planned obsolescence
/

Come on, HOP! Time to think about change...

Start
For several weeks now, the actors of the circular economy have been co-constructing the "roadmap of the circular economy" that must be approved by the Minister of Ecological and Social Transition, Nicolas Hulot, in April 2018. The HOP association is proposing measures to extend the lifespan of products and to fight against the obsolescence planned as part of this work. Overview.
 
HOP filed on September 18, 2017 the biggest global complaint for the crime of programmed obsolescence. On 27 December, the association reiterated with a new complaint, against Apple this time, following the group's admission that it had voluntarily slowed down its older smartphone models. It was all over the press. The Paris public prosecutor's office has opened a preliminary investigation against the American group for "deception and programmed obsolescence," AFP revealed.
In an interview with Science and FutureLaetitia Vasseur, co-founder of HOP, said: "It's a subject I touched on when I was a parliamentary attaché. At that time, MPs and senators had succeeded in integrating the fight against obsolescence into the energy transition law, a success that should be put into perspective because a law is useless if it is not applied". In theory, since 2015, any industrialist who deliberately manages to reduce the lifespan of his product in order to push the consumer to buy it is therefore liable to two years imprisonment and a 300,000 fine. "But this text will have no consequences if citizens and consumers do not mobilize.
 
HOP has therefore earned its stripes as a mediator since, having perfectly played its role in expressing the needs of the populations against programmed obsolescence, it confirms its legitimacy of actions. The expertise of the associations is no longer to be questioned and it continues to raise or defend issues that can influence the system. 

So, how do we combat programmed obsolescence? Here are the association's six proposals.

Sustainability Display

* To implement the display of the lifespan of industrial products on sale in France, enabling a clear message to be delivered to the consumer on the maximum lifespan of a good, established according to certified and standardised methods. The display could initially be limited to household appliances, before being extended to other product categories.
* Modify the decree of application of the 2014 Hamon law regarding the display of the availability of spare parts: it is essential to make the display compulsory if the parts are available or not, and to clearly indicate it.
* Promote the display of a usage meter on the so-called most durable and relevant consumer products, for example, white goods in major household appliances (the number of cycles of a washing machine, like the mileage display on cars) in order to make the display of usage time (given in cycles, hours, copies...) more relevant.
* Post a product durability rating that would include repairability, warranty period, eco-design, robustness and expected life expectancy.
* Promote consumer awareness of longer product life, including advice on maintenance, repair and reuse. To this end, support associations, in particular consumer and environmental associations, in carrying out communication campaigns.

Protecting consumers on warranty

* Lobbying of France at the Council of Ministers for a minimum harmonisation of the guarantee period to 2 years (and not the maximum in Europe) and that the presumption of the burden of proof be maintained at 2 years and not 6 months.
* Lobbying of France so that the repair is privileged to the replacement of the product within the framework of the legal guarantee of conformity.
* Set up a complaint mechanism with the DGCCRF for non-application of guarantee rights in order to facilitate the administration's control and enforcement work.
* Improve the service offered to consumers during the legal guarantee of conformity and more generally during a repair: ensure the replacement of a fixed asset, guarantee the replaced spare parts, ensure a right to portability of the guarantee period equivalent to the time of the repair (a fixed asset of 1 month entitles the consumer to an additional 1 month guarantee).
* Better inform the citizen about his warranty rights: obligation of the seller to formally inform the customer about the duration of the legal warranty by a clear display in the store and on the sales receipt. Promote information programs and tools on legal warranty rights.
* Simplify the burden of proof of the act of purchase by linking the warranty to the object and not to the buyer (or "generalization of digital proof of warranty"): the distributor must prove that the right to the legal warranty has lapsed. To this end, promote means for distributors to help set up the necessary systems, particularly digital ones.
Extend the warranty to 5 years (major household appliances, durable goods) in a progressive manner so that manufacturers and distributors have time to comply.
* Better protect the relationship between distributors and manufacturers in the legal guarantee of conformity so that (small) vendors do not have to take responsibility for the obsolescence of products designed by the manufacturer.
 

" Obsolescence propgrammed " Artistic work by Julien Boily, Visual artist: Although his work is humorous, it borders on social criticism; it is a look at waste, at all those goods that we get tired of and end up throwing away because they are out of fashion.

Improving the repair

* Adopt fiscal incentives for reparation, for example through :
-a tax credit,
-reduced VAT on second-hand objects, on repair services (cf. Sweden) or on products guaranteed by the manufacturer for at least 5 years in order to make up for the manufacturer's loss of earnings, according to listed and regulated guarantee criteria,
-the setting up of eco-cheques (for repairs, purchase of second-hand products...)
-the setting up of an insurance free of charge offered to the consumer, paid thanks to a signposting of the eco-contribution for a fund dedicated to the repair (with a deductible for the consumer) (out of guarantee).
* Affirming the right to product reparability, i.e. making it clear that consumers are entitled to expect to be able to repair their products and prohibiting the use of a technical or software scheme designed to make repair by an independent repairer impossible.
Obliging manufacturers and distributors to supply spare parts essential to the proper functioning of the good, at a reasonable price and within a reasonable time, or to compensate the price of the device if they are no longer available, within a maximum of one month, for 10 years or 5 years depending on the product, and prohibiting the irremovability of parts essential to the proper functioning of the good (in particular batteries).
* Issuing repair instructions and instructions for use, at the time of purchase, in paper or digital form and requiring the provision of the tools necessary for the repair of a product, if these are not standard.
* Rethinking the responsibility of the players in order to guarantee the safety of self-repairers or consumers, both by protecting manufacturers against unjustified accusations of their responsibility.
* Organize a round-table discussion with all the actors concerned in order to collectively improve the lifespan of software and connected objects.

A new business model

* Limit the production of new products by accompanying responsible use and communication (role of advertising).
* Encouraging investment in research and development aimed at extending the life of products, in particular with regard to the modularity of parts and investment in 3D printers to create robust spare parts on demand (with free access to drawings).
* Invest, together with local authorities, in the implementation of training programmes in the repair sector and support training workshops offered by associations or social enterprises.
* Encourage the economy of functionality and the collaborative economy with positive environmental and social effects on the territories.
* Encourage the reuse of spare parts for the second-hand market, which is the vector of many jobs in repair and reuse.
* As regards public procurement, make it compulsory to take into account the sustainability criteria of products in public contracts and encourage the reuse and reconditioning of administrative equipment in order to boost this market.

The role of eco-organizations

* Impose transparency (publication) of the allocation of bonuses/malus for products (and therefore for companies) in the context of the eco-modulation of eco-contribution by eco-organisations, so that the public (consumers, institutions, associations, etc.) can have access to information on the efforts made by companies to promote end-of-life management of products, as defined by the eco-organisations.
* Reinforce the eco-malus in order to make the eco-contribution a real incentive.
* Set binding reuse/reuse targets (via repair where appropriate) for certain EPR sectors (DAE, WEEE, packaging) and accordingly earmark funds to finance these activities and achieve these targets.

Eco-designing products, services and software

* Promote the display of a usage meter on the so-called most durable and relevant consumer products, for example, white goods in major household appliances (the number of cycles of a washing machine, like the mileage display on cars) in order to make the display of usage time (given in cycles, hours, copies...) more relevant.
* Integrate a relevant life cycle indicator into LCA", and deploy this tool to measure the ecological footprint of products.
* Promote the (initial) training of component repair in dedicated dies.
* Invest, together with local authorities, in the implementation of training programmes in the repair sector and support training workshops offered by associations or social enterprises.
* Accompany the development of 3D printing for spare parts: Encourage investment in research and development aimed at extending the life of products, particularly with regard to the modularity of parts and investment in 3D printers with the aim of creating robust spare parts on demand (with freely available drawings).
* Eco-designing software to limit digital obsolescence.
* Supporting eco-design, towards timeless, modular and sustainable models.
 
Let us not forget that we are in an ecological emergency. But changing habits takes time. So we must influence laws, industrialists and raise the awareness of the citizens that we are. Give them the keys to understand the gears they are putting their finger in when they give in to the "taste for cheaper living", while at the same time promoting all the alternatives available to them in order to avoid the effects of planned obsolescence as much as possible. How can we offer consumers another type of relationship to objects? (1) Is it not the foundations of our consumer society that need to be questioned? At a time when many authors, starting with Hartmut Rosa (2)If the authors of the book, who are critical of the acceleration of time in our society, is not our fight against the acceleration of the rate of renewal of products a more global fight for a rehabilitation of the presence in time, that is to say an art of living through self-awareness, of the quality of our exchanges with others and with the things that surround us? (Source " From disposable to sustainable" by Samuel Sauvage and Laetitia Vasseur - Editions Alternatives, January 2017)
 
Follow Fabienne Marion on Facebookon LinkedIn
 

(1) Pound "The age of low tech." by Philippe Bihouix, Edition Seuil, 2014
(2) Book " Accelerating. A Social Critique of Time" by Hartmut Rosa - Edition La Découverte, 
 

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
energy transition
Previous article

Once upon a time... The Gedser Wind Turbine

circular economy
Next article

Citizen Consultation for the Circular Economy

Latest articles from Economie circulaire

JOIN

THE CIRCLE OF THOSE WHO WANT TO UNDERSTAND OUR TIME OF TRANSITION, LOOK AT THE WORLD WITH OPEN EYES AND ACT.
logo-UP-menu150

Already registered? I'm connecting

In order to contribute to the information effort on the current coronavirus crisis, UP' proposes to its readers a free entry to the latest published articles related to this theme.

→ Register for free to continue reading.

JOIN

THE CIRCLE OF THOSE WHO WANT TO UNDERSTAND OUR TIME OF TRANSITION, LOOK AT THE WORLD WITH OPEN EYES AND ACT

You have received 3 free articles to discover UP'.

Enjoy unlimited access to our content!

From $1.99 per week only.
0 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
WhatsApp
Email
Print