation in upcoming roundtables for 2013, to engage with more stakeholders and work towards tangible outcomes.

To learn more about the roundtable, read the detailed meeting report at bit.ly/emacs2012. For more information or to inquire about future participation, please contact SAI India Project Director Rishi Sher Singh -Rishi@sa-intl.org.

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