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Support for Sustainable Electronics Throughout the World

WHEREAS, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has adopted resolutions and action items on Environmental and Climate Justice in 2012 and 2014; and

WHEREAS, the Silicon Valley is the birthplace of the high-tech revolution that transformed the world over the past several decades; and

WHEREAS, we have the learned the hard way that the same technology which improved the lives of millions of people and has brought unparalleled economic development here and around the world, also includes a wide variety of hazards throughout its lifecycle- from mining to production to end-of-life recycling and disposal; and

WHEREAS, the manufacture and use of electrical and electronic products and devices has increased dramatically over the past decades and includes rapid growth in contract manufacturing, which takes place through a complicated chain of global subcontractors; and

WHEREAS, the rapid growth of the industry has been accompanied by increased use of toxic chemicals, an increase in a variety of adverse health outcomes in workers, and their offspring, and in surrounding communities (that has been observed in many countries around the world), as well as significant air and water pollution; and

WHEREAS, there are no uniform health-protective exposure standards for electronics manufacturing workers, including child laborers and female workers of child-bearing age; and

WHEREAS, there is a glaring lack of transparency about the hazardous substances used in and released from the production electrical and electronic products, as well as secrecy about the supply chain; and

WHEREAS, there is an overwhelming absence of tracking and reporting of patterns of disease associated with the electronic sector; and

WHEREAS, the American Public Health Association has called for the need to improve Occupational and Environmental Health in Global Electronics Industry (see Policy Number 20124 from October 30, 2012); and

WHEREAS, the NAACP has been a long-time champion economic and environmental justice and has fought for the rights of people to live healthy and dignified lives.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People urge the electronics industry to: develop precautionary health-based exposure limits to protect all electronic mining, production, and e-waste workers as well as, their offspring and their communities; abolition of child labor; provide effective health and safety training; provide access to information about the hazards that workers are exposed to; provide effective protection against exposures; implementation of green design; abolition exposure to hazardous working conditions; provide tracking and reporting disease associated with the electronics mining, and production and e-waste sectors in all electronics-producing countries; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP declares its commitment to support initiatives of the many human rights activists who are working around the world to promote corporate and government accountability and sustainability in the global electronics industry and who are united by concern for the life-cycle impacts of this industry on health, the environment, and workers' rights. We further commit to support the development and the capacity of grassroots organizations, local communities, workers, and consumers, to achieve social, environmental and economic justice; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP take action necessary to expose environmental and economic injustices throughout the entire lifecycle of the global electronics supply chain and to call on the industry governance entities to develop policies and practices to protect the workers and impacted communities around the world.

Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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