WEAR Ethics and Sustainability Resources






**This is a living document, meaning it will continue to be updated and revised over the duration of the WEAR Sustain Project by the consortium members. Your additions, reviews and feedback on these resources is also of great value to us.




(Click on the content title to drop down to the corresponding section below)

  1. Introduction
  2. WEAR Sustain Resources
  3. Suppliers
  4. Manufacturing
  5. Materials and Packaging
  6. Policy Makers and Independent Monitoring Organisations
  7. Certification
  8. Guides and Resources
  9. Publications and Articles
  10. Other

(Please email sustain@wearsustain.eu to add material to this page)

1. Introduction

In lieu of the development of a WEAR Sustainability Strategy, due in December 2018, this section contains a growing list of resources to aid those interested in integrating ethics and sustainability into their practice.

This guide is intended to support your project and provide contacts, suppliers and guidance on the resources that are available. Much of the information provided is from the UK, but can be applied to other European countries.

2. WEAR Sustain Resources


WEAR Sustain Glossary: Commonly used terms in and around “wearables”.

Smart Wearables: Reflection and Orientation Paper, created by the European Commission.

WEAR Sustain Talks & Videos: Selected talks from events and videos to support Open Call submissions.

Slides and presentations from our events across Europe .


WEAR Sustain Public Deliverables:

Public deliverables of the project.


WEAR Sustain Press Coverage:

WEAR Sustain, its funded projects, sustainability research and outputs are receiving media attention. Click here to see a selection of articles that have been written about our collective work.

Sustainability Definition:

There are many definitions of Sustainability, but these are the ones we are working from:

Green growth and circular economy – Environment – European Commission

Eco-innovation in practice – Eco-innovation Action Plan – European Commission 

Eco-innovation Action Plan – European Commission

Eco-innovation Action Plan – European Commission – research developments 

Here also is Wikipedia’s version:


Especially good is the 3 pillars https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability#Three_pillars_of_sustainability

3. Suppliers

UK suppliers databases:


  • New Electronics – UK suppliers database – A comprehensive list of the key suppliers, manufacturers and distributors in the electronics industry.
  • New Electronics – UK Electronic Parts Assembly suppliers 
  • Free Index – Electronic Component Suppliers 
  • Flextronics – Flextronics a socially-responsible, global leader in design, manufacturing, distribution and aftermarket services, Flextronics is unique in its ability to provide end-to-end solutions through its innovative and proprietary systems — all to enhance customer competitiveness and success

NON-UK Suppliers:


  • Fairphone – ethical electronics suppliers. This list of suppliers represents the first steps Fairphone made to uncover all of the materials included in the first edition Fairphone, as well as where they come from. A good model to follow and suppliers to contact.
  • Intel – conflict free supply chain 
  • Queen of Raw – Raw Materials for Independent Designers

4. Manufacturing

 Ethical/Sustainable Manufacturers:

  • Biome bioplastics UKBiome Bioplastics is one of the UK’s leading developers of intelligent, natural plastics.[For products manufacturing] We work with our customers on collaborative projects to deliver market-changing opportunities. Our specialist technical team can work with you to develop custom blends with properties to suit your exact requirements.
  • Natureworks: Naturally Advanced Materials 3D Printing (US offshoot of Cargill) – 3D Printing services for products using biomaterials

Ethical/Sustainable  German Manufacturers:

  • Microtech GmbH At the traditional location Teltow near Berlin, Microtech manufactures thin- and thick-film chip resistors, SMD networks, temperature sensors and precision resistors and application-specific designs (signed the Code of Condact ZVEI and published Confirmation of environment)

Other UK Manufacturers (not necessarily ethical/sustainable):

  • Bang Creations New Product Design And Innovation Experts: We help businesses, inventors and entrepreneurs to design, develop and commercialise their products, inventions and ideas. With staff in the UK and China, we provide a comprehensive range of commercially-led services, from prototyping and patenting to production and promotion, which we can tailor to suit your specific needs. We offer a free project assessment but endeavour to only take on work where we feel able to add value and that we feel have a reasonable chance of delivering the client’s objectives.
  • Custom Interconnect Ltd – Custom Interconnect Ltd  is a leading electronics and prototypes manufacturing organisation, an award winning company which has a recognised and proven track record in the production and testing of safety critical and high reliability electronics.
  • MultekMultek is a top 10 global supplier of rigid and flexible printed circuits. With over 30 years of printed circuit board manufacturing experience, Multek offers industry-leading interconnect solutions, including Rigid, Flexible, Rigid-Flex printed circuit boards and Printed Electronics for a broad range of applications for a variety of markets.
  • Stadium GroupWe deliver fully integrated design-led electronics technology solutions and global manufacturing and fulfilment solutions, simplifying the supply chain and reducing time to market for our customers. Our businesses delivers wireless, power and interface solutions supported by electronics assembly, combining a flexible, collaborative approach, industry expertise and a solid commitment to quality bringing tangible benefits to our customers in design, competitiveness and speed to market.


  • Sony UK Technology CentreThis contract electronics manufacturing division to take advantage of the highly skilled and flexible workforce utilising the latest state of the art electronics manufacturing equipment and processes. We are collaborating with companies around the world to develop and manufacture world-class products. With major projects going on which include the creation of advanced LED technology, medical devices and electronics.
  • Kingfield Electronics – Kingfield Electronics contract electronics manufacturing solutions to customers looking primarily for a “one-stop-shop” approach to their outsourcing requirements. Total manufacturing solutions from design through to end user product delivery.
  • SMS Electronics & Product Services – SMS is one of Europe’s leading Electronic Manufacturing Services companies, committed to providing high quality Contract Electronics Manufacturing and Product Life Cycle Support. We have over 100 years of manufacturing history as both an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider, Formed in November 2002 following the management buy out of Siemens Manufacturing Services, with over 7,000 square metres of manufacturing floor space utilising State of the Art equipment.
  • Meadex Rubber Mouldings Meadex Rubber Mouldings has over 30 years experience in manufacturing a wide range of rubber, plastic and silicone mouldings for a broad spectrum of industries ranging from aerospace and automotive through to innovative precision start-up projects…. We are specialists in custom/design moulding and precision moulding. For prototype tooling & 3D printing or low volume moulding can move your project forwards call us at +44 (0)1989 567999 or email us sales@meadex.co.uk

UK manufacturers databases

5. Materials and Packaging

Casings for electronics

Eco-friendly Substitutes for Plastics:

  • Aliphatic (PCL Polyesters): polycaprolactone is a synthetic aliphatic polyester that isn’t made from renewable resources but does completely degrade after six weeks of composting. Blending PCL with cornstarch reduces cost. Biomedical devices and sutures are already made of the slow-degrading polymer, and tissue-engineering researchers dig it, too. It also has applications for food-contact products, such as trays. http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-tech/sustainable/5-plastic-substitutes.htm#page=7
  • PHA Polyesters: feed sugar to certain types of bacteria and you’ve got yourself a plastic production line. The two main members of which are polyhydroxybutrate (PHB) and polyhydroxyvalerate (PHV). These biodegradable plastics closely resemble man-made polypropylene. While they’re still less flexible than petroleum-based plastics, you’ll find them in packaging, plastic films and injection-molded bottles. Corn-steeped liquor, molasses and even activated sludge could all supply the sugar the bacteria need to produce the plastic. http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-tech/sustainable/5-plastic-substitutes.htm#page=8
  • PLA Polyesters: Polylactic acid, or PLA, is another aliphatic polyester and one that can be made from lactic acid, which is produced via starch fermentation during corn wet milling. Consumers may encounter PLA in bottles, bags and film; scientists are trying to make PLA stronger and more heat-resistant. This should open up new applications for the popular green plastic, from automotive parts to coffee cups. http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-tech/sustainable/5-plastic-substitutes.htm#page=9
  • Biome bioplastics UKBiome Bioplastics is one of the UK’s leading developers of intelligent, natural plastics. Our mission is to produce bioplastics that can challenge the dominance of oil-based polymers, and ultimately replace them completely.  Bioplastics can be used in place of oil-derived equivalents for plastic casings and parts [for electronics]. They are plant derived and typically process at a lower temperature than conventional plastics, contributing to the overall sustainability of electronic products. More info here http://www.bpf.co.uk/plastipedia/polymers/polymer-bio-based-degradables.aspx
  • UL: Extractives and Raw Materials Advisory Services – (UK branch http://uk.ul.com )UL helps companies design and implement measures to increase transparency when sourcing raw materials. Integrated with each client’s sourcing practices, UL assists customers in the establishment of meaningful due diligence for extractives… and other raw materials.  PRODUCTS THIS SERVICE APPLIES TO: Apparel, textiles, dietary supplements, electronics, electrical, food and beverage, footwear, leather goods, general consumer merchandise, furniture, candle accessories, health and beauty care, household chemicals, jewelry, watches, OTC/pharmaceuticals, premiums and promotional products, store brands/private label, toys, nursery and children’s products.
  • National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC) – NNFCC is a leading international consultancy based in York, UK, with expertise on the conversion of biomass to bioenergy, biofuels and biobased products. We view biobased technologies as key components of the low carbon economy delivering economic, social and environmental benefits.


  • Electronic Components – We offer all our clients individually customised services. No matter what your requirement or industry type, we have the right kind of electrical component to suit your specific needs. (*This is a UK source of electronics components – BUT is NOT necessarily ethical or responsible*).
  • UK Circuits One of the country’s fastest growing Contract Electronics Manufacturers.


  • VARTA – technology company – rechargeable micro battery
  • SunPartner Technologies – technology company. Product: Wysips® Crystal Technology – solar battery that produces electricity from a natural or artificial light source. It is ultrathin and transparent, so it can easily be incorporated into screens.



  • Offset Warehouse – Supplier of pre-consumer textile waste (end-of-line) and sustainable fabrics available in smaller quantities
  • Pinatex – Leather alternative derived from pineapple waste (leaves, stalks etc). Reduces consumption of natural resources, avoids hazardous chemicals involved in traditional leather tanning process and solves issues related to crop waste disposal (fermentation / burning)
  • Q Milche – Fabric produced from pre-consumer milk waste.
  • Orange fibre – Fabric produced from orange processing waste.
  • Cupro – Recycled pre-consumer cotton waste collected from mills.
  • Evrnu – Recycle post consumer textile waste into new textiles. Uses less water and resources and has a lower carbon footprint.
  • Tencel – The unique closed loop process makes TENCEL® fibers the fibers of the future since the solvent used is recycled by almost 100% in the closed loop process. This special process received the “European Award for the Environment” from the European Union.
  • Econyl (Aquafil) – Circular chemical recycling of nylon (polyamide) so the quality is maintained without thermal degradation. One of the sources of the nylon is fishing nets / ghost nets so it also provides a solution to ocean pollution.
  • Teijin Eco Circle – Circular chemical recycling of PET resin (quality maintained without thermal degradation of traditional mechanical recycling). They also have Eco Circle Plant Fibre, which is part derived from sugar cane (reducing use of petrochemicals).
  • Tecnaro Plastic – Suppliers of bio-based plastics Arboform, Arboblend and Arbofill suitable for injection moulding and extrusion.


  • Biome bioplastics UK – Our biopolymers are suitable for both short-life and disposable products, as well as long-life applications… Bioplastics provide an ideal solution, removing the environmental impact without removing the packaging. Our plant-based polymers compost at the end of their useful life.  Our products include flexible films, coatings, high temperature range.
  • London Bio Packaging Founded in 2005 London Bio Packaging is the original & leading supplier of compostable and recycled packaging to the food and catering industry. And, to complement our eco food packaging, we’re launching a range of eco-friendly cleaning products!
  • National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC) – UK Renewable Packaging Group – The UK Renewable Packaging Group is a working group designed to encourage the development of more sustainable materials and packaging.
  • EcopacIn addition to our bespoke solutions, we maintain an extensive range of over 3000 stock products including corrugated cases, tapes, void fill, cushioning materials, bubble wrap, plastic sheets, bags and sacks, postal products, pallet wrap, protective foam, pallet boxes, dispensers, applicators, packing machines and ancillary products. Wherever possible we will offer our customers eco friendly packaging solutions that are re-useable, bio-degradable or recyclable. Any paper based packaging that can’t be manufactured from recycled papers is sourced from suppliers who use virgin pulp derived from managed and sustainable forests.
  • Eco-Friendlypackaging.com (US company) – Eco-Friendlypackaging.com uses paper made from a variety of plant fibers to develop products that are eco-friendly and sustainable. “Tree free” paper is made from a variety of plant fibers, including Cotton, Lotka, Areca palm leaf, and Zebra Bamboo. These materials are incorporated into the products we offer. For a variety of packaging including, jewelry boxes, jewelry hang tags and display cards, boxes for confections, stationery, personal care items, as well as tableware, and a complete line of specialty boxes, ribbons, containers and tags.
  • Ecovative – Mycellium (mushroom) based packaging – biodegradable alternative to polystyrene
  • 3D Printing
  • Object Form – Recycled 3D printing filament, including ABS and HIPS plastics derived from car interiors and white goods
  • Reflow – Reflow is harnessing the power of 3D Printing to create a fairer, more inclusive future. We believe that a decentralized approach to filament production can be the solution to the import dependence and a lack of local manufacturing faced by many communities.
  • Fishy Filaments – 3D printing filament (start-up) using recycled fishing nets, based in Cornwall, UK.

6. Policy makers and Independent Monitoring Organisations

Electronics Ethics

  • Conflict Minerals | Enough Project that more widely looks to counter genocide and crimes against humanity, but also updates reports on conflict minerals.
  • China Labor Watch CLW increases transparency of supply chains and factory labor conditions, advocates for workers’ rights, and supports the Chinese labor movement. Founded in 2000, China Labor Watch (CLW) is an independent not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Over the past 14 years, CLW has collaborated with unions, labor organizations, and the media to conduct in-depth assessments of factories in China that produce toys, bikes, shoes, furniture, clothing, and electronics for some of the largest multinational brand companies.
  • EICC, Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition and Code of Conduct The EICC was founded in 2004 by a small group of electronics companies seeking to create a industry-wide standard on social, environmental and ethical issues in the electronics industry supply chain. The founding members of the EICC – originally founded under the name “Electronic Industry Code of Conduct” – saw an opportunity to drive positive change and increase efficiency across the industry by creating a unified approach and ensuring that suppliers were held to a common standard.
  • EICC Code of Conduct The EICC Code of Conduct is a set of standards on social, environmental and ethical issues in the electronics industry supply chain. The standards set out in the Code of Conduct reference international norms and standards including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ILO International Labor Standards, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, ISO and SA standards, and many more. The EICC Code of Conduct version 5.0 was ratified in 2014 and went into effect on April 1, 2015. Version 5.1, which includes the change referenced below, went into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
  • Electronics Watch Electronics Watch is an independent monitoring organisation that assists public sector buyers to meet their responsibility to protect the labour rights of workers in their global electronics supply chains more effectively and less expensively than any single public sector buyer could accomplish on its own.
  • Good Electronics The GoodElectronics network brings together networks, organisations and individuals that are concerned about human rights and sustainability issues in the global electronics supply chain. Members include trade unions, grassroots organisations, campaigning and research organisations, academia and activists. GoodElectronics and its members are not-for-profit only.
  • Ethical Trade Initiative The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is a leading alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers’ rights around the globe. Our vision is a world where all workers are free from exploitation and discrimination, and enjoy conditions of freedom, security and equity.
  • EPA: Sustainable Electronics Management & Electronics Waste Stewardship Improved life cycle management of electronics, through source reduction of materials used, increasing reuse, refurbishing, extending the life of products, and recycling of electronics, can reduce the total quantity of waste that needs to be managed domestically and globally. The life cycle approach is aligned with EPA’s Waste Management Hierarchy. The hierarchy ranks the various management strategies from most environmentally preferred to the least and emphasizes reducing, reusing, and recycling as a key element in sustainable materials management.
  • German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG)
    The German Act governing the Sale, Return and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment of 20 October 2015 (ElektroG) implements the legal obligation of producers of electrical and electronic equipment to assume responsibility for the end of life of their products. The aims of the Act are to:
    — protect health and the environment against harmful substances from electrical and electronic equipment, an
    — reduce the amount of waste through recovery or recycling.
  • Stiftung EAR – national register for waste electric equipment (Germany) The national register for waste electric equipment (stiftung ear) was founded by producers as their Clearing House (Gemeinsame Stelle) for the purposes of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG). Entrusted with sovereign rights by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), stiftung ear registers the producers of electrical and electronic equipment and coordinates the provision of containers for public exchange facilities and the pick-up of electrical and electronic waste equipment at the örE (public waste disposal authorities) in the whole of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Centre Testing International (CTI) – is the leading independent third party assessment organisation specialising in; testing, calibration, inspection, certification, and technical services, providing a one-stop solution for clients of all types and sizes.  CTI can help to safeguard its clients, providing product safety testing and evaluation and a complete range of quality assurance services.


  • Gov.uk – Manufacturers, importers and distributors: your responsibilities
  • The ElecTech Council – The ElecTech Council defines the direction of the strategic blueprint for the industry, based on the findings of the ESCO report.
  • FundMap – Manufacturing Electronic System’s funding for organisations, SMEs, Multinationals and Academia

7. Certification

  • Oeko-Tex Standard – Since its introduction in 1992, the central focus of the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® has been the development of test criteria, limit values and test methods on a scientific basis. On the basis of its comprehensive and strict catalogue of measures, with several hundred regulated individual substances, the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® takes account of:
  1. Important legal regulations, such as banned Azo colourants, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, cadmium, nickel, etc.
  2. Numerous harmful chemicals, even if they are not yet legally regulated. Requirements of Annexes XVII and XIV of the European Chemicals
  3. Regulation REACh as well as of the ECHA SVHC Candidate List insofar as they are assessed by expert groups of the OEKO-TEX® Association to be relevant for fabrics, textiles, garments or accessories. Discussions and developments that are considered to be relevant are taken into account as quickly and effectively as possible through updates to the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® requirements.
  4. Requirements from the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) regarding lead.
  5. Numerous also environmentally relevant substance classes
  • Better Cotton InitiativeThe Better Cotton Initiative exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future. BCI aims to transform cotton production worldwide by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity. To achieve this mission, BCI works with a diverse range of stakeholders across the cotton supply chain to promote measurable and continuing improvements for the environment, farming communities and the economies of cotton-producing areas
  • Fair Trade – Fairtrade is a simple way to make a difference to the lives of the people who grow the things we love. We do this by changing the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fair deal for farmers and workers in developing countries.
  • Soil Association Organic – Organic means working with nature, not against it. It means higher levels of animal welfare, lower levels of pesticides, no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers and more environmentally sustainable management of the land and natural environment – this means more wildlife! Whatever you’re buying – from cotton buds to carrots – when you choose organic food, drink or beauty and textiles, you choose products that promote a better world.

8. Guides and Resources

  • IHS Electronics Industry Products and Solutions – IHS helps technology companies optimise product portfolio and align solutions to customer needs. We simplify strategic and day-to-day decisions through analytical database tools, cost models, equipment teardowns, research reports and analyst insights—at the geographic, industry and company level. Data is reconciled using supply and demand dynamics up and down the value chain, and accounts for adjacent global, economic and market factors impacting the technology space. Analysis covers intellectual property, technology adoption trends, company strategies and end-to-end supply base-cost drivers.
  • info4education – A complete reference source for students, graduates and academic professionals who need efficient and current access to British Standards, legislation and other guidance information related to the construction, health and safety, engineering, process and electronics industries.
  • Startups.co.uk – “Most ethical technology suppliers named”  (2013) – A new report published by the Ethical Company Organisation will make it easier for businesses to invest in the most ethical technology. The report, entitled The Good Office Guide, assesses the environmental and ethical credentials of different technology suppliers in order to assist business owners in their purchasing decisions.
  • Ethical CorporationBusiness intelligence to help businesses around the globe do the right thing by their customers and the world.
  • ZVEI Code of Conduct – Application of the ZVEI Code of Conduct is voluntary. It is intended as a model for enterprises’ own declarations to their customers, or for requests to suppliers for equivalent declarations.
  • Electronics Goes Green – World’s leading conference on electronics & the environment, organised by Fraunhofer IZM (Berlin). Meeting point for business developers, technology experts, researchers and policy designers.

8. Publications and Articles



9. Other