Clean Electronics (CEPN)

Computer

Clean Electronics (CEPN)

Goal: Move toward zero exposure of workers to toxic chemicals in the electronics manufacturing process.

ABOUT THE NETWORK

Click here for an overview of CEPN and our projects!

The Clean Electronics Production Network (CEPN) is a multi-stakeholder Innovation Network, formally launched in June 2016 by the Center for Sustainability Solutions to address complex workplace health and safety challenges in the electronics supply chain.

CEPN serves as a platform for collaborative innovation where diverse stakeholders – including technology suppliers, brands, labor and environmental advocates, governments and other leading experts -- work together to understand, address, and eliminate worker exposures to toxic chemicals in electronics production.

Workers in electronics production facilities around the world—especially in emerging economies—are often involuntarily exposed to toxic chemicals.  CEPN’s participants share a mission to develop solutions that protect the health and safety of front line workers, preferably through elimination and substitution with safer processes and alternative substances. We commit to working together to rapidly pilot and refine those solutions, and to scale them up in the service of our shared goal of moving toward zero exposure of workers to toxic chemicals in the electronics manufacturing process.

Developing high-trust relationships between brands, suppliers, customers, workers and advocates is critical to leveraging their diverse talents and perspectives to address the challenges facing the technology supply chain. Transparency, information sharing, and collective action, even among competitors, enable all stakeholders to more effectively address issues like workplace exposure, which no single organization can resolve on its own.

Over the past year, Network members have shared their detailed knowledge of the health and safety hazards posed by chemicals used in electronics production and assembly facilities, and have collaborated to develop solutions across five focus areas: Worker Empowerment and Engagement, Tracking and Monitoring Exposures, Qualitative Exposure Assessment, Targeted Safer Substitutions, and Standardized Process Chemicals Data Collection. Our Network prioritizes solutions that address toxic exposures through substitutions or process changes that allow elimination of toxic chemical use wherever possible. The Network supports the active involvement of workers in identifying issues and opportunities for improvement, within our own work and in the operations of individual facilities or firms.

CEPN is in the process of piloting and other real-world testing of our proposed solutions. We look forward to providing ongoing updates on our progress, and to sharing insights with stakeholders across the supply chain to foster best practices. We invite interested parties to join us in testing and refining collaborative solutions to reduce and eliminate toxic chemical exposures to workers in the electronics supply chain.

Get Involved With CEPN 

Participation in the Clean Electronics Production Network is by invitation only. We seek diverse participants from across the supply chain who are innovators and natural collaborators, who are experts in their segment of the supply chain, held in high regard by their peers, and committed to the goals of CEPN. If your organization is interested in joining CEPN, please see the process and contact information below.

CEPN Participants meet semi-annually in person for a three-day working session. Between meetings, participants meet biweekly as Initiative Groups via video link and conference call, to develop and implement solutions in small groups. Each such group may have multiple subgroups.

The Initiative Groups and their subgroups focus on developing specific solutions, through an aggressive process of prototyping, deploying, testing, refining and reiteration. To make optimal use of participants’ time, Initiative Groups and their subgroups are supported administratively by CEPN staff.

Participation in the Network is fee-based, with corporate and other large organization participants paying fees based on annual gross revenues. These participation fees support the operation of the network and most importantly, underwrite the participation of social stakeholders and small NGOs.

CEPN operates under well-defined antitrust guidelines and terms of confidentiality. While participants benefit from sharing insights into their challenges, and work closely together to develop ideas for solutions, no participant is required to expose confidential or proprietary information within network conversations. Members may also undertake bilateral cooperation outside the Network proper, though they are encouraged to share any results within the Network so that others may replicate them.

Non-member participants may engage with the Network in several ways:

  • Suppliers or brands can volunteer facilities they control for pilot testing of CEPN solutions

  • Any stakeholder may, with advanced notice and a prior interview, seek to attend a biannual meeting in order to learn more about the Network if they are considering participation

Additional information on participation:

CEPN Initiative Groups & Projects

Working Goal: Move toward zero exposure of workers to toxic chemicals in the electronics manufacturing process

Scope

  • Chemical Focus: Process Chemicals with first round of priority chemicals limited to cleaning solvents
  • Hazard & Exposure Focus: Reducing both hazard and exposure
  • Door-to-Door Focus: Includes exposure during usage, handling, and disposal of chemicals in the facility