Promoting decent work in the e-waste industry

IOE calls for more action to make e-waste recycling a formal job sector activity.

The most recent session of ILO’s Global Dialogue Forum, part of its Sectoral Activities, examined the promotion of decent work in the management of e-waste.

E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream today. According to UN figures, it is expected to grow to 52.2 million tonnes by 2021, at an annual growth rate of between 3 and 4 per cent.

Policy recommendations, legislation and regulations today focus primarily on the environmental risks. However, within the ILO, there is growing recognition of the key role of labour market policies, enterprises, employers, workers and ministries of labour or employment in ensuring sustainable work in the management of e-waste.

During the Forum, the Employers’ Group, supported by IOE Policy Advisor Matias Espinosa, advocated for the formalisation of informal workers and enterprises in this sector, together with the creation of a conducive environment for sustainable enterprises. The Group also promoted more enterprise-wide policies and investment to better integrate new technologies and equipment in the sector. The Employers’ concluded by calling for greater public investment in infrastructure and research in managing digital debris, which is essential to fostering innovation and growth in the sector.

The Global Dialogue Forum on decent work in the management of electrical and electronic waste adopted points of consensus, which include recommendations for future action by the International Labour Organization and its Members.

Further information can be found here.

IOE address

71 Avenue Louis-Casaï
1216 Cointrin
Geneva, Switzerland

T: +41 22 929 00 00
F: +41 22 929 00 01