Ethical Electronics – what to buy and what to avoid

Using the Baptist World Aid 2016 Ethical Electronics guide, I’ve provided an easily accessible snapshot of which brands you should seek out and which to avoid when buying electronic goods.

The Baptist Guide does the work for us, comprehensively investigating companies on the processes they follow in all phases of supply chain production – extraction, smelting and refining, components manufacturing and final manufacturing. The Guide examines four areas for each company:

  • Policies
  • Traceability and transparency
  • Monitoring and training
  • Worker Rights

Combining results from all those categories together, the Guide gives each brand a rating from A to F, with ‘A’ being the highest rating possible. In 2016, overall no brands received and ‘A’ rating. Based on the Guide, next time you need to buy electronics –

Give preference to these brands, which scored a B+ grading:

Image of electronic waste and text reading ‘Ethical Electronics Guide Top Scorers (B+ Rating) Acer, Apple, Bosch, Intel, LG, Microsoft, Moto, Neff, Nokia, Siemens, Xbox, Zelmer.’

Don’t buy these brands, which scored lower than a C grading:

Image of electronic waste with text reading ‘Ethical electronics guide lowest scorers (D-F rating). Don’t buy Amazon Echo, Fire & Kindle, Canon, Fujitsu, HTC, Kitchen Aid, Lenovo, Whirlpool, Dyson, Fisher & Paykel, Go Pro, Kogan, Soniq, Sunbeam, Teac, Thermomix, Polaroid.’.

An interesting note is that of the 56 brands reviewed only two brands paid a (partial) Living Wage (Dick Smith Electronics and Garmin). The rest don’t pay a living wage to all those in the supply chain. Although the report highlights that 64% of companies reviewed showed some improvement, there is still a very long way to go and even companies who scored a B+, like Apple, have been associated with the use of child labour and excessive working hours in their factories in China. E-waste is also a growing environmental toxic disaster and the practice of the West exporting its toxic e-waste to China has been called ‘Toxic Imperialism’. 

For these reasons, please consider buying second hand or doing without where possible before buying any electrical goods. 

To download or order your own copy of the Guide, visit:

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