April 16, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO — Well Fargo on Thursday announced it joined e-Stewards, a group comprised of several companies and institutions that use electronics recyclers that meet certain standards for responsible electronics recycling.

The e-Stewards Standard ensures that recyclers will never export hazardous electronic waste to developing countries, dump them in municipal landfills or incinerators, or use captive prison populations as labor. It calls for strict protection and destruction of customer's private data and occupational health created by the Basel Action Network (BAN ) with leading electronics recyclers, certification industry experts, and occupational, health, and safety specialists criteria to prevent workers in recycling plants from being exposed to toxic dusts and fumes.

"The e-Stewards Enterprise program makes it easy for us to demonstrate that our electronic waste management standards are responsible and align with best practices," said Mary Wenzel, director of Environmental Affairs. "By using e-Stewards Recyclers, we know that our old computers and other electronics aren't going to be disposed of in a way that harms people or the environment and that, when possible, electronic components are recycled and reused."

The announcement coincides with BAN's launch of the e-Stewards Recyclers Certification and announcement of the first fully certified e-Stewards Recyclers and e-Stewards Accredited Certifying Bodies. The e-Stewards Recycler Certification is the world's first global electronics accredited e-waste management program. It is the only electronics recycling certification supported by environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Electronic TakeBack Coalition. It has also attracted broad participation from the electronics recycling industry: approximately 50 e-Stewards Recyclers have already passed BAN's own review and are now committed to become certified in the next two years.

"Wells Fargo is demonstrating real environmental leadership by becoming one of the first e-Stewards Enterprises," said BAN's Jim Puckett. "Committing to e-Stewards Certification means their reused, refurbished or disposed electronics will always be managed in a way that protects the environment and the workforce, both here and overseas."

BAN was founded in 1997 and named after the Basel Convention, the United Nations treaty that restricts trade in hazardous wastes and was intended to stop the dumping of toxic waste on developing nations, in particular. In the last decade, BAN has exposed the toxic trade issue to the world via investigations, reports, and documentary films. Today, BAN is the leading global source of information and advocacy on toxic trade and international hazardous waste treaties.