The Asia Eco-Design Electronics (AEDE) project supports electronics companies in Asia that are required to meet increasingly stringent legal and customer requirements related to environmental and social issues from the EU, Japan and the US. These developments are impacting on the global electronics industry with significant implications for manufacturers and assemblers in developing countries in Asia, especially those that already export or plan to trade with EC, Japan and US. Particular drivers are a range of EC legislative developments focusing on eco-design, recycling and hazardous materials reduction in the electronics, electrical and home appliance sectors.
Asia Eco Design Electronics Corporate Brochure (English/Mandarin/Thai)
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With more and more outsourcing and contract manufacturing migrating to Asia, there are increasing requirements for suppliers to become more aware of environmental and corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues. However, outside of subsidiaries of transnational corporations, most small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) generally have little awareness and understanding of environmental and CSR issues and few governments in Asia have started support programmes covering these issues.
Asian countries such as India, China and Thailand have significant manufacturing interests in the electronics, electrical and home appliances sectors. Companies in these countries now face a growing number and range of customer enquiries covering compliance with environmental laws and CSR issues and specifically on product-related issues such as eco-design, materials reduction, energy efficiency, reduced toxicity and recyclability. This presents major challenges for the supply chain, for example:
Timely and relevant information
- Lack of awareness of environmental legislation and CSR developments in European countries, Japan and the US. For example, there is a fear that with limited time to the enforcement of the EC’s RoHS Directive (July 2006) many suppliers maybe ignorant of implications of the law. This will pose enormous information management issues for companies at both the top and throughout the supply chain.
- Major uncertainty has been created as a result of the differing national transposition dates of the EC’s WEEE Directive in each member state.
- Lack of timely, accurate and clear information on new EC legal developments and the implications related to, for example, WEEE, RoHS, EuP and REACH.
- Little clarity over the scope and details of the implementing measures of the EuP Directive due to come into force in 2007.
Supply chain issues
- If transnational companies perceive there to be risks in their supply chain, they may switch to larger suppliers who are seen to be more reliable, creating a threat of lost business to SME suppliers. For example, the requirements for lead-free supply chains (or networks) may result in a number of SMEs being phased out of supply chains (or networks), if they are unable to provide solutions by target dates.
- Customer’s green procurement requirements will necessitate production and personnel changes amongst suppliers. For example, whole manufacturing processes will need to be changed, as it will not be possible to make just one product lead or cadmium-free. To achieve this requires time, learning and innovation throughout the entire supply chain (or network). This is exacerbated by each tier in the supply chain (or network) having different production techniques and quality control processes and requiring different levels of specialised training and knowledge transfer.
- There will be a need to integrate customer’s environmental requirements into existing quality management systems (ISO9000) and manufacturing processes. For example, suppliers may need to develop RoHS compliance systems and in the future EuP (eco-design) management systems. A rushed approach to integration is likely to cause significant organisational and technical problems.
Training and education needs
- There is a need for focused education and training inside and outside the firm to meet the requirements of, for example, the RoHS, WEEE and EuP Directives.
- Eco-design training programmes and tools will need to be produced in national languages.
- Many SMEs in Asian countries are disconnected from trade associations – therefore SMEs will also need to be targeted directly.
China finally has issued China verison RoHS (the chinese version was promulagated on Feb. 28, 2006) and this took effect 1st March 2007. (not 1st July 2006) The Chinese version contains four chapters and 27 articles. According to article19, China RoHS requires certification.
Chinese (Ministry of Information Industry):